Reviews

The Ladies Man

Charles Morey’s adaptation of Georges Feydeau’s Tailleur pour Dames. Growl Theatre. Windsor School of Arts, Brisbane. 26 April – 4 May 2013

Growl chose a play to open their new-found ‘home theatre’ that is unfamiliar to contemporary theatregoers, and they gave it their best shot. The French version of this play established Feydeau’s reputation for cleverly devised farces in theBelle Époque.

This play deals with a socially respected central character who ventured outside his marriage and set off a complex web of deceptions, mistaken identities and delusions. Farces always require audiences to suspend disbelief, so a snappy pace is essential.

THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND

Music: John Kander. Lyrics: Fred Ebb. 3rd Year Students’ Workshop, Musical Theatre @ Queensland Conservatorium. Director: Cienda McNamara. Musical Director: Luke Volker. Choreographer: John Clarke. Burke Street Studios, Brisbane. 26-28 April 2013.

There’s always an excitement about seeing a musical theatre student workshop - you never know who may turn out to be the stars of tomorrow. This was the case with the Kander and Ebb compilation musical The World Goes ‘Round, a perfect vehicle to showcase the singing, dancing and acting skills of a refreshing group of new faces.

The original 1991 Off-Broadway production had a cast of five. This one had 23.

Next to Normal

Music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Oscar Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 18 April – 4 May 2013

The best shows are sometimes found just off the theatre glitter strips in London and New York. Next to Normal is a case in point. Oscar Theatre Company (OTC) shares an ethos and philosophy with these ‘off-centre’ companies, so they usually select shows that established their early reputations there.

Hence OTC productions are more than light entertainment. They are usually provocative, challenging or controversial, with real-life characters.

The Ham Funeral

By Patrick White. New Theatre (NSW). April 23 – May 25, 2013.

Written in 1948, and originally set in 1919, this play is loosely based on the story behind William Dobell's painting The Dead Landlordand White's own recollections of the seedy world of London boarding-houses.

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele

Cabaret by Adam Brunes & Naomi Price. The Little Red Company Production. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (Qld). 24-27 April 2013.

The insanely-talented Naomi Price has done it again. After turning in some brilliant performances in recent years in Jesus Christ Superstar, The Last Five Years and Rent, she upped the ante to a whole new level with her new show Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele

Eric Whitacre in Concert

MAPA in association with Music Productions Ltd. Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University. Saturday 13 April, 2013.

Eric Whitacre is a Rock Star in the world of choral music - he is good looking, with a mane of beautiful shoulder length hair and moves with the grace of a ballet dancer. He is a composer and conductor, has a Grammy, and chart topping albums, and is a gifted orator and has created a ground breaking Virtual Choir.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn. Canterbury Theatre Guild. Director: Rachael Thompson. Canterbury Bowling Club. April 19 – 28, 2013

Adults play kids absolutely joyously in this delightful little musical – something they also do so often in the best productions of equally engaging shows like You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Small Poppies – finding resonances of all our childhoods, and inner childhoods.

Aida

By Verdi. Opera Australia. Director/choreographer: Graeme Murphy. Musical Director: Renato Palumbo. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. April 22 – May 11, 2013.

Graeme Murphy’s Aida for Opera Australia was quite a spectacle. There were projections, Egyptian columns flying on and off, a lap pool across the front of the stage and a travellator. Some of these enhanced the production, some not.

Amneris fighting her way through the approaching columns for the Judgment Scene was effective. The travellator worked well in the Triumphal March, carrying cardboard Egyptian figures across stage, but was annoying and/or comical in other scenes.

Glengarry Glen Ross

By David Mamet. Seriousboys. Darlinghurst Theatre. April 11 – May 5, 2013.

Staging David Mamet's modern classic Glengarry Glen Ross as your debut outing comes with high expectations and pressure to deliver. And while I did have high hopes for this production, I am not convinced it delivered.

New independent Sydney theatre company Seriousboys comes with a pedigree in Artistic Director Marcus Graham. He is a fantastic actor. But as a director I am troubled by the series of mistakes or decisions he made which indicate a lack of skill that ultimately undermined what could have been a very impressive piece of theatre.

Billy Buckett

Story, music and lyrics: Jay Turner, script: Peter Cann, Jay Turner & Cath Mundy. Beenleigh Theatre Group. April 26 – May 11, 2013. World Premiere.

A brand new rock‘n’roll musical, an insight into love and family affairs in post-war England, enough unbridled energy onstage to light Beenleigh for a whole weekend ─ the adrenaline rush should send theatregoers home smiling so people at work will think they’re in love. As they ought to be, with this new show!

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