Reviews

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Interactive Theatre International. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Aegean Restaurant, Fitzroy. 16 – 21 April, 2016

On the menu at the Aegean Restaurant in Fitzroy this week are large helpings of physical humour, outrageously spicy political incorrectness, lashings of laughter, and a delicious 3-course meal to wash it all down. Who knew dining out could be such a chaotic adventure?

Dybbuk

Conceived and Curated by Samara Hersch. Featuring the band Klezmania. Dramagturg – Lara Thoms. Sound Design - Marco Cher-Gibard. Lighting Design – Dans Maree Sheehan. Malthouse – The Beckett. April 12 -14, 2016

This evening is full of the unexpected and a marvelous opportunity to catch a unique and culturally abundant journey of storytelling with a full-bodied and resonant Jewish essence.

Lucia di Lammermoor

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti. Librettist: Salvadore CammaranoVictorian Opera. Director: Cameron Menzies. Musical Director: Richard Mills. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. April 12 – 21, 2016

Jessica Pratt has sung Lucia in some of the biggest opera houses in the world. Melbourne audiences were luckier than that. They got to hear her in the intimate Her Majesty’s theatre where she rarely needed to open up that magnificent instrument and so was able to give a much subtler, nuanced performance. Her pianissimo singing was particularly beautiful, and made her a more vulnerable Lucia than one would find in a bigger theatre.

Actual Size - Tanyalee Davis

Melbourne International Cabaret Festival. The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista. Mar 22 – April 17, 2016.

Tanyalee names the elephant in the room right at the beginning of the show. She’s Canadian! Her experience as a person of very short stature forms the backbone of the show. There is gentle education and sideways challenges to stereotypes blended with physical enactments and using her physical attributes to poke at conventional thinking. The difficulties of T-Rex arms provided many chuckles. There were many boom, boom moments.

HMS Pinafore

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Holroyd Musical & Dramatic Society. Director: John Brown, Musical Director: Susan Brown, Choreographer: “M” Seedsman. Redgum Centre. April 08 -16, 2016.

Oh joy oh rapture unforeseen. This is an elegantly staged and beautifully sung production.

Husband and wife creative team John and Susan Brown has created a Pinafore that sticks to the era and the script. It proves that even over a century old the script can still be just as funny and entertaining as it is.

Nothing Personal

By David Williamson. Genesian Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Sahn Millington. April 1 - May 7, 2016

Beautifully cast, nicely staged and well directed, this production has almost everything going for it.  David Williamson sets the scene inside a publishing house, which pits a formidable publisher Bea against a younger rival Naomi.

The issues are laid out clearly. Bea – an older woman stands for literary quality, whilst the much younger and slimmer Naomi is pushing for sales. 

Offenbach's Le 66

Shoestring Opera Melbourne. Directed by Timothy Nolan. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Comedy Club, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne. 9, 10, 16 & 17 April 2016

Le 66 is a delightful opportunity to experience comic-opera; a genre that rarely has the opportunity to be seen on stage. This was one of the many operettas by the German-born French composer of the romantic period and it premiered in Paris in July 1856. Ellen Leather plays Grittly and gives a powerful performance as the Tyrolean travelling singer. Her characterisation accurately captures the tone of the narrative. Timothy Daly is charming as Frantz, Grittly’s cousin and fellow travelling singer.

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare. Independent Theatre. Directed by Rob Croser. Goodwood Institute Theatre, Adelaide. 8-16 April, 2016

The works of William Shakespeare have their agnostics in addition to their adherents, and this reviewer must confess to being 'on the fence' with regards to the much-revered tragedy of the Prince of Denmark...Is this a Hamlet that lovers of the text will enjoy seeing? Very likely. Does it have enough strength and quality to impress the fence-sitters and make them glad they came? Most probably.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater. Book by Doug Wright. Free Rain Production. Producer: Anne Somes. Directed by David Atfield. Designed by Cate Clelland. Canberra Theatre. April 8 – 17, 2016

With great musical talent, a vibrant design and cute and funny characters, Free Rain’s The Little Mermaid will delight children of all ages, including sixteen-year-old nit-picking Disney nerds. I know this because I accidentally brought one along and she air sang for the duration. Oops.

Twins

Directed and written by Trevor Ashley. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. MICF April 7 – 17, 2016

To see two giants of cabaret together is worth the admission price even if they just stood there and smiled. But Trevor Ashley and Rhonda (Ruda) Burchmore, do far more than that in this lavish production which includes sensational costumes, a kick-ass seven piece band, video screen comedy sketches, awesome vocals – and a script that overall just doesn’t work and leads to some poor comic choices.

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