Reviews

The Chieng Reaction

Ronny Chieng. Brisbane Comedy Festival. Visy Theatre, The Powerhouse. 18 – 23 March 2014

Early Thursday evening. No parking spots within a kilometre of the venue. Last week of festival that has taken over New Farm peninsula.

Tonight it’s Ronny Chieng for me, one of a dozen acts. I park badly, on an angle between two cars because the space is too small for even my Getz. Visy is almost packed with comedy aficionados, waiting, anticipating. Raucous introduction. Ronny Chieng takes over the empty stage.           

The Drowsy Chaperone

Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Squabbalogic. Director: Jay James-Moody. Musical Director: Paul Geddes. Choreographer: Monique Sallé. Scenic Design: Lauren Peters. Sound Design: Jessica James-Moody. Lighting Design: Sian James-Holland. Squabbalogic. The Hayes Theatre Co., Kings Cross (NSW). March 14 – April 6, 2014.

Musical Theatre Tragics …  This is Your Life!

From the moment the lights stay down, you’ll chuckle away, recognising that voice in the darkness in yourself.

It’s the start of a delightful ‘in’ theatrical pastiche of 1920s musical comedy, accessible to and certain to delight far wider audiences. It’s even better, though, if you’ve enjoyed your share of old Hollywood musicals.

A Streetcar Named Desire

By Tennessee Williams. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Kate Cherry. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, WA, 15 Mar to 6 Apr, 2014

Such is the buzz around A Streetcar Named Desire, that excellent ticket sales have led to the scheduling of additional shows, even before the official opening night

Jurassic! That is one big pile of musical

By Leigh Scott and Evan Kerr. Phoenix Theatre, Coniston (NSW). March 5 – 8, 2014.

It's nice to go to the theatre every so often not knowing what to expect. Especially in Wollongong where audiences do not usually have the luxury of seeing something brand new. A friend of mine had a spare ticket to the closing performance of Jurassic: That is one big pile of musical. My only regret is why didn’t I go opening night so I could tell others to see this show.

A parody musical based on a dinosaur movie is going to go one of two ways, bad or hilarious. I am happy to say it was the latter.

Clybourne Park

By Bruce Norris. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Tanya Goldberg. 19 March – 19 April, 2014

Here’s another recent juicy Broadway/West End play, ignored by the Sydney Theatre Company but bringing packed houses to the Ensemble just across the harbour. It had to be hard to overlook: Clybourne Park has won American playwright Bruce Norris an Olivier (2011), an Evening Standard Award (2010), a London Critics Award (2010), a Tony (2012) and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Subscription to Love

Written and directed by Will Dunlop. Playlovers. Hackett Hall, Floreat, WA. March 13-15 2014.

In this "Shakespeare Anniversary" year, when productions by Shakespeare, inspired by Shakespeare's plays or about Shakespeare abound, Playlovers have taken a different approach with the world premiere production of Will Dunlop's Subscription to Love. This brand new play is set in the present, has very contemporary themes, but is written a la Shakespeare in rhyme and iambic pentameter.

Hair

Music: Galt MacDermot. Book & Lyrics: Gerome Ragni & James Rado. WAAPA Third Year Musical Theatre Students. Directed by Tanya Mitford, Music Direction by David King. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. March 15-22, 2014.

Late last year the creative young things around Perth were excitedly sharing the gossip that WAAPA (now) Third Year Musical Theatre Students had been told not to cut their tresses or remove body hair over the summer as the first production for 2014 was to be Hair.  

A little over three months later people hoping to check out the traditional photos of the graduating class in the WAAPA foyer, will find a notice saying that head shots will appear when the cast are looking less organic.

Tuesdays with Morrie

By Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom. Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 8 – 28 March 2014

Our early Sunday evening performance had a HOUSE FULL sign out front.

This production comes with many things going for it: a renowned director and older actor who, together, have a reputation for creating top-notch performances; and a familiar, popular book.

 

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Rockdale Musical Society. Director: Cathy Boyle. Rockdale Town Hall. February 28 – March 16, 2014.

Though local musical theatre companies have faced hard times over recent years, Rockdale Town Hall’s asbestos scare has now proven blessing in disguise for theatre in the area.

The previously tired crumbling venue has been restored to something even better than its long-forgotten ‘glory days’, with audiences and performers benefitting from enhanced facilities, access and technical upgrades.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

By Bertolt Brecht. WAAPA 3rd Year Acting Students. Directed by Michael Jenn. Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA, Mt Lawley, WA. 14-20 March 2014

This fascinating Bertolt Brecht play is based on the rise of Hitler, re-imagined as Arturo Ui, a smalltime Chicago gangster who aims to takeover the city's grocery trade during the great depression.

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