Reviews

Legally Blonde

Music & Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin. Book: Heather Hatch based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM movie. Director: Morgan Dowsett. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: George Canham. Empire Theatres Production @ Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. 15-26 April 2016

One thing that can always be assured, Empire Theatre’s annual musical will be put together with a high degree of professionalism and this year’s production of Legally Blonde was no exception. From the original design work of Grant Lehmann, the assured direction of Morgan Dowsett, to the top notch cast who worked their butts off, the show about sorority sweetheart Elle Woods and her rise to glory at Harvard Law was musical theatre at the top of the community level scale.

tick, tick...BOOM!

Written by Jonathan Larson. Revised book by David Auburn. Pursued By Bear Productions. Directed by Paul Watson. Chapel off Chapel. April 21 - May 1, 2016.

I couldn’t make it to Opening Night and I was a little worried that the magic of an opening may have dissipated in two nights, with the energy and passion in recovery mode. I really do worry too much about things that never happen.

Jack Gow's Everybody's Doing it! Dying That Is...

Sydney Comedy Festival. The Loft, Enmore Theatre. April 21 – 24, 2016

In great comedy tradition, a few observations could not be overlooked when approaching this review. If Jack Gow is indeed "One of the finest emerging comedians in the country" why then stick him in the cramped, David Lynchian confines of The Loft?

Peddling

By Harry Melling. Directed by Susie Dee. A Melbourne Theatre Company Education Production. Southbank Theatre/The Lawler. 21 April – 6 May, 2016.

Peddling is a marvellous thinga production in which all the elements – text, performance, direction and design – come tightly enmeshed together to strengthen and support the whole.  It may be part of the MTC’s Education program and the protagonist may be 19, but this is not a cosy kids’ show.

Night Sings Its Songs

By Jon Fosse, translated from Norwegian by Sarah Cameron Sunde. La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 13-24 April 2016

A Young Woman (Katherine Innes) needles A Young Man (Reece Vella) about how they never do anything, they never go out...  She means him.  He won’t even go to the store.  He just sits around.  Her friends won’t come inside the house because of him.  He tries to ignore her, reading his book.  He is a would-be writer, but publishers reject whatever he sends them. 

Miss Julie

By August Strindberg. Directed by Kip Williams. MTC Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. April 16 – May 21, 2016.

The wondrous thing about theatre, for myself and so many others, is that it is three dimensional, with the illusion of being “real” upon a stage, because the actors are flesh and blood, yet leaving room for us to create our own subtext alongside that of the writer’s. It is not film, or television, which have their own attributes but are, at the core, two dimensional.

The Gondoliers

By Gilbert and Sullivan. GSOV. Director: Adrian Glaubert. Musical Director: Timothy Wilson. Choreographer: Sarah Cossey. Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. April 21 – 23, 2016

The Gondoliers did not start well. The director came out to tell us how wonderful the show would be, and that there would be a raffle at interval. A loose sheet in the program would be been more appropriate.

Then the overture started and some of the well-known melodies appeared to go missing. This is the first time GSOV has performed at Darebin, and it was very obvious the orchestra was amplified, something I had not observed at previous venues. Perhaps the venue demanded it, but sometimes the counter melodies overwhelmed the main tune, which was disconcerting.

Swallow

By Stef Smith. National Theatre of Parramatta (NToP). Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. April 21 – 30, 2016

National Theatre of Parramatta’s (NToP) very first production is a dark play, but one nonetheless that ticks all the boxes of the sort of work NToP aims to produce. That is, it’s “bold, contemporary, imaginative and inspired … (taking) us into the belly of urban life”. It has attracted director Kate Champion, a team of imaginative designers and three impressive and talented performers to the ‘west’, and, hopefully, will establish this new company as another beacon for the arts in western Sydney.

The Little Mermaid

Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. Book: Doug Wright based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. PRIMA. Director: Alicia Caruana. Musical Direction: Lucas D. Lynch & Samantha Peterson. Choreographer: Jen Howson Redcliffe Cultural Centre. April 22 – May 1, 2016

For some unknown reason I’m a sucker for Disney musicals; they put me in lyrical mode, and if it’s a score by Alan Menken, even better. So PRIMA’s Queensland Premiere production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid ticked all the right boxes for me. That it delivered in spades was the icing on the cake – good performances, good vocals, and just enough magic and make believe to enchant.

Velvet

Director/Creator: Craig Ilott. Musical Director: Joe Accaria. Peter Rix Production @ Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. From 20 April 2016

Velvet is gobsmackingly good! A fusion of cirque du Soleil, blistering vocals, and wall-to-wall disco dance beats, it had your adrenaline running from the moment you stepped into the theatre.

With the Cremorne set-up in cabaret mode, seven gigantic mirror balls, mirror columns, and a lighting plot no disco could ever afford, this show was 80-minutes of (disco) heaven.

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