Reviews

Double Bill: Bluebeard’s Castle & Il Segretto Di Susanna

State Opera of South Australia. Directed by David Lampard. The Opera Studio. April 17-18, 2015

The State Opera of South Australia (SOSA) opens its 2015 season with this intriguing double bill of two one act operas – Wolf-Ferrari’s comic Il Segretto Di Susanna and Bartok’s tragic “Bluebeard’s Castle” – which explore the importance of trust in married relationships.

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehar. Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria. Director: Robert Ray. Musical Director: John Ferguson. Alexander Theatre, Monash University. April 16 – 18, 2015

This was a sumptuous production. The sets were striking, the costumes magnificent, particularly the Pontevedrian ones, the direction effective and ensemble singing tight. There were nine young dancers, three of them male, who added immeasurably to the show. The orchestra was excellent.

When directing The Merry Widow myself I struggled to find a workable translation. Director Robert Ray has, with permission, made changes which made for an effective show, including substituting a finale from another Lehar operetta. It worked very well.

Brisbane

By Matthew Ryan. Director: Iain Sinclair. QTC. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. 11 April – 2 May 2015

Brisbane 1942 – Macarthur has arrived, the Brisbane line has been drawn, the Japanese have bombed Darwin, and there’s terror in the streets, a battle royal between Aussie Diggers and Yanks. This is the fertile background for Matthew Ryan’s sweet coming-of-age story Brisbane, which centres on a 14-year-old boy Danny and his best friend Patty.

Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘bout me

Tim Freedman does Harry Nilsson. Hayes Theatre Co (NSW). April 13 – 19, 2015.

A muted carpet square covers the stage, on it a desk, a drinks table, a leather armchair and a baby grand. A digital alarm clock on the desk is just hitting 12 midnight as the lights come up. The alarm buzzes and Tim Freedman, in striped pyjama pants and toweling bathrobe (cf the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson 1971) wanders in from a door stage right. His beard is similar to Nilsson’s – and when he picks up and dons a grey flat cap from a bust on the drinks table, the transformation is pretty damn good!

Craig Hill. Give Him an Inch

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Chapel off Chapel, 14-19 April, 2015.

Back in town again for another welcome return visit to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Scottish comedian Craig Hill bounded back on stage at Chapel off Chapel in his trademark kilt with his trademark hi-nrg gayest of all gay dance intros. Mr Hill's comedy is a refreshingly contemporary take on the gay stereotype of bitchy queen humour - though the barbs are there, his delivery is so warm and approach so light-hearted that it's clear everything is in fun and we're all in on the joke.

Ross Noble: Tangentleman

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Palais Theatre, 14-18 April, 2015.

Comedian Ross Noble in person, at the Palais Theatre last night for his opening Melbourne Comedy Festival show, was truly something to behold. Firstly, he couldn’t stand still for more than half a second or so (he said that was because it would look boring if he just stood at a mikestand, but the more likely truth is that he’s overflowing with energy); secondly, he couldn’t stop talking. Who needs a script, or indeed anything other than the most nebulous outline, when you have Mr Noble?

The Happy Prince

Adapted from the story by Oscar Wilde. Toy Soldier Children's Theatre. Directed by Courtney Turner. The Grapevine, Ellenbrook, WA. April 10-19, 2015

The Happy Prince is an adaptation of the story by Oscar Wilde, and is performed by the fledgling company, Toy Soldier Children's Theatre as their first production.

Simpson, J 202

By Richard Beynon. Genesian Theatre, Sydney. April 11 – May 2, 2015

To many Australians Private Jack Simpson is ‘The Man with the Donkey’, the brave young Anzac stretcher-bearer who used a little donkey to carry wounded soldiers down the cliffs of Gallipoli. To his family, in England, Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick was a happy, gentle boy who loved animals and had big dreams.

Once On This Island

Lyrics and Book by Lyn Ahrens. Music by Stephen Flaherty. Directed by Tamblyn Smith. Fab Nobs Theatre, Bayswater. April 10th-25th, 2015.

Thank heavens for community theatre companies like Fab Nobs, who bring us musicals that we otherwise would never see, since they are deemed to be too non-commercial for the main stage. The problem is that, because these musicals are largely unseen, the potential audiences are unfamiliar with the scores and assume that they’ve never heard of the musical because it’s no good. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Seeing Unseen

Created and performed by Gareth Boylan, Michael Cullen, Kerri Glasscock and Michael Pigott. Old 505 Theatre. April 8 - 26, 2015.

30% of the internet is taken up by cat videos. There are fewer plane crashes but it feels like there are way more. Frozen Berries can give you Hepatitis A. The Old 505 Theatre Co. discovered these facts when refreshing their browsers for the latest news, updates, statistics, content, data …

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