Reviews

Arj Barker

Adelaide Fringe. Arts Theatre. March 5th – 13th, 2016

Arj Barker has been bringing his brand of comedy to Australia for over twenty years. It is fair to say that he has built up a following based on his observations and unique casual delivery. As he walks on stage to rapturous applause he undoubtedly feels the pressure to perform, but does not show it. Barker is comfortable in his surroundings and reads the audience well.

The Addams Family – The Broadway Musical

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, score by Andrew Lippa. Gosford Musical Society. Director: Daryl Kirkness. Musical Director: Bronwynne Anderson. Choreographer: Karen Snook. Laycock Street Theatre. March 4-19, 2016

There is little doubt that black humour is abundantly fertile territory. Turn every nicety on its head – and the in-jokes just keep giving.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

By Jay Presson Allen, adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark. The Mount Players. Director: Andrew Meldrum. Mountview Theatre, Macedon. February 26 – March 13, 2016

This is such an interesting and complex play that can be accessed on a number of levels.  Above all it is a fascinating and entertaining story that is certainly worth catching – if you are not too far from Macedon.

It is comfortably presented and beautifully produced (Allie Clare) on Jubilee Hall’s lovely deep stage by resident Theatre Company The Mount Players.

Murder in Company

By Philip King. KADS. Directed by Christine Ellis. Town Hall Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. 26 Feb - 19 Mar, 2016

KADS' Murder in Company was a step back in time for this reviewer. My first experiences of community theatre took place during the 1970s with actors dressed similarly to those in Murder in Company, doing plays similar to the play within a play, that this company are presenting. Well done to the creative team and cast for recreating this world so precisely.

A lovely ensemble feel emanated from this group, with some notable performances.

RENT

By Jonathan Larson. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre, Beenleigh. 27 February - 12 March 2016

Sometimes in amateur theatre there is a production that will rival professional performances. For me, RENT at Beenleigh Theatre Group is such a production.

Violet

Music Jeanine Tesori. Music and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Blue Saint Productions. Directed by Mitchel Butel. Chapel off Chapel. March 3 – 20, 2016

That rarest of creatures - an intelligent, perfectly formed, sublime musical with something profound and uplifting to say - is as rare as the wildflower its heroine is named after. And yet (after years of waiting for some of us Musical Theatre Tragics), here it is at the beautifully refurbished Chapel off Chapel, with the  acclaimed award winning production from Blue Saint Productions, and we are all the better for it.

Speechless

In Helvetica. Adelaide Fringe. Tuxedo Cat/Cusack Theatre. March 3rd – 8th, 2016

Speechless is the brainchild of performers Sara Di Segna and Toni Main, along with creative theatre maker Georgina Capper. Exploring the ideas for this show for the past year, they have concentrated heavily on differences experienced during communication and the misunderstandings that can occur from mixed messages.

Steel Magnolias

By Robert Harling. Canterbury Theatre Guild. Bexley RSL. February 26 – 28, 2016.

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling is a heart moving, gripping play that kept me enthralled for the entire two hours of the performance.

Canterbury Theatre Guild, not renowned for presenting plays, put on a production with some incredible performances. Not to be mistaken with the film version starring Dolly Parton, the play includes just the seven women characters from the movie set in a Louisiana hair salon in the mid 1980s.

Almost Home

By Daniel Downing. Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. FOUNDRY 616, Ultimo. Mar 2 -4, 2016

Even before the show starts, you know you’re in safe hands when two things happen; a well-priced beer appears on the table before you, and Bev Kennedy walks across the stage and sits at the piano.

Taxithi - An Australian Odyssey.

By Helen Yotis Patterson, directed by Petra Kalive, music director, Andrew Patterson. Produced and presented by fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Season Extended. 2- 24 March, then April 5 - 10, 2016.

This is a gripping performance that will have your toes tapping and pull at your heartstrings all at the same time. Helen Yotis Patterson has written a truly exceptional piece of theatre and found true kindred spirits in her co-performers, Maria Mercedes and Artemis Ioannides.

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