The Sleeping Beauty

By Ottorino Respighi. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Phoebe Briggs. Director: Nancy Black. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. March 11 – 18, 2017

So Ottorino Respighi wrote an opera? Who knew! Obviously the powers that be at Victorian Opera did, and what a delight it was.

As the work was originally written for a marionettist, VO employed puppeteers to create the various characters with singers in street clothes singing beside them. Sometimes they would mirror each others’ movements. With so many animals featured, this worked very well.



Motus. With Silvia Calderoni. Directors: Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolo. Adelaide Festival. AC Arts Main Theatre. 10-13 March, 2017.

Lights. Music. Cameras. Dancing. Philosophy. Nudity. Karaoke – and a touch of autobiography…?

When Dad Married Fury

By David Williamson. Woy Woy Little Theatre. Directed by Terry Collins. Peninsula Theatre, Woy Woy. March 10-26, 2017

It's always refreshing to see contemporary Australian plays being produced in community theatre – and while David Williamson's work is reliably witty, satirical and thought provoking – this piece is possibly one of his darker efforts.

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante. Beaumaris Theatre (Vic). March 3 – 18, 2017

A Chorus Line is a musical predominately about dancers auditioning for a role in a professional show that they don’t know anything about.  They are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the audition process, still wondering if they will ever be cast for this mysterious show.

The musical encompasses a large cast of triple threat performers, which is always difficult to find.  A Chorus Line is one of those shows where this is essential for a successful performance season.

Calvin Berger

By Barry Wyner. Directed by Tyler Eldridge and Madeleine Shaw. Roleystone Theatre, WA. 10 – 25 March, 2017

Calvin Berger, by Barry Wyner, makes its Western Australian premiere at Roleystone Theatre, with first-time directors Tyler Eldridge and Madeleine Shaw steering a very impressive production.

Loosely based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac, it takes the original story, sets it in a high school and makes the most of teen insecurity, angst and first love. It features four extremely capable teenaged performers who work beautifully together. 

Calamity Jane

Adapted by Ronald Hamner and Phil Park. From the Stage Play by Charles K Freeman after the Warner Bros Film. Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. Music by Sammy Fain. One Eyed Man Productions in association with Neglected Musicals and Hayes Theatre Co. March 8 to April 9, 2017.

This is a rip-roaring production of a creaky musical which has some surprising resonance to today. Members of the audience immediately felt they been transported back to the Deadwood Saloon, by being led through the side of the venue directly onto the stage, before being seated. It gave the production the feel of an immersive theatre event, with audience participation one of its cutest features.

The Japanese Princess

By Camille Saint-Saëns. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Director: Miki Oikawa. Conductor: Pat Miller. Chapel off Chapel. March 11 – 18, 2017.

Lyric Opera continues to challenge the box office by performing little known operas, in this case an Australian premiere. Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila is well known, but I had never heard of this delightful one-acter.

More of an operetta than an opera, with quite a bit of dialogue spoken in English, this was a light weight comedy with a flimsy plot. Written some fifteen years before Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado, it reflected the fascination at that time with everything Japanese.

The Motherf**ker with the hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Live on 5. Adelaide Fringe. The William Magarey Room. Adelaide Oval 10-11 March, 2017

The title of this play is simultaneously shocking and intriguing. Laced with high octane, machine-gun style profanities, what could have turned out to be quite hateful, proved to be a ‘hatful’ of surprises.

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play The Motherf**ker with the Hat premiered on Broadway in 2011, starring Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale.

The current production is directed by Nick Fagan and Matt Houston and to quote Fagan, it is “raw, real and wickedly funny”.

Pretty Boys

Adelaide Fringe. Tandanya Theatre. 8-12 March 2017

Pretty Boys is a new A Capella ‘juke-box’ musical from Adelaide’s Festival Statesmen Chorus.  It concerns the fortunes of a local ‘white’ boy band and their disastrous involvement with the overtly ‘gay’ recording industry and the Russian Mafia.

Whilst some of the singing is good, the acting and movement is not. There is a lot of over-acting, needless shouting, incompetent staging with ridiculous scene changes, and stereotypical characters.

Attack of the Emotional Pygmies

By Peter Maddern. Adelaide Fringe. Star Theatre. March 9-18, 2017

The intimate performing space of the Star Theatre is perfect for this slice of family life.

Set in Adelaide, husband and wife Alistair and Georgia are expecting family for the weekend. As Georgia sets the table, her narcissistic spouse announces his return from work. Todd Gray portrays Alistair as larger than life. Self-centred and obnoxious in his manner, he is quickly disliked by the audience. Cassandra Scalzi does well in the part of the obedient wife Georgia.

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