Reviews

Heart Thy Neighbour

By Camilla Maxwell. ReAction Theatre. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Director: Louise Howlett. September 18 – 27, 2013.

In a suburban back yard neighbours catch up over a barbeque and a few drinks, and a few more drinks, and we witness the effects of too much alcohol on a neighbourhood feud.

Annie

By Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. SQUIDS. Redcliffe Entertainment Centre (Q). 19 - 28 September 2013

This musical, based on Harold Gray’s 1930s comic strip featuring the feisty, ever-optimistic eleven-year-old red-haired orphan, Annie, gives us an insight into life and politics in New York during the Great Depression.

From a Black Sky

Composer, Sandra France; Librettist, Helen Nourse. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 20–22 September 2013

This modern opera, set in Canberra’s January 2003 bushfires, conveys modern materialist sentiments and emotional shallowness through appropriately banal lyrics and atonal music.

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

Cirque du Soleil. Directed by Jamie King. Perth Arena,WA. September 18-22, 2013 and touring to Sydney (26 to 29 September), Brisbane Entertainment Centre (2 to 6 October), Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena (9 to 13 October) and Adelaide Entertainment Centre (15 to 17 October).

For the first item of Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, I was prepared to be disappointed. It appears to be going to be a fairly conventional concert, albeit a good one - with good quality dancing and aerials.

Do not go home. While it doesn't quite start with a whimper, this show grows exponentially with each number, so that it becomes overwhelmingly stunning.

The choreography is outstanding - tightly executed, it is inspired by the original Michael Jackson numbers. This show has huge appeal for dance fans.

Leo

Presented by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia for the Brisbane Festival. Brisbane Powerhouse. 17-22 September, 2013

If you've ever wondered how Fred Astaire conceived that memorable movie scene where he appears to dance on all the walls, ceiling and floor in one take, go and see this mesmerising, quirky one-man arthouse show.

on air! on air!

Written by Peter Maden. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Helen Maden. September 20 – October 5, 2013. World Premiere.

It’s not very often that the opportunity arises to witness history in the making, but the audience at last night’s World Premiere of on air! on air! experienced the opening of a new Australian play and the finished product of Peter Maden’s hysterical comedy.

Set in the advertising department of a metropolitan radio station – CHAOS FM, the action follows the workings of a busy (?) office where disaster seems to attract disaster!

Songs for Europe

Two short plays about Eurovision. Written by John Richards and Lee Zachariah. Directed by Lucas Testro. A Shaolin Punk Production at Broken Mirror, Brunswick. September 19 – 29, 2013 (Thursday to Sunday)

Most Melbourne fringe offerings are interesting; some are good, and occasionally one is excellent. Songs for Europe falls very distinctly into the latter category. Don’t think Fringe at all….just think great theatre. These two short plays, linked together by Eurovision song contests of years gone by, are refeshingly original – the writing is crisp and multi-layered and the performances terrific. Do not be misled by the title.  These are not light, camp, undercooked frippery. John Richards is a hugely talented writer with great depth.

Hard Rubbish

Original Concept by Men of Steel. Presented by Malthouse Theatre, Strut & Fret and Men of Steel. Becket Theatre, Malthouse. 12 September – 6 October, 2013.

Wild and woolly holiday entertainment for the whole family – anybody?  Hard Rubbish could just hit the mark. But a small warning - the mark could be you if you are sitting close to the front.  There is crossfire of toilet rolls and other fairly soft objects, as part of the fun raucous fun in the ‘liminal space’ of theatre for kids.

Freeze Frame

Written, directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen and presented by the Brisbane Festival. Brisbane Playhouse. September 19-22, 2013

Debbie Allen's much publicised world premiere Freeze Frame emerged onto the stage this week as part of the Brisbane Festival. Famous for her role in the TV series Fame, Ms Allen has become somewhat of a figurehead in LA having created choreography for many name artists and set up her own dance academy.

Penelope

By Enda Walsh. Siren Theatre Company. Tap Gallery Theatre, Darlinghurst (NSW). September 12 – October 6, 2013.

Siren Theatre Company’s new offering Penelope is an incredibly fresh, energetic and a perfectly realised piece of theatre. 

Kate Gaul’s company which previously triumphed with The New Electric Ballroom (Griffin Independent), also penned by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, has done it again.

Based on the last chapter of Homer’s The Odyssey, Walsh’s script is full of poetry, tragedy, vaudevillian slapstick comedy and what can only be seen as the downright futility of life.

 

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