Reviews

This is Not Mills and Boon

By Erica J Brennan. Glorious Thing Theatre Co. The Old 505 Theatre, Newtown, NSW. May 25 - June 3, 2017

This is one sexy comedy that will make you blush and laugh a lot. The classic ingredient for intense drama is to pit people at extremes against each other, in embarrassing situations.

Writer Erica Brennan has dreamt up the delicious scenario for Aby (Emma Chelsey) and Sol (Gabe Fancourt), who are newly coupled.

Spring Awakening

Book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, original play by Franz Wedekind. StageArt. Director: Robbie Carmellotti. Musical Director: Caleb Garfinkel. Choreographer: Zoee Marsh. Chapel Off Chapel (Vic). May 19 – June 10, 2017.

StageArt’s production of Spring Awakening was excellent. I saw the MUST production in 2011 and was again impressed with the strength of the show and the strength of the performers.

It was an amazing production. Everything seemed to flow. As one song was being sung, you tended to not notice that the stage was being reset by the performers behind, until the lighting changed. It was very slick.

The Pearlfishers

By Georges Bizet. Opera Q. Director: Michael Gow. Conductor: Graham Abbott. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 25 May – 3 June 2017

With The Pearlfishers Michael Gow has provided Opera Q with one of their most satisfying productions of recent years. Gloriously sung by the principals and chorus, Bizet’s much-maligned score is not just a one-hit wonder as some believe, but a work of infinite romantic beauty.

Orb

Sydney Dance Company. Choreography by Cheng Tsung-Iung and Rafael Bonachela. Canberra Theatre. 25–27 May 2017

Orb comprises two new works: Full Moon, choreographed by Chen Tsung-Iung; and Ocho, choreographed by Sydney Dance Company's artistic director, Rafael Bonachela.

 

Hoke’s Bluff

Written, co-directed and performed by Gemma Paintin & James Stenhouse, with Laura Dannequin; additional text by Nick Walker. China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre for Bristol Old Vic Ferment. Arts House, North Melbourne. 24-27 May 2017

Here is a show from Bristol Old Vic which has to be one of the most original, intelligent, energetic, disciplined, funny-yet-horribly-sad shows I have seen.  Ostensibly, it is about ‘sports’, but more accurately about the culture of sports - a kind of meta-sport since the sports being played on stage merge and make no distinction between gridiron, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.  It is a show about the huge investment of emotion made in sport, about the ephemeral elation of winning and the self-loathing despair of losing. 

The Children's Hour

By Lillian Hellman. Wyong Drama Group. Directed by Andy Kabanoff. Wyong Grove Theatre. May 19-27, 2017

Scandals, lies, innuendo, disgrace, homophobia, suppressed desire and the dire consequences of allowing conservatism to run amok are themes which are all too familiar these days. The Children's Hour, containing all of these themes and many more to be ruminated on afterwards, was written in 1934.  Lillian Hellman (1907-1984) was quite the liberal/feminist rebel in her day.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Tim Rice. Blue Mountains Musical Society. Director: Jessica Lovelace. Musical Director: Matthew Lovelace. Choreographer: Emma Joseph. Blue Mountains Theatre. May 20 – June 4, 2017.

Jesus Christ Superstar as staged by BMMS is a hi-tech, hi-energy, spectacle. The show’s setting has been changed to a post-apocalyptic future, with plenty of wild-looking types and lots of dancing. Lots of dancing. Imagine Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome re-staged as a School Spectacular.

Heroes

By Gabriel Bergmoser. Directed by Dexter Bourke. Bitten By Productions. Club Voltaire, North Melbourne. 25 May – 3 June 2017

A rock band formed by high school mates is on the brink of success: after years in pubs and other low status venues, they are about to sign with a prestigious label.  But all is not what it seems.  Long hidden undercurrents, repressed animosities, jealousy and even loathing surface in the suddenly openly fraught relationship between band founder Nick (Blake Stringer) and lead singer Jake (Matt Phillips).  Sacrifices have been made for the sake of ‘the band’, but now, with recognition and money at stake, naked ambition comes out.

Run for Your Wife

By Ray Cooney. Centenary Theatre Group. Director: Alan Youngson. Chelmer Community Centre, Chelmer, Qld. May 6 – 27, 2017.

Ray Cooney’s farce Run for Your Wife belongs in the trouser-dropping tradition of Carry On movies with lots of broad sexual innuendo and characters that include vacuous bimbos, bumbling police-officers and stereotypical gays.

Hapless taxi-driver John Smith has two wives, two flats, and a split-second timing schedule as he juggles both. It all unravels one night when he gets mugged and ends up in hospital. That’s the premise of this comedy that ran 9 years in the West End.

 

 

Wicked

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by Winnie Holzman. Based upon the novel by Gregory Maguire. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. May 20 – June 4, 2017.

Willoughby Theatre Company’s production of the musical version of Gregory Maguire story of Wicked – The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is a pure spectacle for all who make the trip to the wonderful Concourse Theatre.

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