Reviews

Impromptunes – The Completely Improvised Musical

Fringe World. De Parel Spiegeltent – Fringe Central, Perth. Jan 20-29, 2017

Impromptunes, in its third year at Perth’s Fringe World, is an amazingly popular show, and is therefore a “must review”, as well as purely a pleasure to see. I must admit though, that reviewing this is a little bit redundant.

I don’t know what you are going to see when you go. Completely improvised from an audience suggestion, every show is the opening and closing of a brand new musical.

Dolly Diamond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks

Midsumma Festival. Chapel off Chapel. January 20 to 28,, 2017

Midsumma Festival in Melbourne always provides great entertainment for the Straight and Gay communities together, and nowhere is this more evident than in Dolly Diamond’s latest and most entertaining offering. True, the idea is not new (though why has it taken decades to reach a stage?) and many of the older audience members remember Graham Kennedy - and in a later revival, Shane Bourne - pushing the boundaries as far as they could. The difference this time round is the incomparable Dolly, who knows no boundaries and yet still manages to appear a “lady” throughout.

Cougar Morrison – Animal Instincts

Directed by Clint Strindberg. Fringe World. Connections Nightclub (Main Room), Northbridge, WA. Jan 20-22, 2017

Playing to a packed house, Cougar Morrison – Animal Instincts is a show that defies classification. Part drag, a little bit ‘boylesque’ and a good deal old-school cabaret, it is mostly just a great show.

Cougar, the alter-ego of performer/producer Clint Strindberg, is bitchy without apology, tells a brilliant story and cuts down hecklers with sass and style, but the highlight is that Cougar is an amazing singer, with gorgeous trade-mark vibrato, who delivers unique renditions of material as varied as Piaf and Bieber.

King Roger

By Karol Szymanowski and Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 20 to February 15, 2017.

Conceived by Karol Szymanowski and his co-librettist Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz in 1918, King Roger was first performed in 1926, but was produced very few times until Charles Mackerras conducted its London premiere in 1975. Since 1988 it has seen a revival, with nineteen performances across the world. It comes to Australia for the first time directed by Kasper Holten in a collaboration between Opera Australia, The Royal Opera House and Dallas Opera.

Bus Boy

By Izzy McDonald. Directed by Geordie Crawley. Fringe World. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre. Jan 20-28, 2017.

Bus Boy is a sensitively told tale about a boy obsessed with buses, who meets a young girl who is almost desperate for a good time.  Set on Rottnest Island, this locally written production by Izzy McDonald, is tightly performed by Rorschach Beast.

Sean Guastavino wins hearts in a compelling performance as Bus Boy, a boy in his late teens, who is clearly on the Autism Spectrum. He can name any bus-route on the mainland, can tell you the exact requirements for driving for Transperth and believes his Transperth-green coloured bike is a bus. He is also lonely.

The Happy Prince

After Oscar Wilde. Little Ones Theatre. La Mama – 18 to 29 January 2017

This much anticipated offering is an entrancing, resonant, contemporary interpretation of Wilde’s deeply moving work that meets expectations of excellence.  It seems to be the hot ticket of this year’s Midsumma Festival and has pretty much sold out.  So hopefully there will be another incarnation in the not too distant future.

La Soiree

Edith Spiegeltent, Cathedral Square, Hay St, Perth. Jan 13 – Feb 26, 2017

La Soiree allowed Perth Fringe-lovers to kick off this year’s FringeWorld a fraction early, opening a week ahead of the official launch. Direct from London’s West End, La Soiree is becoming something of a FringeWorld icon, in its third year at the festival.

In a new location, Cathedral Square, nestled next the City of Perth library, and in a new Spiegeltent, WAAPA’s ‘Edith’, this show remains classic, naughty, fringe-style entertainment.

The Addams Family

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Directed by Ryan Taafe. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (W.A.). Jan 19 -22, 2017

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s production of The Addams Family is a big, lavish production with a professional polish and big budget feel.

This feels like a big touring production, Set and Lighting Designer Stephen Carr, establishes the world of the Addams Family even before the first song and we know we’re in for a treat. Hilary Readings’ costumes are also impressive. Cleverly directed by Ryan Taafe, this show pays on its promise.

Macdeth

Devised by Fiona Roake, Christain Bagin, John Forman, Vanessa Chapple and Aurora Kurth. Arts Centre Melbourne / Company 13. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 19 – 21 January 2017

With heaps of age appropriate fart jokes, Macdeth, is an excellent, often very funny, physical theatre romp in a Theatre in Education style.   It is a Drama/English teacher’s ‘God send’ - a wonderful show to introduce young people to Shakespeare’s revered play Macbeth. 

Sunday’s Roast

Written & directed by Tim P Driver, developed with Jennifer Monk. A Driving Monks Production, 2017 MIDSUMMA Festival. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). 18 – 29 January 2017.

Just as 57-year-old Felicity (Ruth Katerelos) discovers she’s pregnant - how embarrassing – at her age - her grown-up children start arriving for Sunday lunch.  It’s an idea with potential.  Unfortunately the play does little with it.  There’s the elder daughter, bossy-boots Emily (Jennifer Monk) and her mild, obliging husband Andrew (James Rosier).  Mike (Pat Moonie) is the middle child; he’s with his fiancée Melanie (Lee McClenaghan) who’s largely oblivious to Mike’s misery  – and the wedding is imminent.&nbsp

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