Reviews

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas. Canberra Repertory, directed by Duncan Ley. Theatre 3, Canberra. 12–27 April 2013.

Turning Dylan Thomas's radio play into a visually satisfying drama is a stiff challenge, all the greater in retaining the poetic narration as the action and dialogue unfold; it would be understandable if a director determined the narration and the dialogue to be mutually exclusive. But Duncan Ley's translation of the work to the stage brings it to dramatic life.

Food

By Steve Rodgers. A co-production of Belvoir Theatre, Force Majeure & La Boite. La Boite (Qld). 16-27 April 2013

This extraordinary comedy is entertaining, thought-provoking theatre.

The title suggests nothing of the sentient depths depicted. All senses are explored to produce sensuality and eroticism. Then there is the delicate interface of two quite different cultures, which results in the climax, and generates much of the laughter.

It Just Stopped

By Stephen Sewell. Theatre on Chester, Epping, NSW. April 12 – May 4, 2013.

One at a time it’s revealed that there’s no electricity, the phones, intercom and lifts are out, the internet is down, there’s no network on the mobiles, no radio or TV, and the batteries in the flashlight are dead.

Not good when you live in a 47th floor apartment and don’t even remember what stairs are!

Is it just a massive catastrophic blackout, showing just how reliant we’ve become on technology, or is this, literally, the end of the world?

Song

By Ranters Theatre. Concept/Director - Adriano Cortese. Songwriter/Performer - James Tyson. Image Production and Lighting Design - Stephen Hennessy. Sound Designer - David Franzke. Perfumer - George Kara. Text - Raimondo Cortese. Producer - Sara Austin, Adriano Cortese. Arts House – North Melbourne. 12 April – 21 April, 2013

This ‘sense around’ experience can be enjoyed against the wall, on a stool, or, on your own piece of astroturf placed anywhere on the beautifully polished Town Hall floor.  It is a very individual experience that doubtless many participants have reveled or will revel in, in the next few days.

Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision

Book by Craig Christie. Music & lyrics by Craig Christie & Andrew Patterson. SUPA Productions. Directed by Emma Tattam. A.N.U Arts Centre. 5–20 April 2013.

This truly enjoyable sendup of the Eurovision Song Contest and of several famous European entries into it had the audience engaged and laughing throughout.  Although by and large the competition's performances (of which there are a great variety) were sung (and danced!) more than competently, the real entertainment in them lay in their comedic moves and lyric suggestiveness.  Jordan Kelly's tight, sometimes very subtle, choreography added a rare kind of comedy to the entire satire, and the contest

OPERAMANIA

Moscow Novaya Opera. City Recital Hall, April 13, 16 & 17, 2013. Hamer Hall, Melbourne, April 19 & 20. Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, April 23 & 24. Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Concert Hall, April 28.

An invention of Valery Raku and Moscow’s respected Novaya Opera, Operamania is a manic if artful rush through the highlights of the world’s best operas, ballets and symphonies. Ten exceptional singers and four ballet dancers leap through tragedy, comedy and lyricism, backed by an onstage orchestra of 44 musicians. And it’s all squeezed onto the City Recital Hall stage. 

The Boy From Oz

Music & Lyrics: Peter Allen. Book: Nick Enright. Director: Catarina Hebbard. Musical Director: Ben Murray. Choreographer: Jenny Usher. Ignations Musical Society. Redcliffe Cultural Centre. 11-20 April/Schonell Theatre, Brisbane, 26 April – 4 May, 2013.

Every production of The Boy from Oz hinges on the performer playing Peter Allen, and Ignatians scored a coup when they cast Dale Pengelly in this iconic part. Bringing a ton of professionalism to the role, Pengelly sang, danced and sparkled his way through this popular bio-musical and even managed to make his asides to the audience seem like fresh bon-mots.

Angela McIntosh was a convincing Judy Garland delivering “All I Wanted Was the Dream” in a big-voiced tremolo, with Jessica Papst matching her as a driven Liza Minnelli.

Macondo’s Clothesline

Marquez Laundry Theatre Company. Creators: Alicia Gonzalez, Naomi Livingstone, Natalia Ladyko. Live Music: Matt Thomson. Lights/Sound: Erin Harvey. Old 505 Theatre Surry Hills. April 11 – 21, 2013.

A Fallen Woman

Les Misérables

By Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer. Willoughby Theatre Company. The Concourse, Chatswood. April 10 – 21, 2013.

An open stage is draped with a worse-for-wear Tricolore, a striking image suggestive of a French revolution or two too many. Exposed lighting rig and backstage mechanics hint that a very different Les Mis is about to unfold.

Hoisted into place as the orchestra plays the opening notes, the battered French flag becomes the backdrop, where its three separate panels create the entrances which help ensure the cinematic fluidity and pace vital to this sprawling epic musical (achieved using revolves in the original staging).

A Masked Ball

By Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto Antonio Somma (after the libretto by Augustin Eugene Scribe, 1833). Opera Australia. State Theatre, Melbourne (Vic). Director: Alex Olle. Conductor: Andrea Molino. Set Designer: Alfons Flores. April 12, 17, 20, 23, 26, May 3, 2013.

Any Verdi opera promises to be a feast of lavish music, with voices, costumes and set design to match.  We have come for the music, for the endlessly soaring melodies, and for the grand spectacle typical of the late Romantic period.

Soloists, Mexican Diego Tore (Gustave III), Hungarian Csilla Boross (Amelia) and Argentinian born baritone Jose Carbo (Count Ankarstrom), were warmly received, as was home grown talent Lorina Gore (Oscar) who thrilled with exquisite coloratura.

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