Reviews

The Last Five Years

By Jason Robert Brown. Tall Trees Productions (Vic). Director: Jez Hunghanfoo. Musical Director/Producer: Evan Englezos. Treble Clef Jazz Lounge, June 26 – 29, 2013 and Theatre Works, July 17 – 21.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of music being supported around Melbourne. I am familiar with most of the amateur companies, and the big professional productions have a high profile, but slipping under the radar are a number of small professional companies doing good work in odd locations.

Story of O

By THE RABBLE after Pauline Reage. Creators – Kate Davis and Emma Valente. Director – Emma Valente. Set & Costume Design – Kate Davis. Supported by NEON (Melbourne Theatre Company). The Lawler Studio – Southbank. June 27 – July 7, 2013.

Actors move around on a sparse stage, set with merry-go-round horses and sprinkled with sand that makes a crunching sound as it is walked on.  This modern reinterpretation, by The Rabble, of the original novel Story of O written by Pauline Reage (Anne Desclos) and published in 1954, is at times an overwhelmingly visceral experience.

Ordinary Days

Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon. Cheeky Theatre Company (Vic). Director: Chris Parker. Musical Director: Stephen Mcmahon. Design: Adam 'Gus' Powers. Lighting Design: Rob Sowinski. Graphics/Projection: Barton Thomas. Revolt, Kensington. June 28 – July 6, 2013

Ordinary Days tells the story of four young New Yorkers and how their lives intersect in their search for love and “the big picture”.

Lord of the Flies

Written by William Golding. Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams. US-A-UM. Directed by Kip Williams. Malthouse Tower Theatre. June 28 – July 14, 2013

In my youth, as in countless others, Lord of the Flies was a mandatory text. It seemed at one point or another every person that I know studied this book at school. And why not? It portrays deep messages about the law and order vs primal animalistic urges and it’s prepubescent cast of characters appeals to a younger demographic. There is so much an assumption that we all know the story that it has even been parodied on The Simpsons.

IDINA MENZEL IN CONCERT

QPAC. Queensland Symphony Orchestra & The Music House production. Conductor: Vanessa Scammell. Musical Director/Piano: Rob Mounsey. Concert Hall, QPAC, 29 June 2013.

She has been called the Streisand of her generation and that’s probably a fairly apt description of Broadway’s barefoot diva Idina Menzel. Fronting the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the star of Wicked, Rent and Glee, sans shoes, gave a powerhouse performance of show tunes, pop and standards.

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller. Melbourne Theatre Company (Vic). The Sumner Theatre. Director Sam Strong. Set/Costume Design Dale Ferguson. Composer/Sound Designer Kelly Ryall. June 22– August 3, 2013.

Arthur Miller’s account of the “Salem Witch Trials” in colonial Massachusetts between 1692–93, is an allegorical play which points to the climate of hysteria surrounding McCarthyism in the 1950s.

The Crucible is a heavy, cheerless play, principally about, honour, power and its abuses. When Miller was called to testify before the “Un-American Activities Commission” in 1956, he was sentenced to a year in gaol for contempt of Congress, for refusing to name names. The conviction was eventually over-turned on appeal.

Ballet Revolución

National Tour Australia & New Zealand. ATA Allstar Artists Production. Choreography: Aaron Cash, Rocian Gonzalez Chavez. Musical Director: Osmar Salazar Hernandez. State Theatre, Sydney, June 25 – 29; The Arts Centre Gold Coast, July 3 – 6; Arts Centre, Melbourne, July 17 – 20; Crown Theatre, Perth, July 31 – Aug 3.

Sensual, energizing and passionate ~ Ballet Revolución, direct from Cuba, is a fusion of ballet, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary dance that hits you between the eyes. The skill, agility and strength of these dancers is truly fantastic! This is high energy, passionate dance at it’s best.

The show has twenty professional dancers who take us through a range of numbers from fast-paced group hip-hop numbers right through to balletic slow, sensual duos and trios.

Venus in Fur

By David Ives. QTC. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 22 June – 27 July, 2013.

David Ives’ new play Venus in Fur opened off-Broadway in 2010, established its audience credentials and transferred to Broadway the following year where it attracted two major awards in 2012.

It’s a rare coup for QTC to acquire the Australian premiere rights so soon after the Broadway season of such a literary and dramatic gem.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2013

Our Reviewers are out and about at the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Suade: Vocaltronics.

Ormond Hall, Village Melbourne. 6 June, 2013

Melbourne Cabaret Festival Gala

The Palais St Kilda. June 26, 2013. Festival runs, various venues, until July 6th.

A gala of cabaret acts, each appearing to promote their individual shows, sounds marvellous in theory and certainly there was talent galore on the stage. However, cabaret requires intimacy, venues where the artist can embrace the audience, make eye contact. The beautiful Palais theatre is cavernous, 1,000 people are easily lost in it, and it provided none of the intimacy required. The Athenaeum, packed to the rafters, would have provided a far better venue. Nevertheless the stage was dressed beautifully and there was an air of expectation in the auditorium.

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