Reviews

Mary Poppins

Music and Lyrics by The Sherman Brothers 
(additional lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe) with script by Julian Fellowes. Gosford Musical Society. Director: Chris King. Musical Director: Christopher Hochkins. Choreographer: Lauren Miller. Laycock Street Theatre. October 23-November 14, 2015

Everyone has their personal history with this fantastical heroine and those annoyingly catchy songs. For me it wasn't the book, nor the film but of one of those read-along books that came with an accompanying vinyl record. It featured narration, songs and sound-bites from the film and a tinkling bell to prompt pre-school me to turn the page. I'd all but forgotten about it until a recent viewing of Saving Mr Banks reminded me of just how huge Mary Poppins was back then. 

The Sleeping Beauty

Ballet by Tchaikovsky. Choreographer: Greg Horsman after Marius Petipa. Queensland Ballet with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Nigel Gaynor. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 23 – 31 Oct 2015

High on the adrenaline rush of acclaim they received at London’s Coliseum Theatre in August, Queensland Ballet is dancing better than ever. Greg Horsman’s reinterpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece The Sleeping Beauty is a sumptuous evening of classical ballet and a feast for the eye. Originally produced by Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2011, this is the Australian premiere.

In a Soulful Mood

The Julia Messenger Quintet. The Melbourne Recital Centre and Brunswick Industry, as part of the Mood Indigo Series. Saturday October 17, 2015.

In the rarefied environment of the ‘acoustically rich’Salon at the Recital Centre, honoring some of the great women of Jazz and Cabaret, Julia Messenger entranced and delighted her audience.  What a treat it was to listen to Ms. Messenger’s carefully managed voice surfing effortlessly on, in and around the glorious musical accompaniment of Mark Fitzgibbon on piano, James Sherlock playing guitar, Ben Robertson on double bass and Darryn Faruggia, who’s playing I was really taken by, on drums.

With Love From The Trenches

By Vicky Horwood. Cabaret Under The Star. October 23-November 1, 2015

Currently being produced in Adelaide as part of the Cabaret Under The Star festival, Vicky Horwood’s With Love From The Trenches is a very fine example of theatre based on war.

English-born, Adelaide’s well known actor/director Horwood has written the play in honour of the Centenary of WWI and dedicates it to the memory of her grandfather Reginald Sudlow Hawker.  The play has evolved from material she had of her grandfather’s and of a great uncle, together with recently released items from the University of Edinburgh.

The Art of Teaching Nothing

By Kirsty Budding. Free-Rain Theatre. Directed by Cate Clelland. Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre. 22–25 October 2015

This romp has it all: power plays, secret relationships, mystery, sex, more secret relationships, and lots of comedy.  When a new teacher arrives in a school that has given up on genuine education and a faculty beset by mismanagement, inadequacy, and political correctness, she finds encouragement in just two people: the vehemently indifferent young art teacher, and three A-grade students -- and she is instructed from the top to find unfair fault with the work of the absolute star of the year.  But the school’s executive team soon finds itself being pilloried in a

The Wharf Revue: Celebrating 15 Years

By Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1, Sydney. Oct 20 – Dec 23, 2015

With all these leadership changes, things in politics have moved so fast in recent years - and weeks - that perhaps this perennial troupe of satirists just couldn’t keep up. 

It’s a miracle they’ve maintained such a high speeding standard, producing all-new shows every year since 2000. 

Fame: The Musical

Conceived and Developed by David De Silva. Book by Jose Fernandez. Lyrics by Jacques Levy. Music by Steve Margoshes. Title Song ‘Fame’ by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore. Presented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Daniels. The Goodwood Institute, Goodwood. October 23-31, 2015

This lively and spirited production of Fame serves as an impressive showcase for the cream of Adelaide’s emergent young musical theatre talent, the high-energy ensemble offering an abundance of names worth remembering. Chris Daniels’ sober direction, which shuns undue sensationalism in favour of emotional realism, ensures the production as a whole transcends its (sometimes kitsch) period trappings and is able to connect with a contemporary audience.

Avenue Q

Music & Lyrics: Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx. Book: Jeff Whitty. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Director: John Boyce & Katherine Alpert. Musical Director: Faron Swingler. 17 Oct – 19 Dec 2015

With its insanely catchy score, its clever book, and its set of lovable characters, Avenue Q is a real musical theatre hoot, and Arts Theatre’s revival of their 2014 production is still hugely enjoyable.

Who doesn’t love the denizens of New York City’s worst street address and 12 years after it premiered on Broadway little has dated (except perhaps making a mixed-tape).

Forbidden Broadway

Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playouse Theatre, Hobart. Director & choreographer: Cassie Xintavelonis. 23 October – 7 November 2015

Describing Hobart Repertory Theatre Society’s latest musical Forbidden Broadway as “gut-bustingly funny” is not an over-stated claim. Knowledge of musicals is useful for the audience, and a sharp ear and eye helps to relate to the references to musicals in the spoofed songs. Created and written by Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway takes a poke at the blockbuster musicals that have made it on Broadway then taken on the world. This cleverly written musical is an insider’s observation of and tribute to the musical theatre industry.

Rita

By Donizetti. Shoestring Opera of Melbourne. Matthew Toogood. Director: David Lawson-Smith. Comedy Club at the Athenaeum Theatre. October 23 – 26, 2015.

Conductor Matthew Toogood is now based in Berlin, but we are very fortunate that he continues to return to Melbourne. So, Shoestring Opera made a welcome return, with a very small scale operatic venture.

Donizetti was a prolific composer and Rita, a one-act opera with spoken dialogue, is one of many which rarely see the light of day. This is a shame, as it included some beautiful music and was highly entertaining.

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