Reviews

But Wait… There’s More

Circus Oz. Under the Big Top, Moore Park, Sydney. Dec 30 2015 – Jan 24, 2016

When you enter the foyer of the Circus Oz big top, there’s a man loudly selling programs, promising that if you buy, you can learn to read, become even smarter and pick up invaluable information to help “understand the show”. At interval, the same man is selling choc tops, again an over-the-top salesman, promising products that will change your life.

Mary Poppins

Music and lyrics by The Sherman Brothers and George Stiles and Anthony Drew. Book by Julian Fellowes. PLOS (Vic). Directed by Karl McNamara. Frankston Arts Centre. December 31st 2015 –January 9th 2016.

It’s becoming a tradition on the Mornington Peninsula….end the old year with a spectacular PLOS production, and Mary Poppins is certainly that – a delightful musical that offers the best of the 1964 Disney film married with additional music (not quite up to the standard of The Sherman Brothers) and with a book by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. Essentially it’s the story of the Banks Family, which may be why the PLOS family tells it so beautifully.

Club Swizzle

Adelaide Festival Centre. The Space Theatre. 29 December 2015 – 17 January 2016

A combination of talent, originality and pizazz awaits you as you enter the world that is Club Swizzle. Four handsome and buff lads greet you with enthusiasm, promising you a wonderful evening ahead and with the help of an extraordinary company of performers, they deliver with aplomb.

Pinocchio

Writer: Les Winspear. Big Monkey Theatre. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart. Director: Les Winspear. 30 December 2015 – 24 January 2016

The timeless tale of Pinocchio, the puppet who wanted to be a boy, has been given fresh life by Big Monkey Theatre and the writing of Les Winspear, in the delightful setting of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This summer’s presentation is the 22nd family show at the gardens, and the beginning of this year’s public season. The actors - Will Pridmore,

Sport for Jove Summer Season 7

Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare, directed by Damien Ryan, Shakespearealism by Josh Lawson, directed by Lizzie Schebesta and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by Damien Ryan. Bella Vista Farm, Baulkham Hills, Dec 11 – 30, 2015 and The Everglades Garden, Leura, Jan 10 – 25, 2016

The presentation of these two renowned works at Bella Vista Farm is a remarkable achievement, a phenomenal experience for the audience and likely also for the cast and crew. Picnicing in the grass amphitheater in front of the new pavilion takes us on a journey back to the roots of theatre as a community pursuit and of the pageantry, drama and laughs it has delivered to humankind for many thousands of years. Sport for Jove do this so well. They are likely the best theatre company in Sydney and Damien Ryan is definitely the best director.

Cats

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. From TS Elliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Additional lyrics Trevor Nunn and Robert Stilgoe. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises and BASE Entertainment Asia in association with The Really Useful Group. Associate Director/ Choreographer Joanne Robinson. Regent Theatre, Melbourne until the end of January, 2016, and touring.

Cats as a show does not need anyone’s approval. It has already had life around the world for 34 years. It has the seal of approval from over a million theatre-goers. So when I hear a reviewer carrying on in a foyer about what a dreadful load of old rubbish it is, without redeeming features, and how much he hated it (yet he took the tickets), I am forced to re-iterate that a critic’s job is to review the PRODUCTION, not the source. As a production, this new version is a success and highly entertaining.

Georgy Girl

The Seekers Musical. By Patrick Edgeworth with script consultant Graham Simpson. Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: Stephen Amos. Choreographer: Michael Ralph. World Premiere - Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne: December 22, 2015.

Generally one’s musical tastes develop in the teenage years, so The Seekers are in my DNA. They were an aberration in the sixties, a clean-cut folk quartet in a sea of drugs, sex and Rock'n'Roll. I was looking forward to this bio-musical.

I was not disappointed.

Much of the music I remember was included and very well sung with exquisite harmonies, some a capella and the rest with the distinctive Seekers accompaniment. A number of songs I was unfamiliar with had been written by Judith Durham, and there were other songs from the period.

Waiting in the Wings

By Noël Coward. The Mount Players. Director: Chery Servis. 13 November – 5 December 2015

The Mount Players have just closed another very successful reworking of a significant, beautifully produced theatre classic.  It is wonderful to have the opportunity to enjoy the mores of theatre’s traditional cannon in the beautiful rural setting of Macedon.  Full marks must go to this highly regarded theatre company for not shying away from producing works with large older casts.  In fact The Mount Players has embraced that concept with this final production for the year with a high degree of success.

City of Perth Nativity

Directed by Marina Del Basso. Forrest Chase, Perth. Dec 21-23, 2015

The City of Perth Nativity is an annual free event as part of the City's Festival of Christmas. Held in Forrest Chase, in the centre of the city, it attracts audiences of over 5000 people each evening.

This year the story is narrated lovingly and passionately by Lisa Adam, portraying a woman who lived in the time of Jesus, as she tells the story to her awestruck daughter, gorgeously played by Phoebe Tennant, in a performance reminiscent of a young Angela Cartwright.

Spirit of Christmas

Queensland Symphony Orchestra with guest artists Michael Cormick & Anna Dowsley QPAC Choir, Brisbane Chorale, Voices of Birralee, Brisbane Birralee Voices, Jaewoo Kim, Sophie Perkins, Oliver Samson. Host: Jenny Woodward. Concert Hall, QPAC. 18-19 December 2015

Highlight of this year’s Spirit of Christmas was undoubtedly Simon Kenway and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Under his baton this amazingly versatile group of players capped off a brilliant year by giving this concert passion and personality. Starting with the late great Tommy Tycho’s classy arrangement of a “Christmas Overture” and following with “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” with the combined 250 voice choir, this annual event of Christmas songs and carols was off to a rousing start.

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