Reviews

Death In Bowengabbie

Written by Caleb Lewis. Directed by Peter Green. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. April 24th-May 10th, 2014.

Death in Bowengabbie is an amiably funny one-man-show that, while written within a well-established formula, never comes across as an assembly line product.

Patient 12

By Kevin Summers, La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (Vic). April 25 - May 11, 2014.

Patient 12, a play about the casualties of ‘The Great War’,opened on Anzac Day. It’s unlikely this was by chance.  Crowded into the tiny Courthouse theatre, the audience could scarcely have been more aware of the play’s context. The debate over what exactly was being either celebrated or mourned. Sacrifice versus waste. Patriotism versus useless slaughter.  For the Empire?  For Capital?  For freedom?  All these arguments, beliefs and positions are represented and examined in Patient 12

The Girls in Grey

By Carolyn Bock and Helen Hopkins. Critical Stages and The Shift Theatre. Director: Tom Healey. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. April 24-26, 2014 and touring Australia

It’s hard to describe the emotion of touching an archived letter, even if your hand is in a glove. In front of you is paper that a real person from the past has written on, in their voice and the language of the time. Traumas and excitements are very real when read in the first person. The Girls in Grey aims to convey that emotion by weaving into the script passages taken from diaries and letters of women who served as nurses with the Australian Army during World War I. Doing so gave the play authenticity, and made the inevitable tragedies more poignant.

SPOILT

A Tragicomedy written and performed by Liz Skitch. Directed by Fiona Scott Norman. Visy Theatre, Powerhouse, Brisbane. April 24 – 26, 2014.

What is this woman? Frenetic laugh-maker? Fitness freak? Mad spider spinning a comedic web over an entire theatre and its patrons?

Probably all of those, as well as clever writer and perceptive observer of social trends. She doesn’t stand still long enough to be classed as stand-up comedienne.

The Little Mermaid

Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, adapted and arranged by David Weinstein. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film and directed by Jen Firth and Kylie Green. Walford Theatre (SA). 24th-27th April 2014.

Pelican Productions have done this household favourite proud. Do not make the mistake of thinking this show is aimed only at a younger audience, because you too will be swept up in the magic that is The Little Mermaid.

A love story of sorts that transcends two very different worlds. Accepting one’s differences and ultimately believing that dreams can come true. A typically predictable fairy tale plot, but mesmerising just the same.

The Magic Chicken

Theatre Beating (New Zealand). The Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. April 22-27, 2014.

New Zealand’s Theatre Beating is on a winner with The Magic Chicken, a chaotic hour-long show for the young and young-at-heart, in which two madcap chefs cook up a merry concoction of rapid-fire slapstick comedy and mime.

The King and I

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein ll. Opera Australia & John Frost. Director: Christopher Renshaw. Musical Director: Peter Casey. Musical Staging: Callum Mansfield. Lyric Theatre, Brisbane. Premiere - 19 April, 2014. Princess Theatre, Melbourne from June 10 and Sydney Opera House from September 9.

The King and I is the perfect musical – exotic settings, a timeless score, and one of the best books that has ever been written for the musical theatre. The libretto is so strong that it could be played in any lounge room without set and costumes and would still work.

Macbeth

By William Shakespeare. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. April 1-26

Two-thirds of the way through the Shakespeare Anniversary Festival, I finally had the opportunity to see the home club contribution, Darlington Theatre Players' Macbeth, directed by Festival Director Douglas Sutherland Bruce.

This is a very solid production in many senses of the word and feels very Scottish without resorting to tartans or Scottish accents.

Eugene Onegin

Music by Tchaikovsky. Libretto by Konstantin Shilovsky and Tchaikovsky. From the verse novel by Aleksandr Pushkin. Directed by Kaspar Holten. Opera Australia. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. April 16 – May 9, 2014.

From the moment the curtains open on Mia Stensgaard’s deliciously romantic set, to the first notes of Tchaikovsky’s exquisitely lyrical score; you know that Eugene Onegin will be something special – bittersweet but totally satisfying: and indeed it is.

Jungle Book - The Musical.

Based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling. Book and lyrics by Marcus Weber. Music by Michael Summ. King Street Theatre Newtown. April 16 – 26, 2014.

Sometimes a production is so unexpectedly good that you almost fall out of your seat in surprise. Where did this beautiful adaptation of The Jungle Book come from? Full of great tunes, superb characterisation and laughs, surely it could not have been its first outing?

Ah there it was in the fine print. This adaptation has had 5000 performances through-out Europe. The royalties are still flowing back to the writer Marcus Weber to help him run his venue The King Street Theatre in Newtown.

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