Pacific Overtures

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Additional material Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Alister Smith. Theatre Works. 20th Feb-March 9th, 2014

“Watch This” productions burst onto the Melbourne scene last year with an impressive production of Sondheim’s Assassins. Now, with exemplary casting and impeccable vocal skills, the company brings us Sondheim’s rarely performed and little known Pacific Overtures.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Sydney Theatre Company & Qantas.. Director: Jonathan Biggins. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. 17 Feb - 5 April 2014

Jonathan Biggins’ crackerjack production of Michael Frayn’s famous play (‘The funniest farce ever written!’, according to the posters) is a must for theatre people of every level of experience. Haven’t we all dried on stage? Haven’t we all had to climb through the rickety window because the door was stuck? Haven’t we all had a thing for the ASM on the book?

Rom Com Con

Presented by Mace and Burton. Adelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre. February 17 – March 16, 2014.

Lizzie Mace and Juliette Burton may have struggled through the wilderness of singlehood, or endured the shock of being suddenly single again after years in a partnership, notching up more successive heartaches and disappointments than you’d wish on a sworn enemy – but they’ve never given up, nor have they lost their humour or high spirits. Now, their pain is our gain. Not to imply that this reviewer is sadistic, because Rom Com Con is an utter delight; endearing, playful, poignant, funny, wise, wonderful!


The Adventure Club. Adelaide Fringe. Gluttony – The Bally Tent, Adelaide. February 18-23, 2014

Those not sure which of the many Fringe shows they should see first, or those on a budget looking for a “greatest hits” sampler of Fringe acts, might want to check out this amiable variety show hosted by affable Canberra-based funnymen Chris Endrey and Pablo Latona, backed up by music from the considerably talented House Rats.

Blitz! A Sentimental Journey

By Claire Dawson & Rod Anderson. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Rod Anderson. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 14 -22 February 2014.

Blitz! A Sentimental Journey, presented by Hobart Repertory Theatre is a one-woman-and-one-accompanist show with heart and energy. Dynamic Claire Dawson dazzles - singing, dancing and interpreting the music of the 20s, 30s and 40s, when the show is set.

The original concept by Claire Dawson is based on the experiences of her late grandmother, written around her career as a performer on London stages during the World War 2 bombing.

Jump for Jordan

By Donna Abela. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre – Feb 14 to March 29, 2014. Merrigong Theatre Company – April 2 – 5.

Informed by her Maltese background, Donna Abela has written a witty and endearing snapshot of what it means to be second generation Australian.  Such alternative takes on Australian identity, a “new multiculturalism”, appeared on our stages in the late 1980’s. It’s good to see them back!

The difference perhaps is the ambitious, poetic storytelling structure with which Abela, not always successfully, takes us on the journey of young Sophie.

The Sheds

Written & Directed by James Cunningham. Adelaide Fringe. The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. February 18-22, 2014

Set entirely within the changing room of an AFL team, The Sheds explores the relationship between Darren (Patrick Chirico), a star player who has recently come out as gay, the resentment this provokes in one of his teammates, Jimmy (Andii Mulders) and the efforts of the team captain, Liam (Ludwik Exposto) to mediate in this conflict.

Second Hands

Written and directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler. PICA - Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. 18-22 February 2014.

The Fringe World Guide gives little symbols to each show to help people make selections. Second Hands is recommended as being suitable for taking Nan and Pop, great as a mate night and being "sure to impress and entertain your date". While Second Hands is certainly impressive, I would strongly advise against using this show as an aphrodisiac unless your lover is slightly unhinged.

Point and Shoot

By Tyler Jacob Jones and Robert Woods. Directed by Gemma Hall and Tyler Jones. The Stables, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. Feb 9-16, 2014.

Thanks to an extra show being added to its Perth Fringe World season, I was able to catch this little gem by Holland Street Productions, at its final performance.

This was a World Premiere musical by Tyler Jacob Jones and Robert Woods, who also penned Falling to the Top: The Music Trashtacular, and stars the authors with Erin Hutchinson and Tamara Woolrych. An actor-musician production, the music (including clever sound effects) was all played by the four performers who played maybe twenty instruments and perhaps forty characters during the 75 minute production.

The Rocky Horror Show

Book, Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien. Ambassador Theatre Group/Gordon Frost Organisation. Director: Christopher Luscombe Crown Theatre, Perth from Feb 14, 2014, then Festival Theatre, Adelaide, from Mar 21 and Comedy Theatre, Melbourne from Apr 26.

The Rocky Horror Show has jetted into Perth, in just the second leg of the national tour.

This 40th anniversary production is fresh and energetic, with the opening scenes having a bright almost cartoonish feel, contrasting beautifully with the heavily decorated old-fashioned, gothic decor of the later castle scenes in a cinematically inspired set by Hugh Durrant.

The performances, without exception are superb. Characterisations were noticeably different to the movie and to previous Australian productions of this show.

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