Reviews

ALIEИATION

Theatre Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth, WA June 29 –. July 13, 2013.

As patrons enter the auditorium to see Perth Theatre Company’s ALIEИATION, they find a note on their seats.

“Note from Lachlan Philpot

I would like to acknowledge the people who bravely shared their stories and the actors and creative artists who contributed to this work in good faith.

However, the outcome of this production does not reflect my original, scripted or communicated intentions as the playwright.”

Originally billed as the author of this work, Lachlan Philpot’s name does not appear in the program.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn. Directed by Ryan Taafe. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana WA. June 14-29, 2013

Set at a school spelling bee, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee uses selected audience participants to fill out the number of spellers, so I had the rare experience of appearing on stage in a show I was reviewing.

The Audience

By Peter Morgan. Australian cinema screenings by National Theatre Live. Director: Stephen Daldry. From 5 July, 2013.

Going to your local cinema for a live sports broadcast made money for the promoters. As did a pre-recorded as-live rock concert or a New York opera production. Then came straight theatre events. The future arrived bigtime when The Audience went live from Shaftesbury Avenue to the UK and North America on 13 June.

Day One, A Hotel, Evening

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Black Swan (WA). Directed by Peter Houghton. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth WA. June 15-30, 2013

Many a play has been written about a love triangle, but Joanna Murray-Smith's Day One, A Hotel, Evening, is moreabout a love "Star of David drawn by an overenthusiastic six year old" a manic tangle of relationships that continues to surprise throughout this 110minute play.

Six very capable actors worked as a tight ensemble to give clarity to this extremely complex plot. Jacob Allan played Ray, who may or may not have just been overseas, may or may not be a paid killer and is married to Rose.

Seussical

Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Brisbane Arts Theatre. 22 June – 20 July, 2013

What a happy, wholesome show this is!

Seussical creators, Flaherty and Ahrens, took principal characters from several Dr Seuss books, mimicked his doggerel style and threw them together in various plot situations to produce the book and lyrics.

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.

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