Reviews

Life and Beth

By Alan Ayckbourn. Tea Tree Players (SA). February 13 –23, 2019.

Any play that boasts a maudlin alcoholic sister-in-law, a frisky vicar, a brow-beaten woman seeking liberation, an over bearing son with a seemingly mute chef girlfriend, and a suffocatingly controlling and overbearing ghost is bound to catch your attention. The Tea Tree Players’ current production of Life and Beth does that for all of the right reasons.

Bloody Murder

By Ed Sala. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre. Feb 8 – Mar 2, 2019

In Bloody Murder playwright Ed Sala sends up every drawing room murder mystery on stage or screen, every possible character stereotype, and every possible murderer’s modus operandi. Think Midsomer without the Barnabys, Death in Paradise without the palm trees and sunsets, Christie without Miss Marple

Barbara and The Camp Dogs

By Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine. Songs by – Alana Valentine, Ursula Yovich and Adam Ventoura. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse. 7 February to 3 March 2019

Disarming in its unpretentious frankness, Barbara and The Camp Dogs will make you laugh and have you cry.  It is bold, brassy, engagingly moving theatre with great songs.  It is just tremendous.

Having sold out in Sydney it is surely set to sell out in Melbourne.

DAD

By Isaac Powell, Jarryd Prain and Marshall Stay. Fringe World (WA). The Studio, The Blue Room, Perth Cultural Centre, WA. Feb 5-9, 2019

One of the most talked about shows at FringeWorld, this brilliant self-devised piece featured three grown men in onesies, a stageful of pillows and some of the most thoughtful theatre we will see this year, let alone at Fringe. DAD was a celebratory and extremely funny piece of theatre that also managed to hit hard and be incredibly moving.

A Prelude in Tea

The Spooky Men‘s Chorale. Independent Theatre, North Sydney. Sunday 10th February 3.30pm

What is A Prelude in Tea? It’s a series of Sunday afternoon concerts featuring afternoon tea and a music performed by some of Australia’s best and most exciting small ensembles, presented in the stately Independent theatre with its impressive acoustics. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend many of the 2018 concerts, but not once last year did I see the patrons crowding the foyer or spilling out onto the footpath and into the side lane as they did yesterday.

The Odd Couple

By Neil Simon. Tugun Theatre Co, Gold Coast. Director: Tracey Kriz. February 7th – 23rd, 2019

Neil Simon’s ever popular comedy The Odd Couple makes a welcome appearance for Tugun’s first offering of the season. This timeless script comes to life in the hands of the multi-talented Tracey Kriz and her all- star cast of well-known Gold Coast performers: Oscar, Dave Fraser; Felix, Chris Hawkins; Speed, Ian Lake; Murray, Rory Impellizzeri; Roy, Grant Ebbling and Vinnie, Graeme Stuckings. As the upstairs neighbours - the Pigeon sisters Gwen, Gai Byrne and Cecily, Pamela Payne, give a (much needed) breath of fresh air to the guys’ weekly poker games.

The Ides of March

By Kieran Bullock. Fringe World. Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den, Brisbane Hotel, North Perth, WA. Feb 8-13, 2019

This bizarre little time travel comedy sees William Shakespeare travel to Ancient Rome to witness the assassination of Julius Caesar. A madcap 39 Steps style performance sees 4 actors play dozens of characters, in an hour long show that never takes itself very seriously.

The Little Mermaid

Music: Alan Menken. Lyrics: Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. Book: Doug Wright. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directors: William Pulley and Rodrigo Medina Noel. 08 February – 02 March, 2019

Staging a Disney production is a daunting prospect at the best of times, but as their first directorship, directors William Pulley and Rodrigo Medina Noel, together with Choreographer Erin Brummage, have re-created the magic of Disney’s The Little Mermaid with great success. William also directed the music 

Young Frankenstein

Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan. Music by Mel Brooks. Directed by Shane Webb. Presented by Phoenix Ensemble. The Tin Shed Theatre, 1 – 23 February 2019.

Shane Webb demonstrates outstanding directorial vision for this musical based on the 1974 Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder film of the same name. He’s clearly approaching it with great imagination and a lot of humour. While he’s able to effectively show the audience his ability to prepare a large cast and crew to deliver a well-paced, energetic show, Shane’s expectations for the outcome clearly surpass the abilities of many cast members.

The Female of the Species

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Lane Cove Theatre Company. The Performance Space, St Aidan’s, Longueville. Feb 8 – 23, 2019.

This almost anti-feminist play is one of the Australian plays listed on the HSC Drama Syllabus, so it can be expected that it will attract some local year 12 students – as it did on opening night. The five about-seventeen-year-olds in front of us were the most enthusiastic of a very appreciative audience. The production obviously met their expectations of the play and the characters – and I’m sure director Jess Davis was thrilled by their immediate responses and their post-play comments.

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