Reviews

Astroman

By Albert Belz. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 27 October – 8 December 2018

Here’s a show in primary colours, chocka with exuberance, energy and comedy set in 1980s Geelong.  Director Sarah Goodes’ comic flair is demonstrated as she keeps the show racing along with seamless transitions, spirited performances and missing no opportunity for another sight gag.  At the same time, Associate Director Tony Briggs keeps the show grounded in the experience of an indigenous family.

High Society

Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter. Book: Arthur Kopit. Additional Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead. Based on the play The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry and the movie High Society. Villanova Players. Directors: Jacqueline Kerr & Helen Ekundayo. Musical Director: Sean Fagan. Choreographer: Helen Ekundayo. Ron Hurley Theatre, Seven Hills, Qld. 2-18 Nov 2018

A joyous cast, a hard-working ensemble and an on-stage band give Cole Poter’s High Society a big jolt of adrenaline in Villanova’s final production for the year. Unlike the MGM movie, which was set in the 50s this 1997 adaptation takes it back twenty years earlier and allows for the inclusion of a swag of Porter songs from that period, and some stunningly elegant gowns.

Legally Blonde

Music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin. Queensland Musical Theatre. 31st October – 4th November, 2018

Legally Blonde: The Musical will forever be the high-energy, empty-calories and expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness; based on the 2001 film of the same title, it approximates the experience of eating a jumbo box of Gummi Bears in one sitting. Directed by Tony Campbell and accompanied by Musical Director Julie Whiting, alongside choreographer Julianne Burke – this show packs a punch from lights up.

Madiba the Musical

Book and music by Jean-Pierre Hadida. English Adaptation by Dylan Hadida and Dennis Watkins. State Theatre, Sydney, November 1 – 18, 2018 then touring Australia and New Zealand.

The most striking aspect of this production is the performance of Perci Moeketsi as Nelson Mandela. He beautifully captures the grace, calm and vision of the man who went from prisoner to President.

Born in South Africa, he was a young child when Mandela was released from prison and benefited from the new educational opportunities that a post-apartheid regime offered him.  

The pride he feels in portraying this role is very evident.

Overall the production is part musical, part dance and part documentary in style.

Bugsy Malone

Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams. Book by Alan Parker. Stage Door School of Performing Arts Studio, Subiaco. Directed by Jay Walsh. Musical Direction by Ian Westrip. 2-11 Nov, 2018

Stage Door’s first production of this type features bright and keen 10 to 17 year olds over two casts, splurge gunning each other with abandon, to packed houses.

Opening Night featured the 'Bronx Cast', who alternate appearances with ‘Yonkers Cast’, with a handful of performers featuring in both shows. Bronx performers had a lovely camaraderie, and it was lovely to see some of our more experienced young performers working alongside those making their stage debuts.

Sutra

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Sadler’s Wells London. OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. November 2-3, 2016

‘Sutra’ in Sanskrit means ‘string’ or ‘thread’. In the extraordinarily dynamic OzAsia Festival production of Sutra, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui certainly connects with his audience, masterfully threading together dance, martial arts, music and sculpture. This piece is celebrating its tenth anniversary since first being performed at Sadler’s Wells. It has toured the world and it is not difficult to see its appeal.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks

By Richard Alfieri. The Therry Dramatic Society. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 1-10 Nov, 2018.

The great Carl Gustav Jung once said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks certainly echoes this quotation. It centres on a formidable retired woman, Lily Harrison, who hires a flamboyant dance instructor and ex chorus boy, Michael Minetti, to give her private dance lessons, one per week for six weeks.

Krapp’s Last Tape

By Samuel Beckett. Directed by Laurence Strangio. At fortyfivedownstairs. 31 October – 11 November 2018

Krapp (Max Gillies) sits alone behind a desk under a harsh downlight.  Outside that circle of light, the adaptable but suddenly vast fortyfivedownstairs space recedes into gloom and then black.  When Mr Gillies leaves the light, he disappears, and his presence is indicated by the sounds of whatever he is doing out there in the darkness.  Does he not want us to know what he does out there?  No.  That is a choice Krapp has made – to keep things separate while he excoriates himself.

Nassim

By Nassim Soleimanpour (Iran). OzAsia Festival (SA). AC Arts Main Theatre. 1-3 November 2018

Nassim Soleimanpour is originally from Iran and is internationally regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative playwrights of modern world theatre. His best-known work, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit has won numerous awards, and was written to ‘travel the world when he couldn’t’. Such issues of displacement and isolation come into play with this current work, titled Nassim, with which he is touring around the world. It is now playing in Adelaide at the OzAsia Festival.

Here is the Message You Asked For…Don’t Tell Anyone Else

Cyber Theatre Project. OzAsia Festival (SA). Space Theatre. November 1st-3rd, 2018

Beijing’s leading figure in the fringe theatre scene, Sun Xiaoxing, formed Cyber Theatre Project in 2016. Bringing his latest creation to Adelaide for the OzAsia Festival, he has combined theatre and the world’s obsession with the digital age.

This production is a voyeuristic adventure that focuses on a group of millennial girls and their daily addiction to the application We Chat and social media.

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