Reviews

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens. Adapted and created by Shake and Stir. Director: Michael Futcher. Shake & Stir Theatre Co and QPAC. Playhouse, QPAC. 7-20 Dec 2019

Dickensian London is brought vibrantly to life in Shake and Stir’s clever and inventive production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Josh McIntosh’s design with its grey alleyways and streets shrouded in fog is marvellously evocative of the period, and with state-of-the-art video projections by Craig Wilkinson, music by on-stage musician Salliana Campbell, and a top-flight ensemble cast, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge finding redemption has hit written all over it.

The Madness of George III

By Alan Bennett. National Theatre Live from Nottingham Playhouse. Nova Cinemas, Carlton VIC and other participating cinemas. 15 - 23 December 2018

Alan Bennett’s 1991 part history lesson, part comedy is a curious beast that may well owe its popularity and awards to the performance of the character of King George himself.  Here the title role is played by Mark Gatiss (possibly most familiar to audiences via his role as Mycroft Holmes in the television series Sherlock, of which he is also co-creator).  Mr Gatiss’ performance is truly astonishing: a sustained tour de force, he gives us a character who is eccentric, embarrassing but somehow – and so importantly – admirable and endearing, and then

Rent

Book, Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Larsen. A James Terry presentation at Chapel off Chapel, Prahran, VIC. 29 November – 9 December 2018

Like West Side Story and its original inspiration, Puccini’s La Bohème, Rent doesn’t date.  Despite its specificity – 1996, East Village, New York, the aspirations of the characters, and the persisting stigma and threat of the scourge of AIDS – audiences respond as if the story were yesterday.  The depiction of LGBTQI characters is more ‘acceptable’ to the mainstream, but AIDS isn’t ‘over’, and the show’s themes are as contemporary as ever: loyalty, friendship, the search for and risks of

Be More Chill

By Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. Manly Musical Society. Star of the Sea Theatre, Manly. December 7 – 15, 2018.

Be More Chill, a new musical by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz, is a high energy show full of punchy musical numbers, with a modern but moving script and lyrics. Performed earlier this year by MMS at The Black Box Theatre as the Australian Premiere production, this production is the return season on the larger stage at the Star of The Sea Theatre.

The plot features student Jeremy Heere, an unpopular nerd as seen by other students, aching to be popular and wanting to win the heart of Christine Canigula.

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Shakespeare Company. The Rose Garden, St. Kilda Botanical Gardens. Dec 6 – 16, 2018

Through the blooming rose garden, tragedy besets the star–crossed lovers in Melbourne Shakespeare Company’s new production of Romeo and Juliet. Set within the botanical gardens in reputable St Kilda, rival gangs and cantankerous family feuds create havoc for the budding romantic pair.

Hotel Sorrento

By Hannie Rayson. Harbour Theatre. Directed by Thomas Dimmick. Camelot Theatre, Mosman Park, WA. 7-15 Dec, 2018

Australian classic Hotel Sorrento is being presented with style by Harbour Theatre, under the stewardship of young director Thomas Dimmick.

Set very simply, with furniture marking the different locales, and played against black drapes, lighting operated by Robert Tagliaferri or Thomas Dimmick helps to define each space.

The story centres around three sisters. Rosalyn Anderson (Hilary), Rachel Bartlett (Meg) and Sjaan Lucas (Pippa) create a convincing sibling relationship, with beautifully drawn performances which have conviction and grit.

Outlaw Opera

Christina Henson Productions. Avoca Beach Picture Theatre. December 7 and 14, 2018.

With the burgeoning arts community on the Central Coast still steadily ablaze, yet another new company has lit its spark in one of the more under-appreciated facets of the industry.

Outlaw Opera is the brainchild of American born Christina Henson – a Julliard trained singer and vocal coach and she has pulled together an amazing array of talent including Opera Australia’s Caleb Son, Ashlee Woodgate from New York’s National Opera Center and the captivating Livia Brash, whose Lady Macbeth was a highlight of the evening.

Cinderella

A [Not So] Traditional Pantomime. From a story by Tony Nicholls adapted by Judy Neumann. Director: Roger McKenzie. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Queensland. Dec 7 – 16, 2018.

Billed as a magical, musical world of Pantomime, the show is a not-so-traditional take on the much loved Cinderella scenario. It is a creative blend of family fun and darker, tongue in cheek humour, packed with quirky characters. This is no production for the politically correct and the careful gender protectors. After all, this is pantomime where the gloves are off and we are shown ourselves for what we are. That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun at our own expense. Laughing at misfortune is the role of pantomime.

Bottomless

By Dan Lee. Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne. 28 November – 14 December 2018

Bottomless is an intriguing piece that explores aspects of the contemporary underbelly of the tourist mecca that is Broome.  Superficially Broome is such a strange glistening place, however it has a much darker and more haunting heritage and history than is initially evident. 

Spiritual Gangster

The Butterfly Club. Nov 28 – Dec 1, 2018.

 A wild, energetic, extroverted ball of fire, Spiritual Gangster (Joana Simmons) is a wacky new comedy show that is a mixed blend of in-your-face social commentary, dance, yoga, song and some wacky combustible mantra.

There is a helluva lot going on - she bears a striking resemblance to a harlequin street perfomer - l was literally waiting for her to pass the hat and ask for spare change.  She is a souped-up can of beans, punching out her material with kicks, side steps and upside acrobatic salutes to the sun.

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