Cake Daddy

Written & performed by Ross Anderson-Doherty, with songs by Lachlan Philpott & music by Marty Byrne; directed by Alyson Campbell. A wreckedAllprods presentation. Midsumma Festival. Theatre Works, Acland Street, St Kilda Vic. 5 – 10 February 2019

Ross Anderson-Doherty is a natural showman.  He has charisma, he engages the audience – they love him - and he’s just that bit confrontational.  After all, this is a show with a cause.  An argument.  A case to make.  You’ve heard of Weight Watchers?  This is Cake Watchers – a riposte to the careful, dieting, slim is beautiful thing, a counter charge.  At one point we’re invited to watch Ross watch a pink-iced cake – and not eat it.  As if abstinence is all.  This is a show about fat &

Cotton Wool Kid

By Zoe Hollyoak. Fringe World. Directed by Zoe Hollyoak. Rehearsal Room 1, State Theatre Centre of WA. Jan 25 - Feb 2, 2019.

Cotton Wool Kid is a roller coaster of emotions, a tenderly crafted story that is happy to turn the audience upside down without warning. A story of love and loss, where things can change in a moment, where the unlikely is plausible, yet the story is completely believable. 

Underground Railroad Game

Created by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard with Lighting Rod Special. Ars Nova production. Malthouse – Backett Theatre. 30 January – 17 February 2019

Underground Railroad Game is full of twists and turns and shocking surprises.  And - warning adult’s only – full frontal nudity!

A Room with a View

By E.M. Forster adapted by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham. Genesian Theatre Company, Sydney. Director: Mark G. Nagle. Feb 2 – Mar 9, 2019

Photos of the cast interwoven with lovely shots of Italy play on a screen in the foyer of the theatre. Reproductions of Renaissance paintings adorn the walls. Others, stylishly framed in gold, surround the proscenium arch and reach around to encompass the stained-glass windows which are a feature of 1868 building that is the Genesian.

It’s so good to see a director and his creatives thinking beyond the stage and the script. Congratulations Mark! Your vision sets the scene as elegantly as E.M. Forster described it in 1908.

Sweet Phoebe

By Michael Gow. Red Stitch. East St Kilda, VIC. 3 February – 3 March 2019

Here’s a story about how a simple friendly gesture – like agreeing to dog-sit for a week – can disrupt two yuppies’ lives, change them, and reveal worlds they never knew existed. 

Dorian Gray Naked

Libretto by Melvyn Morrow. Music by Dion Condack. Limelight on Oxford, Darlinghurst. January 30 - February 16, 2019

The title of this one-man musical gave the audience a high expectation of seeing a fair bit of the birthday suit of Blake Appelquist. The posters plastered all over Oxford Street,  in the lead up to Mardis Gras, were hardly subtle.

Indeed, the moment of greatest dramatic tension was when the genetically blessed star looked poised to expose all. Sitting in the very cosy middle floor of the Limelight theatre, in close proximity to the star, the Director/Writer Melvyn Morrow left a little to the imagination.

Comedy of Errors

By William Shakespeare. The Raw Shakespeare Project. Various venues (SA). January 11-February 9, 2019.

The Raw Shakespeare Project are a fine ensemble of established and emerging actors who share a passion for bringing The Bard’s works to life, often in unusual or outdoor settings. Their latest offering, The Comedy of Errors opened on the 11th of January at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor’s Centre, went on to Beach Road Wines, Marion RSL Club and will finish up at Fox Creek Wines.

The Flying Dutchman

By Richard Wagner. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Anthony Negus. Regent Theatre. Feb 3 – 7, 2019

Melbourne Opera’s first opera for 2019 was Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, and it was an unqualified triumph!

The orchestra, under the firm control of Anthony Negus, who conducted Tristan and Isolde last year, was superb, and still allowed the singers to be heard.

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture. Book by Kevin Del Aguilla. Original Music and Lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan. Directed by Madeleine Johns. Roar Academy/ Redcliffe Musical Theatre. Redcliffe Entertainment Centre. February 1 – 3, 2019.

This musical version of the animated DreamWorks motion picture follows the story line from New York Central Park zoo on an expected journey to King Julien’s Madgascar where he and his lemurs rule supreme. Alex, the lion, is the star performer at the zoo but needs a change. His friends – Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe, a couple of lionesses and Mason the monkey -  escape with him on this adventure. The penguins travel too but they are a troubling influence.

The Maids

By Jean Genet. Directed by Sam Russo & Adam Ibrahim. Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC. 31 January – 9 February 2019

Jean Genet’s 1947 play is about oppression and the sado-masochistic fantasies it gives rise to.  Here it gets another layer in casting the eponymous maids themselves as male.  It’s not the first time the play has been performed like this, but one suspects Genet would approve. 

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