Reviews

Soft Butch Show Queen

By Mark J Wilson. The Butterfly Club. Jan 22 – 26, 2019

Midsumma is always full of queer surprises and unusual treats and Mark J Wilson’s new solo show Soft Butch Show Queen ticks those boxes.  He is a mixed bag of all sorts, courageously up front, farcical, comical, political, drag queen and more.

He staggers about on stage with a starving artist story, selling his soul to pay the bills. He glazes over his job at Krispy Kreme more than twice, thrice between skits and costume changes.

MissCast

FringeWorld. Directed by Nicole Stinton. De Parel Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Gardens, Russell Square, Northbridge, WA. 18-26 January 2019

The actor’s dilemma is that there are always roles in which you will never be cast - you are the wrong gender, too old, too short, too blonde or just wrong. In this short and sweet production, which has already (deservedly) picked up a FringeWorld award, local performer Dixie Johnstone, and Melbourne’s Vincent Hooper, join forces to perform roles in which they would never be cast.

Beware of Pity

Based on the novel by Stefan Zweig. Schaübuhne Berlin and Complicité. Directed by Simon McBurney. Sydney Festival. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Jan 23 – 27, 2019.

The most interesting part of this evening in the theatre was the question and answer session afterwards with the German cast and crew, who gave an insight into an extraordinary different way of creating theatre.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers

By Neil Simon. STARC Productions. The Bakehouse Theatre. January 23rd to February 2nd 2019

On a day when Adelaide broke its hottest temperature record, I serendipitously went to the opening night of Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, presented by Starc Productions. The company philosophy embraces presenting plays where theatre design is secondary and the actor is central. This production captures and highlights both the skill of the actors and the magic of the text.

Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen

Performed by Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 23 - 27 January, 2019.

Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan team up to create a fun-filled celebration of the songbooks of Olivia Newton John and Peter Allen. The show provides information about the humble small-town beginnings of these two iconic Australian artists but mainly focuses on the hits that brought them to world domination. The performers have no hesitation in displaying the level and intensity of sequins, lycra, and jumpsuits that were involved in catapulting Allen and Newton-John to mega stardom.

I Sing Songs

Performed by Steven Kreamer. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 23 - 27 January, 2019.

Steven Kreamer is an astonishing emerging talent as a musician, composer and performer who has also demonstrated his talents as an arranger and orchestrator. This show is a very personal account of his journey as a musician. The strength of this show is the numerous original compositions often written at important crossroads in his life. While the songs are predominantly reflecting on his experience of love and romance, they are often giving detailed accounts of episodes that have had some formative influence on his life and work.

One Infinity

Beijing Dance Theater / Dance North Sydney Festival. Carriageworks. Jan 23 – 27, 2019

Since leaving Chunky Move, the dance company he founded in Melbourne, choreographer/director Gideon Obarzanek has taken a lively interest in the spoken word and other storytelling techniques of the theatre.

One Infinity is, by contrast, an hypnotic collaboration between Chinese musicians and ten dancers from the Beijing Dance Theater and Australia’s Dance North. 

Le Gateau Chocolat: Icons

Sydney Festival. Spiegeltent, Hyde Park, Sydney. January 23-27, 2019

The British cabaret artist Le Gateau Chocolat is one of the joys of the festival circuit. He first debuted as a solo artist in Adelaide in 2011 and has appeared in Edinburgh and Perth, as well as in the Spiegeltent shows La Clique and La Soiree. A bearded drag queen who uses the male pronoun, he’s an absolute joy, never fitting a single description and never needing to. He’s created an on-stage persona that works wonders, mainly because of the strength of his performances.

The Big Time

By David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre. Directed by Mark Kilmurry. January 18 - March 16, 2019

The question posed every year by David Williamson’s annual World Premiere productions at the Ensemble Theatre is has his latest play earnt its stripes on the quality of the work or his famous name? The answer in 2019, for play number 54, is that The Big Time is one of his best in recent years, likely to delight the company’s traditional audience.

Playtime 2

By Kier Shoosmith and cast. Connections Nightclub, Northbridge, WA. 21-23 January, 2019

Playtime 2 is the sequel to the popular Playtime from last year’s FringeWorld. Playing a very short season at Connections Nightclub, this is Play School if it was made for millennials. Songs, play and craft to help people in twenties navigate the scary adult world.

Bright, colourful and happy, this unlikely combination of children’s theatre (for adults) and big issues, is funny and refreshing and keeps its audience involved throughout.

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