Reviews

Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.

Book by PJ Hogan. Music and lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall. Presented by Global Creatures in association with Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips. Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. 12 March – 9 June, 2019.

PJ Hogan has created a faithful adaptation of his endearing and iconic film. His story captures the idiosyncratic Australian no-nonsense essence that sometimes struggles to reconcile ultra-conservative and non-inclusive community attitudes. The account of Muriel’s oppressive and dull small-town existence, which is blighted by sexism and political corruption, is transformed into a tale of the triumph of mateship, individuality and freedom.

Enright On the Night

By David Mitchell and Melvin Morrow. Genesian Theatre Company, Kent Street, Sydney. March 23 – April 13, 2019.

It’s fifteen years since Australian theatre lost one of its most popular and prolific theatrical creatives. Nick Enright was a real all-rounder – playwright, actor, director, screen writer, lyricist, translator, adaptor, dramaturg, teacher, mentor. Few could aspire to such a comprehensive CV; few could achieve so much and still stay a regular nice guy; few could reject the call of Broadway and Hollywood and come home to the country and people he loved and wrote about so prolifically.

The Kill Deer

Unpublished
Music and Lyrics by The Cinnamon Line (Taylor Broadley, Lincoln Tapping, Wei Chong, Liam Rock and Zac Bennett). Orchestrations by Paul Olsen. Directed by Taylor Broadley. The Nexus Theatre, Murdoch University, WA. March 21-30, 2019

In a month that has seen several new Australian musicals performed in Perth, The Kill Deer is the real home-grown contribution, the World Premiere of a locally written show that is attracting great audiences for Murdoch Theatre Company.

Teenaged Elliot has been missing for five years. When he unexpectedly re-appears after ringing for help from a phone box, there is cause for celebration. But things begin to not add up. Is Elliot really Elliot?

No Flirting

Written, devised and presented by Alex Ward. The Valiant Lounge, Brisbane City Hall, 19 – 24 March Month, 2019

Stand-up comedian Alex Ward returns to her hometown of Brisbane, touring an hour-long festival show No Flirting. The performance opens very naturally. Alex appears comfortable and in control. She puts the crowd at ease and deals with latecomers without belittling them as many comics feel the need to do. She’s a very warm and welcoming performer. Her style is not aggressive or confrontational.

Atomic

Book and lyrics by Danny Ginges, Music and lyrics by Peter Foxman. Blak Yak. Directed by Lorna Mackie. Memorial Hall, Spearwood, WA. March 14-24, 2019.

Blak Yak’s Atomic was an Australian written musical about the development of the Atomic Bomb. This WA premiere was a well presented, passionate production of this interesting new work.

It Could Be Any One Of Us

By Alan Ayckbourn. Players Theatre, Ballina. Directors: Fran Legge and Michael Sheehan. March 22nd – 30th, 2019

Alan Ayckbourn is one of Britain’s accomplished comedy playwrights and this script is full of surprises: he has even written three alternate endings as to “who done it”!

Ballina’s production is a lot of fun with a cast of five dysfunctional, eccentric family members and one sane outsider. As with most plays, the plot takes a little time to inform the audience as to who is who.

Allelujah!

By Alan Bennet. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, National Theatre Live, presented by Sharmill Films. Cinema Nova, Lygon Street Carlton and cinemas nationally Limited season from 30 March, 2019.

Alan Bennett (The History Boys, The Lady in the Van, The Madness of George III) is renowned for his regular successful collaboration with stage director Nicholas Hytner. Bennett’s plays often draw on his idiosyncratic and very personal experience of the issues affecting contemporary British society.  ALLELUJAH! especially operates in this vein as it draws on the widespread concern about the demise of the NHS that has dominated debates in British politics in recent years.

Carmen in the Square

By Georges Bizet. State Opera SA. Victoria Square, Adelaide. March 24, 2019

For the first time the State Opera of South Australia has moved out of a theatre and into a central city venue, namely Victoria Square. Presumably this is based on Opera Australia’s successful ‘Opera on Sydney Harbour’.

The choice of Carmen for this first production was a wise one. Known by any opera fan, with hummable tunes (including a football team song) and a dramatic storyline, it has all the ingredients to be a sure-fire hit.

Briefs: Close Encounters

Presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and Briefs Factory. Playhouse Theatre, Southbank. 20 – 24 March, 2019.

Briefs Factory describe themselves as “manufacturers and distributors of evocative, irreverent, political punk performance.” Close Encounters lives up to this mantra in dazzling and spectacular fashion. This Australian based performance collective specialises in blending the conventions of cabaret burlesque, comic capery, breathtaking circus acts and male stripping. The combination is seamless and forcefully dynamic and, unsurprisingly, has become a world-wide sensation. 

Kinky Boots

Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper. Book: Harvey Feirstein. Empire Theatres Production. Director: Alison Vallette. Musical Director: Shane Tooley. Choreography: George Canham. Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. 22-31 March 2019

After a three-million dollar refurbishment, Toowoomba’s theatrical jewel, the Empire Theatre, is looking more glitzy than ever, and what better show to reopen the venue than this glitzy ‘ode to acceptance’ Kinky Boots. The story of a failing Northumberland shoe factory which is reborn making sexy leather boots for drag queens, comes vibrantly alive in Alison Vallette’s production, the Queensland community theatre premiere.

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