Reviews

Mad About Musicals

Northam Theatre Group. Directed by Rae Knight. Link Theatre, Northam. 30 Nov - 1 Dec, 2018

I was fortunate to join quite a significant sized audience to see the final rehearsal of Northam Theatre Group’s Mad About Musicals. A glamorous concert, with formal suits and gorgeous evening gowns, it featured a cast of broad age and a beautifully varied selection of entertainment.

The WonderWombs

The Dust Palace. Brisbane Powerhouse. Wonderland Festival. 30 November, 2018

The WonderWombs is performed by an all-female troupe, The Dust Palace, who hail from New Zealand. Established by circus and physical theatre aficionados, Eve Gordon and Mike Edward, they have been performing together for nearly 10 years. The WonderWombs starts as a kind of cabaret with a difference – this being the Wonderland Festival, it is a definite difference. With wicked Kiwi humour, the host introducing the show is a man in a suit – well, a pregnant Jess Holey Bates (who also directs) playing a man in a suit, an MC stuck for words.

Depthless

Written by Kate Harman and Ben Ely. Presented by The Farm, supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts Performance Space, 29 November to 1 December, 2018

Brisbane indie music talent Ben Eli and choreographer Kate Harman have created a work of art with a capital A in Depthless. It seems appropriate on opening night, that we enter the space via IMA (Institute of Modern Art) as this show sits well in a modern art space.

Two Man Tarantino

Written by Christopher Wayne and Maureen Bowra. Directed by Maureen Bowra. Presented by Christopher Wayne. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, Wonderland Festival, 29 November – 2 December, 2018

Theatre producers often grapple with the task of attracting TV and cinema lovers off the couch and away from the dreaded Netflix. Two Man Tarantino is one of those concepts that’s designed to get those bums on seats. It’s energetic, pacey and superficially entertaining comedic work.

The Melbourne Monologues

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. La Mama Courthouse. 27 November – 2 December, 2018

Director Elizabeth Walley has brought together six very strong monologues with six excellently cast performers to create an extremely engaging. crisp and lively evening of ‘Writers’ Theatre.’

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehár (libretto in German by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein). State Opera SA. Festival Theatre. Nov 29 – Dec 6 2018.

The Merry Widow or Die Lustige Witwe is one of the world’s most beloved comic operettas. Performed in three acts with the score by Franz Lehár (libretto in German by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein), it premiered on December 30, 1905.

Hanna Glavari is a wealthy young widow who Baron Zeta would prefer to marry a Pontevedrian, not a Frenchman, to keep her money in the country. The obvious choice is Count Danilo, but there is a problem. They are exes, and he is too proud to marry her because of her fortune.

Invisible Things

Alex Mizzen, Brisbane Powerhouse, Wonderland Festival. 29 November, 2018

The Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland Festival is a carnival that gives the stage over to comedy, burlesque and circus acts that might not quite fit in any other theatrical genre. The ‘misfit’ label would probably delight the internationally renowned physical theatre performer, Alex Mizzen. She has the physique of an acrobat and dancer and uses movement in a kind of absurdist short play or film on stage. Her latest piece – Invisible Things – is inspired by her own journals, exploring personal reflections and emotional journeys.

North By Northwest

Adapted by Carolyn Burns from the screenplay by Ernest Lehman. Music: Bernard Herrman. Director: Simon Phillips. Kay & McLean Productions and QPAC. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Brisbane. 27 November – 9 December, 2018

Since its premiere by the Melbourne Theatre Company in June 2015, this stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic sixties chase-movie has successfully played around the world in Canada and the UK. An obvious crowd-pleaser, Carolyn Burns’ treatment sticks very close to Ernest Lehman’s screenplay (perhaps a little too close) in putting this mistaken identity spy escapade on stage.

Fireside

Midnight Feast. Sydney Opera House. Nov 29 & 30, 2018

In the battle for inclusion, no group has to fight more strongly than those who are challenged physically, intellectually and emotionally – and the people who love them. Two weeks in a row I have seen that that ‘fight’ manifested gloriously in two of the biggest performance spaces in Sydney.

Aspects of Love

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart. Based on the Novella by David Garnett. Walk This Way Productions. Hayes Theatre. Directed by Andrew J. Bevis. Nov 22 – Dec 30, 2018

This is as sophisticated a performance of this musical as you could ever hope to see at close quarters.

The standards were so high that it felt like you were watching Opera Australia rather than an Independent Theatre production.

Aspects of Love is already opera-like in the sense that it is sung through. The generous sized cast of sixteen and orchestra of ten squeezed onto the Hayes Theatre stage added to the feeling of abundance.

The musical is Andrew Lloyd Webber at his most florid.

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