Reviews

Aladdin

By Joshua Dixon. Tea Tree Players (SA). The Tea Tree Players Theatre. 22-30 November 2019

The Tea Tree Players production of Joshua Dixon’s Aladdin is an absolute delight. It contains virtually every wonderful attribute of classic ‘pantomime’ in the theatrical English-Australian tradition of the Music Hall. With notable exceptions it follows the usual plot of Aladdin, an ‘oriental’ ‘rags-to-riches’ tale.

People Suck

By Megan Phillips and Peter Cavell. Salty Theatre. Theatre Works (Vic). November 20 – 30, 2019

People Suck is an in-your-face indie “musical airing of grievances”. It is written by a Canadian team Megan Phillips and Peter Cavell (winners of the Best Toronto Fringe) and brought to Australian audiences by the Melbourne based Salty Theatre company.

Stones in their Pockets

The words of Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson Explored in Song. Catriona Barr, Mezzo-Soprano and Thomas Webb, Piano. Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, music composed by Aaron Copland. From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, music composed by Dominick Argento. State Opera South Australia Studio. November 23, 2019.

Stones in their Pockets is the result of a meeting between two talented and highly professional performers, set up by Judith Barr, and with the offer of a venue by Stuart Maunder.

The poems and diary extracts were printed in full in the Stones in their Pockets program and this offered the audience a chance to tune in more fully to Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf’s thoughts and writing. This meeting turned into an opportunity for us all to enjoy Barr’s beautiful voice and appreciate Webb’s skill as a pianist and accompanist.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

By Martin McDonagh. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. Nov 18 – Dec 21, 2019

Rebel Wilson was to play the lead in this STC revival of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy – the play was Wilson’s choice – before she pulled out mid-year and went to greener pastures.

Yael Stone instead plays Maureen, 40 years old, stranded in a remote bog Irish hovel as the reluctant carer of her irascible mother, Mag (Noni Hazlehurst).  

Rock of Ages

By Chris D’Ararienzo and Nathan Popp. Directed by Kathleen Del Casale and Ashlee Torrens. Limelight Theatre, Wanneroo WA. Nov 21 - Dec 7, 2019

Rock of Ages is a high energy production, with an enthusiastic young cast, that highlights some emerging talent. Lots of new faces on the production team, with director Kathleen De Casale directing her first musical, and co-director Ashlee Torrens directing her very first show. Musical director Vlad Sturdy makes an impressive debut. Co-choreographer Breht Wilson is also choreographing for the first time

Packer & Sons

By Tommy Murphy. Belvoir Street Theatre. Nov 16 – Dec 22, 2019

Quoting Tommy Murphy’s early big hit, there’s no holding the man in this new play about four generations of Packer men.

These big blunt bullies dismiss their sons as competitors, and weak to boot, they’re fathers whose cold hearts all fail to get them past their 60s, but have carved newspaper, magazine, television and now gambling empires out of Sydney.

The Graduate

Adapted by Terry Johnson. Mount Players (Vic). Mountview Theatre, Macedon. November 1 – 23 2019

The Graduate is a fun, well-paced offering by Mount Players.  As expected, it shines a bright light on the social mores of the 1960s.  And yes, the auditorium was filled with grey haired patrons, many of whom are doubtless old enough to remember the hubbub caused by the release of the film.  In fact it takes us well and truly back into the era.

Electric Dreams

Music & lyrics by Drew Lane, book based on the movie ‘Electric Dreams’ created by Rusty Lemonrande. Music Theatre Melbourne presents a Staged Workshop Development Production. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park. 20 – 24 November 2019

Here is a new Australian musical – even if it’s set in San Francisco in 1984 – mounted by the thoroughly professional Music Theatre Melbourne.  Nerdy but nice architect Miles (Tom Green) moves into a new apartment.  Guided by his more sophisticated buddy/mentor Frank (Stephen Mahy), Miles gets one of these new-fangled (to him) computers.  He names it ‘Edgar’ (its voice is Owen James), and it acquires more features than Miles expected let alone understands.  Beautiful cellist Madeleine (Madeleine Featherby), nursing a broken heart, come to Sa

Native Tongue

Mojo Juju. Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). 19 November, 2019. Part of Clancestry: A Celebration of Country, 18 November to 2 December, 2019

Singer-songwriter, Mojo Juju, was nominated at the 2018 ARIAs as Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Her third studio album, Native Tongue won Album of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2019 National Indigenous Music Awards. The song also won Best Independent Single at the Australian Independent Record Labels Association Awards. The accolades are justly the result of four year’s work on an album, a body of work that is a very personal collection of stories about the experiences of her family and her fascinating heritage.

Waiting in the Wings

By Noël Coward. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Stephen Pike. The Q, Queanbeyan, 20–23 November. Theatre 3, Canberra, 29 November – 7 December.

A large, comfortable charity home in 1960 England named The Wings houses retired actresses.  Of its nine present residents, all but one know of an impending addition to their number, the actress Lotta Bainbridge.  The resident in the dark, May Davenport, has refused for the past 30 years to speak with Lotta, and everybody else is afraid of her reaction — which is understandably worse than it might have been when May finally realises that Lotta is soon to arrive M

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