Reviews

Flashdance The Musical

Book by Tom Hedley & Robert Carey. Music by Robbie Roth. Lyrics by Robert Carey and Robbie Roth. Based on Paramount Pictures Film. Directed by David Harrison. PRIMA Productions Redcliffe. September 27 – October 8, 2019.

Basically this is the story of 18 year old Alex Owen who works as a steel mill welder by day and a flashdancer at Harry’s Bar by night. There she performs her own innovative routines whilst dreaming of being accepted into the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy. After many twists and turns with romance  as well as hopes and despair, Alex tries out after the encouragement of her mentor, Hannah. This evolves before our eyes through many settings, great dancing and singing.

Echoes of the Picture Palace

Nick Russoniello and The Golden Age Quartet. The Independent Theatre, North Sydney. September 29, 2019

Back in the early 1900s, the Independent Theatre at North Sydney was the Coliseum Picture Hall, screening the black and white silent movies of the era. What better setting to present Nick Russoniello’s tribute to the creative musicians who provided the atmosphere for the action on the silent screen? And who better to present it than Russoniello himself?

A Year With Frog and Toad

Music by Robert Reale. Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale, based on the books by Arnold Lobel. Mind the Change Inc. Directed by Althea Gordon. Mercy Place, Mandurah, WA. Sep 19-29, 2019

A Year With Frog and Toad was an initiative by Mind the Change Inc. This situational theatre project placed a production of A Year With Frog and Toad TYA Version, inside Mercy Place, an Aged Care Facility in Mandurah, WA. As well as rehearsing and performing in the venue, a key aspect of this production included working with the residents for many months, involving them not only in working on production aspects such as scenery painting, but forming the ensemble for the production.

Kinky Boots

Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Book by Harvey Fierstein. Gilbert & Sullivan Society of South Australia. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. September 26th – October 5th, 2019

Kinky Boots is based on a 2005 British film of the same name. Flamboyant playwright Harvey Fierstein has written a story of death, differences, loyalty, choices and ultimately hope.

This tale highlights prejudice in a small town in England, home to a shoe factory that is on the brink of financial collapse.

In A Nutshell

Lane Cove Theatre Company. The Performance Space @ St Aidan's, Longueville. September 27 – 29, 2019

Putting together a program of short plays – each approximately 10 minutes long – is ambitious, daunting and perhaps a bit risky. Finding the plays for a start. Ensuring their entertainment value. Shaping them into a program … to say nothing of finding directors, cast members and a crew to change sets and organise multiple sound and lighting cues. It takes time, consideration, imagination, organisation … and even a little ruthlessness!

Amongst the Trees

Daphne - Composed by Josh Van Konkelenberg, libretto by Fleur Kilpatrick and performed by Bethany Hill - World Premiere and Erwartung - by Arnold Schoenberg, performed by Bethany Hill. Co-Opera. Woolshed – Adelaide Showgrounds. September 29, 2019

Amongst the Trees was an intense and sometimes challenging evening. Its intensity came from both the subject matter and the style of music. This was a departure from the usual style of operatic offerings from Co-Opera, which usually chooses more traditional and ‘audience-friendly’ operatic offerings.

Amongst the Trees demanded close attention from the audience. The Schoenberg in particular is rarely performed and lacked the melodies, and for me, the moments of transcendent beauty that come from arias in the more well-known operas.

The Farndale Avenue Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery

By David McGillvray and Walter Zerlin. Directed by Caitlin Jones and David Jones. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe. Playing September 27 – October 13, 2019.

Within the grand halls of Checkmate Manor, murder is rampant and each of the chess pieces that fall is inevitably connected to another character’s grisly demise. Well, that is the play being performed by the passionate, but relatively hopeless, members of the Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society. The audience has the challenge of solving the crimes and determining who is the murderer, while laughing continuously at this passionate debacle.

John and Jen

By Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald. Stirling Players. Directed by Tyler Eldridge. Stirling Theatre, Morris Pl, Innaloo, WA. Sep 20 - Oct 5, 2019

Stirling Players’ John and Jen may be this year’s best kept secret. This beautifully produced two-hander may not be getting the audiences that it deserves (a little known show and the small cast make it a little hard to sell), but those that do catch this little gem will appreciate this excellent production.

The Campervan Tales

By James Forte. Directed by Jarrod Buttery. Rigby’s Bar, Perth and Garrick Theatre, Guildford. Sep 27-28, 2019

The Campervan Tales is a collection of short plays by local author James Forte. Six plays, all under 15 minutes, and telling a variety of stories, there is probably something to appeal to all tastes in the compilation.

Playing in two different venues over the very short (two night) season, the sets are necessarily simple, but this allows the acting and storytelling to shine.

On Our Beach

By Peta Murray. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Short St, Fremantle WA.. Directed by Phillip Mitchell. Sep 28 - Oct 12, 2019.

On Our Beach, a World Premiere production by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, is a delightful romp that is part traditional puppetry, part promenade theatre, with a huge amount of audience participation and a whole lot of surprises.

The Opening Night audience, which had a few more grown-ups than will be expected at most performances, showed that it really is a show that will be appreciated by parents as much as their children, which makes this a particularly attractive holiday option for families.

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