Reviews

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Written & performed by ‘Nefertiti La Negra’ (Mark Brown II). Melbourne Cabaret Festival. Chapel off Chapel. 28 – 29 June 2019

As we take our seats Tina Turner is on the PA, belting out the song with the same title as this show – and I wonder, ‘Is that setting the bar a little high?’  Then Nefertiti LaNegra appears – a tall, very well-built man – in ‘outrageous’ drag queen attire – a cascade of crimped, honey-blonde hair, dramatic silver, black and green eye shadow, heavy jewellery, white cloak with fur collar over a sparkly fabric cutaway frock exposing midriff and a lot of leg – and a nicely trimmed goatee beard.  The ensemble says, or tries

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare (The Shakesbeer Sessions). Presented by Bar’d Works. The King Of Tonga, 164A Tennyson Street, Elwood. 7 - 30 June, 2019 (various locations).

The opportunity to experience Shakespeare in a pub setting is truly rare. Bar’d works, highlights the bawdy and raucous nature of the Shakespeare’s work in order to recreate the atmosphere of the original performances. The show is adapted for a contemporary context, however, the same fundamental principles of a direct and interactive approach are applied. The result is a refreshing and energetic take on this canonical text.

One Heart, One Voice

By Maggie Wilde West and Jackson Griggs. Voiceworks. Directed by Maggie Wilde West with Musical Direction by Jackson Griggs. Subiaco Arts Centre, WA. June 28-29, 2019

Vocal Ensemble Voiceworks presented the world premiere of this locally written musical. A warm hearted story, it features three choirs, a plethora of new actors, performers of all abilities and a wonderful sense of community.

The Book of Mormon

Book, Music and Lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Presented by Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin, Important Musicals, John Frost, Roger Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Jean Doumanian, Roy Furman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Kevin Morris, Jon B. Platt, Sonia Friedman Productions and Executive Producer Stuart Thompson. Adelaide Festival Theatre. June 26-August 18, 2019

“And God said ‘Let there be light’” (Genesis 1:3). And of course, there was light: fantastic stage lighting in fact, together with mirror balls and tap dancing, in the hilariously irreverent, eagerly anticipated and blatantly irreligious fable unfolding now in Adelaide’s experience of The Book of Mormon.

What a hoot it is! And exactly what one might expect from its creators, the brilliantly satirical and wacky South Park writers Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.

100 Reasons For War

By Tom Holloway. Directed by Ella Hetherington. The Actors Hub, East Perth, WA. June 27-29, 2019

100 Reasons For War, presented by the Actors’ Hub, was a Gap 2 production, featuring students of the Actors Hub.

The play was originally commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in World War I, and examines the myriad of reasons that societies find themselves in terrible and tragic conflicts. Written as an open script, the playwright does not allocate lines to characters, nor set a number of participants, a locale or time - leaving all to each production to determine.

MELT Comedy Gala

Hosted by Rhys Nicholson. Part of MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture. Presented by Brisbane Comedy Festival. Powerhouse Theatre. 30 June, 2019

The first ever MELT Comedy Gala delivered ample laughs for the sell-out crowd at Brisbane’s Powerhouse Theatre. The line-up included a variety of comedic styles presented by some of Australia’s best LBGTQI comedians.

Treasure Island

By Ken Ludwig. Hobart Repertory Theatre Company. CJ Bowers (Director). Bill Dowd (Designer). The Playhouse Hobart. 28 June – 20 July 2019

This production of Treasure Island is no kiddies’ pantomime. The strength of this excellent production is in the script, which combines fast-paced narrative, thrilling action and engaging characters.

Tusk Tusk

By Polly Stenham. Patalog Theatre Co. St Martins Youth Arts Centre. St Martin’s Lane, South Yarra. 25 June – 7 July 2019

Here is an intense family drama, first produced in 2009, which confirmed twenty-two-year-old Polly Stenham’s reputation as the playwright to watch.  It’s about three ‘poor little rich kids’, abandoned it seems by their feckless mother and waiting – and waiting – for her return in a partly furnished London flat.

High Fidelity

Music: Tom Kitt. Lyrics: Amanda Green. Book: David Lindsay-Abaire. Based on the Novel by Nick Hornby and the Touchstone Pictures Film. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Director: Michael Skelton. Musical Director: Christine Leah. Choreographer: Stewie Matthews. Crete Street Theatre, Beenleigh, Qld. 28 June – 13 July 2019

When community theatre gets it right they really get it right and that’s what Beenleigh Theatre Group did with their production of High Fidelity. There were laughs galore, the theatre kept rockin’ all night, and the cast were at the top of their game.

Wake in Fright

Adapted from Kenneth Cook’s novel by Declan Greene. Malthouse Theatre. The Beckett. 21 June – 14 July 2019

Embarrassingly in the profound ‘deafening’ silence after the close of Wake in Fright I turned to my plus one and uttered ‘Oh My Goodness’.  This was a reflex response to a remarkable refined and intensely focused work.

Declan Greene and Zahra Newman’s Wake in Fright is a superbly crafted piece with all creative artists working in rarefied and finely tuned synchronicity.  It is frightening.  And yes it does identify and express much of the essence of Kenneth Cook’s masterpiece.

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