Reviews

Guys and Dolls

Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows. Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society. The Red Gum Theatre, Wentworthville. September 20 – 29, 2019

HMDS’ production of the ever-popular musical Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser, Jo Swirling and Abe Burrows, based on the stories of Damon Runyon, was very entertaining. Particularly well cast, the production team brought their shared vision of the piece together well.

Nunsense

By Dan Goggin. Gilbert and Sullivan Society Tasmania. Directed by Ingrid Ganley. Musical Direction by Ian Williams. Choreography by Cassie Xintavelonis. The Playhouse, Hobart. 20 Sept – 5 Oct 2019

Nunsense is musical comedy in its earliest incarnation; a revue combining disparate elements and which presumes significant audience involvement. The plot is flimsy: five nuns, survivors of a food poisoning incident, mount a show to raise funds for the remaining members of their religious community, still held in the convent freezer. The show is held together by the characters. Each nun has had hidden talent – singing, ventriloquism, dancing, comedy – but also a back story which makes the show more engaging than it might otherwise have been.

Just Us Girls (whATS a giRL?)

Written by Ellen Grimshaw. Performed by Ellen Grimshaw & Alice Stewart. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Trades Hall, Music Room. 21 – 29 September 2019

What to say?  Just Us Girls (or as the website has it, juSt uS GirLS) is sort of absurdist stream-of-consciousness mix of #MeToo meets Dada by way of cultural theory, poetry and vaudeville.  That formulation comes from The Companion.  After the show she said, ‘I don’t envy you reviewing that one…’

Kate Miller-Heidke - Zero Gravity Tour

Sydney Opera House. September 22, 2019

Performing at the Sydney Opera House won’t be the biggest concert of the year for Kate Miller-Heidke. That was - as you probably know - at the Eurovision Song Contest (which, according to organisers, was watched by 182 million people). Her new national tour takes the name of the song she sang for Australia, “Zero Gravity”. But that high-note of pop is just one of the many strings in Miller-Heidke’s metaphoric bow. This is one of the country’s most talented singers and composers at her best.

You Should Be Dancing

By Everybody NOW! Presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy in association with Melbourne Fringe. Main Hall, Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. 20 -22 September, 2019.

The performance collective Everybody NOW! has a highly inclusive approach to its concept of dancing. This event brings together an eclectic collection of dance styles and performers who congregate to celebrate a wholesome, family-oriented activity. The show goes out of its way to welcome people of all ages, abilities, races and nations.

Flutter and Flounce

Po Po Mo Co. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Fringe Hub: Trades Hall – Quilt Room. 21 – 29 September 2019Flutter and Flounce

Award-winning queer comedy troupe Po Po Mo Co present their latest show, Flutter and Flounce, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. It explores life’s more intimate moments through movement, including a passionate first date and farting in an elevator.

The show contains energetic pop and rap songs, with a bit of musical theatre to boot. I enjoyed the very energetic number from Chicago. Their Cats interpretation was far less creepy than previews from the up-coming movie.

Frantasia

By Frankie McNair. Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Rattlesnake Saloon, 140 Lygon St, Carlton. 19 to 24 September 2019

Frankie McNair presents her first solo show at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. The comedian has been working hard, appearing around the country in the award-winning duo Sweaty Pits with Miriam Slater. Her performance of Frantasia sold-out in her hometown of Canberra.

While Sweaty Pits was fully sketch comedy, Frantasia is more stand-up, with a good seasoning of sketch. Her vision is to remind us of “the joy in play and the ridiculousness of life”. She harnesses this with hilarious and creative stories, enhanced with props and pop songs.

Muriel’s Wedding

Music & Lyrics: Kate Miller-Heidke & Keir Nuttall. Book: P.J. Hogan. Global Creatures. Director: Simon Phillips. Musical Supervisor: Isaac Hayward. Musical Director: Daniel Puckey. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Opening Night: 21 September 2019

Muriel’s Wedding – The Musical is a hoot and a half. Well, for the first half at least. If it loses steam in the second it’s because the plot takes a darker turn.

John

By Annie Baker. Outhouse Theatre Co & Seymour Centre. Director: Craig Baldwin. Reginald Theatre, The Seymour Centre, Sydney. 19 September – 12 October 2019

John takes me back to a time when plays in three acts (and two intervals) lasted four hours, and to settings of interiors that seem so complete you could move in for the night. Recently at the Reginald Theatre I’ve seen a single table stand as the setting for six generations of a family: not here. John is played on a set as complete, as polished and as real as anything I’ve seen in Sydney theatre for many years.

John Barrowman in Concert

Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), 21 September 2019.

Sometimes the stars align and a magical night ensues. John Barrowman’s exclusive one-night-only performance in Brisbane at QPAC coincided with Brisbane Pride and the Oz Comic-Con. This made for an extra special audience mix who, as Barrowman said, simply ‘get it’ – or, to misquote Tim Rice, ‘they know him so well’.

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