Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Adelaide Festival Theatre until 24 January, then touring.

Adelaide hasn't seen a professional production of Cats for years, but since the amateur rights were released just over 2 years ago, Adelaide has played host to amateur productions in 2008 and 2009 and now professionally once again in 2010.

 This production of Cats looks, feels and sounds great but something is missing, and it is very difficult to put your finger on just what that is.

Barely Contained

Circus Oz - Darling Harbour, Sydney until January 26. Adelaide - February 24 - March 14.

Anticipate smiling all evening, your smile broadening to laughter and heightening to awe.

Circus Oz has defied (and dispelled) gravity for 32 years now, joyously splicing anarchic larrikin clowning, physical theatre and circus skills.

A small, multi-skilled ensemble fills the evening with diverse, engaging entertainment, providing an immediacy and rapport missing from huge-cast, high-tech international circus behemoths.

The Wild Party

Melbourne. December 2009.

This production, directed by Bob Pavlich and billed as a play with music, was a dramatization of March’s 1928 poem that included popular songs from the era.

The chemistry between singer Kathleen Spaull and pianist Munro Melano was instantly captivating and both performed brilliantly. Kathleen’s pack-a-day timbre, laced with a sweet touch of G&T, captured the feel of each song perfectly.

One is warm in winter, the Other has a better view

Platform Youth Theatre. Written by Adam J A Cass (assisted by Andrea Jenkins, Neil Triffett, Justin Grant and Caitlin Dullard in collaboration with the Platform Youth Theatre Ensemble); Director Caitlin Dullard; Set and Costume Design Tanja Beer; Lighting Design Geoff Adams; Music Composition Amanda Coventry and Samak A Sangi. Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, 3–13 December.

There was a moment, very early on in this Platform Youth Theatre production, where I became hypnotised by what was unfolding. The delightful Kayla Roberts (The Unknown) stands completely still, staring – full of wonderful curiousity – at Andrea Jenkins (The Bitter) as Ms Jenkins literally hurled a firey and defiant monologue about her painful relationship with a higher authority straight to the audience from about three feet away. There was no earnest, self-concsious, well-meaning 'youth-on-stage-instead-of-on-the-streets' worthiness at play here.

It Runs in the Family by Ray Cooney

Canberra Repertory, directed by Walter Learning. Theatre 3, 20 November to 12 December 2009

I've just survived perhaps the funniest play I've ever seen: Ray Cooney's It Runs in the Family, staged by Canberra Rep at Theatre 3. This performance was so funny that audience members literally fell out of their seats laughing.

Absurd Person Singular by Alan Ayckbourn

Ensemble Theatre (NSW)

For its final production of the year the Ensemble Theatre have gone for a play from Sir Alan Ayckbourn's rich body of work, his 1972 comedy of social mores, Absurd Person Singular. This play is one of the most frequently performed plays in his repertoire.

2009 Circus Showcase, National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA).

Artistic Director Megan Jones; Creative Consultant and Act Creation John Bolton; Lighting Design Richard Gorr. NICA National Circus Centre, Melbourne until 12 December.

One of the most wonderful aspects of watching NICA's young Circus performers in their annual graduation showcase is the impressive wealth of talent and ability on show – just as one of the most awkward is when it all goes horribly wrong.

Ruby Moon by Matt Cameron.

A Devil May Care Production. Newtown Theatre (NSW). Until December 10.

A little girl, Ruby, has disappeared on her way to visit her grandmother. How do the parents, Sylvie and Ray, cope? What do the neighbours know? Is one of them responsible? They’re all a bit on the weird side in Matt Cameron’s intriguing, ambiguous play. Is there more to the action of this play than the surface scenario suggests?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

B Sharp. Downstairs, Belvoir Street Theatre. Until December 20

The final production, in another successful year for the B Sharp program, is Company B’s Artistic Associate Eamon Flack’s production of the most playful of the Bard’s comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This was a high spirited production with a cast of nine giving their all to a very receptive audience, including some school-kids who enjoyed their slice of live Shakespeare. At one time there was even an attempt by a few people to start a Mexican wave.

Poor Men’s Riches by Marie Cohen

Atherton Performing Arts (Q). Director: Jacqui Stephens.

The Atherton Performing Arts’ thirtieth birthday bash production is a revival of Poor Men’s Riches, a locally written comedy by Marie Cohen. On a well-constructed set the action is fast and furious. Slamming doors, revving motorbikes, loud music and yapping dogs provide the background noises driving Gordon and Frances Armstrong nuts. But this cacophony of noise is not caused by the neighbours; it is caused by their own children. When the disturbance disrupts their sex life, mum and dad pack their bags and head to the nearest motel.

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