Reviews

Rainbow Man

By Peter Dawncy. Composer: Owen James. Director and Set Designer: Dann Barber. Costume Designer: Christie Milton. Lighting Designer: Caitlyn Staples. Goodnight Darlings. 45Downstairs, Melbourne. 15 – 26 November 2017

As the curtain rises we find Bibsby (James Cerche), former thespian, in a run-down cemetery tending to the graves, and caring for two beings.  Garm (Cait Spiker) and Derb (Ben Walter) are siblings, literally stuck half way between this world and the grave, and demand attention from the depressed Bibsby, who would rather they just go back to sleep. They argue and rant, and rant and argue. The unsettling presence of a ghostly mother figure (Alex Aldrich) circles the stage and eventually joins the action with a grounding solemnity and an impressive show of puppetry.

James and the Giant Peach

By Richard Geirge, from the book by Roald Dahl. Directed by Christine Ellis. KADS Theatre, Kalamunda, WA. Nov 17 - Dec 3, 2017

James and the Giant Peachwas a late replacement in KADS 2017 Season, but this nicely realised little fantasy performed by a troupe of enthusiastic youngsters was a lovely addition.

This Roald Dahl play with music is loyal to, and conscious of, its source material and is narrated by two very involved narrators, the gentle, and smiling Imogen Bates and the beautifully spoken, highly animated Jana Haering - who also provides ukulele accompaniment.

Leo Rimmer, in the title role, makes a likeable James and is an engaging hero.

Australia Day

By Jonathan Biggins. New Theatre. November 14 – December 16, 2017

In the imaginary town of Coriole, a committee of six has the task of organising the annual Australia Day Celebrations. They are character types one might find among the members of any organisation, country or city - an aspiring politician, a green feminist, a redneck denialist, a token ‘new’ Australian. To put them together on the Australia Day Committee of a small country town provides the basis of comic satire, for which playwright Jonathan Biggins is well known.

There’s Something About Mary(s)

Written by Cassie George and Michael Mandalios. Musical Direction by Luke Volker. Studio 188 Ipswich. November 18, 2017

After seeing some tragically untalented cabaret performers in my life, I admit to approaching There’s Something About Mary(s) with some trepidation. Thankfully, performer Cassie George and musician Luke Volker presented a top-class, rib-tickling and energetic act. It was everything you want from a cabaret show.

Palace of Varieties

Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre. November 16-25, 2017.

What a delight it is to go the theatre and to be thoroughly entertained. If you are a fan of hilarious skits, a sing-a-long, melodrama and the odd dirty ditty, then look no further than ‘The Rep’s’ latest offering, Palace of Varieties.

Director Pam O’Grady knows her genre well and drains every laugh from the attentive and co-operative audience. With so much going on, mistress of ceremonies Penni Hamilton-Smith does a fine job to steer the night’s festivities, her sharp wit and improvisational skills on full display.

Lonely People Are Always Up in the Middle of the Night

Written and directed by Hila Ben Gera. La Mama Explorations. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton VIC. 18 – 20 November 2017

Six talented young actors give us six lonely people in a series of linked two-hander scenes.  It’s more sketch dramedy than a ‘play’, but it holds together in Short Cuts mode.  There is light and shade, changes of pace and even style.  Some of the sketches are funny in a ‘that’s so true’ sort of way, some are sad and awkward, and a couple perhaps outstay their welcome.

Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit

Playwright, director and lyricist – Jean Tong. Composer and sound designer – James Gales. Musical Director and composition support – Will Hannagan. Set and Costume designer – James Lew. Poppyseed Festival. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. Nov 14 – 28, 2017

This great positive lively show played to an almost full house on Saturday.  It is truly worth catching as theatre with a message that doesn’t preach but wholeheartedly entertains. It is youthful, joyful and delivered with a lovely light touch, showcasing some exciting emerging talent.   

Barnabas Kelemen

Brahms Violin Concerto, Dutilleux Metaboles, Ravel Daphnis et Chloe – Suites 1 & 2 The Queensland Symphony Orchestra with The Australian Voices. Conductor: Alondra de la Parra. Concert Hall, QPAC. 17-18 Nov 2017

Queensland Symphony Orchestra have capped off a stellar seventieth birthday year with a stellar concert featuring Hungarian violin virtuoso Barnabas Kelemen. Kelemen, a last minute replacement for the indisposed Maxim Vengerov, proved he was not only a master of his instrument but also of the concert stage, with an electrifying performance of Brahms Violin Concert.

Nocturne

By Adam Rapp. IKAG Productions. Bakehouse Theatre. 15-19 November, 2017

American novelist and playwright Adam Rapp first staged Nocturne in 2001. Local Adelaide actor Tom Gentry has taken on the mammoth task of reproducing this highly emotive work as both the protagonist of the play and the director.

A stark set consisting of a sofa, desk, bookcase, typewriter and a coffee table strewn with books is dimly lit, allowing for a glimpse of piano keys painted upstage on the floor; their relevance soon becomes apparent.

Muriel’s Wedding the Musical

Book by PJ Hogan. Music and Lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall. Based on the Movie with additional songs by ABBA. Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips. Set and costumes by Gabriella Tylesova. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Opening Night: Saturday November 18, 2017.

What an Abbasolutely fabulous night in the theatre, that is as refreshing as a popsicle on a hot summer’s day, with as much heart and warmth as your mother’s baked dinner.  The biggest surprise is that not only are the songs of the famous Swedish quartet seamlessly integrated into the narrative, but that the four band members make frequent return visits as fairy-Godmother like characters.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.