Reviews

Slava's Snowshow

Presented by Ross Mollison and David J Foster. Directed by Viktor Kramer; Designed by Viktor Plotnikov and Slava Polunin; with Jef Johnson, Derek Scott, Nikolai Terentiev, Yury Musatov, Gigi Vega Morales and Aeilta Vest; Sound by Roma Dubinnikov; Lighting by Sofia Kostyleva; Stage Technicians: Francesco Bifano, Dmitry Sereda and Vitaly Galich. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Until August 30, then touring

Sometimes in the theatre, albeit all too rarely, magic can happen. Sometimes, when each and every theatrical element combines, the result is a perfect, fleeting moment of pure theatrical ecstasy. We recognise it instinctively – compelled to make sense of such welcome, but unusual, wonder. But never in my theatre-going experience, has magic happened as purely and simply (or as often) as it does within every riveting moment of Slava's Snowshow.

And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon by Mark Kilmurry

Ensemble Theatre, Sydney

Mark Kilmurry has gone for an out of the ordinary approach to creating new work with his latest play, And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon.

With this play Kilmurry has used the British auteur Mike Leigh approach to theatre making. This involves the writer/director working closely with the actors on developing the script whilst still maintaining his authorial stamp on the work.

The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson

State Theatre, The Arts Centre, Melbourne (Vic). Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: David Piper. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth.

I had not seen a live performance of The Boy Friend and looked forward to this production. This was a bit different as it was set as a play within a play, the centre stage being the performing area with the dressing rooms on either side. Although you could see the actors moving in and out of dressing rooms while the main action was on stage, I didn’t find this distracting.

Saturn’s Return by Tommy Murphy

Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1. Until Aug 30.

After being a successful part of last year’s Wharf 2Loud program, the Sydney Theatre Company has promoted Tommy Murphy’s Saturn’s Return to its mainstage 2009 season, and is now playing a season at Wharf 1.

Aida by Giuseppe Verdi and Antonio Ghislanzoni

Opera Australia. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Opera companies across Australia have pooled resources to stage a new production of Aida with fresh choreography from Graeme Murphy. It premiered in Perth last year and Sydney was its second outing.

Barrie Kosky’s Poppea

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Sydney audiences currently have the opportunity to see Barrie Kosky’s Vienna’s Schauspielhaus production of Poppea which is playing a three week season at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Cross by Stephanie Briarwood

Mudlark Theatre. Peacock Theatre, Hobart (Tas). Director: Carrie McLean.

Cross is an intriguing piece of theatre. Ostensibly, it is about two sisters, photographer Regina (Jane Johnson) and her kooky younger sister Erica (Emma Hardy), a puppeteer, on an epic trek. “Hot white lines and scorching rivalry: two sisters on the road-trip of a lifetime.” The journey they undertake across the vast Australian countryside, so Regina, a talented photographer can take pictures of an array of roadside shrines for an art exhibition is the “tool” for the exploration.

Life’s a Circus.

Presented by Magnormos Prompt! Musicals Program, Artistic Director/Producer: Aaron Joyner. Composer/Lyricist/Musical Director: Anthony Costanzo, Book by Peter Fitzpatrick, With Chelsea Plumley, Glen Hogstrom, Cameron MacDonald, Shannon McGurgan, Annabel Carberry, Vaughan Curtis, Stephen Williams. Directed by Kris Stewart, Choreography by Kate Priddle, Set Design by Christina Logan-Bell, Lighting Design by Lucy Birkinshaw, Sound Design by Lo Ricco Sound Studios. Theatre Works, St Kilda. Until August 15.

The alluring, hypnotic and contradictory world of ‘Circus’ has been excavated many times throughout the Music Theatre canon: Barnum, Carnival! … and the great grand-daddy of them all, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel – spring to mind. Cinema, too, has mined the artform’s layers of emotional, death-defying performance excess to (mostly) memorable effect.

A Bright & Crimson Flower. Written & Directed by: Richard Davey

Round Earth Company. Peacock Theatre and Theatre Royal, Hobart, then touring.

A Bright & Crimson Flower presented by Round Earth Company, written & directed by Richard Davey, is based on extensive research begun by Davey in the 1980’s. It is about the Australian POW experience in Singapore, Burma and at Changi: a play about courage, ingenuity, endurance and that often overused word “mate ship”. The stage representation of the POW’s is based around characters (some composites, some real) that formed the concert party. Music is a big part of the play, featuring songs selected by survivors.

DIRTY APPLE by Jonathan Henderson & Shaun Charles

Opera Queensland/Backbone Youth Arts production. Opened 18 July , 2009 @ Powerhouse, Brisbane. Conductor: Dane Lam. Director: Michael Fucher.

Dirty Apple is a riveting piece of music theatre. Developed by young people, for young people, it’s a bold and gritty take on technology, peer pressure, and cyber-bullying. It’s almost like watching reality TV on stage. Four high school students, pissed at their music teacher for failing them, create a false webpage calling him a pedophile. When he commits suicide the blame game tears the tight group of friends apart. All four principals were terrific, especially Millica Ilic as Emma, the girl whose conscience finally gets the better of her.

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