Reviews

WICKED

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz. Book: Winnie Holzman based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Direction: Lisa Leguillo based on the original staging by Joe Mantello. Musical Direction: David Young. Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, John Frost production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Opening Night: 15 February 2015.

Wicked is phenomenal! A blockbuster of such dizzying magnitude in terms of audience adoration that it defies critical analysis. With box-office receipts of over $1 million per week since it opened on Broadway ten years ago, this musical version of what happened in the Land of Oz before Dorothy and Toto came along, is indestructible.

Blood Brothers

By Willy Russell. Enda Markey in association with Hayes Theatre Co. Director: Andrew Pole. Musical Director: Michael Tyack. Designer: Anna Gardiner. Hayes Theatre Co. Feb 6 – Mar 8, 2015.

Blending Greek Tragedy with musical theatre, Blood Brothers’ powerful drama lays open the class divide and devastation of working class poverty in Thatcher’s Britain; not the classic tragedy of mythological Greek royalty, but that of a contemporary underclass.

Blak Cabaret

Malthouse Theatre and SummerSalt. Concept and Creative Production – Jason Tamiru. Text - Nakkiah Lui. 10 – 22 February 2015

Between the two rusting and one old brick facade of the Malthouse Courtyard, place an elevated stage and an exceptional sound system.  Then, as balmy evening is about to fall, add some of Indigenous Australia’s most glorious, honey and velvet voiced, musicians playing and singing their own songs - and this beautifully blended recipe will just ‘take you away’.   

No Privacy

Moore Books SA. Adelaide Fringe Festival. Holden Street Theatres. Directed and written by Tony Moore. 14-28 February, 2015.

This is the type of enterprise that sums up what the spirit of the Fringe Festival should be all about. It begins with a premise of noble intent, then develops into an acutely insightful and beautifully empathic examination of a life fallen from grace, fallen between the cracks. It is also quietly engrossing, and as satisfying as any light entertainment that you might otherwise be seeking out at the Fringe.

Cut

By Duncan Graham. Adelaide Fringe. Holden Street Theatres. Feb 10 – Mar 14, 2015.

Nothing is more intimate than being seated inches from an actor’s performing space. Nine seats either side of what appears to be a runway, audience members appear uncomfortable, but as we soon discover, that is the point. Plunged into darkness for what seems an eternity, I am acutely aware of my breathing; an uneasiness envelops me, a feeling that lasts the duration of the performance.

Suddenly Last Summer

By Tennessee Williams. Sydney Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Feb 9 – Mar 21, 2015.

Fifteen years after The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams wrote yet again in 1958 about his family nightmares: his lobotomised sister, his controlling, repressed mother and his own struggles as a homosexual poet.

Menagerie was given on outstanding production by Belvoir last year; now Kip Williams masterfully directs Suddenly Last Summer for the Sydney Theatre Company, in what is, compared to Tennessee’s other works, a rare revival. 

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Directed by Robert Andrews. Tea Tree Players Theatre. February 4-21, 2015

The Tea Tree Players present an impressively spirited and technically inventive take on Michael Frayn’s much beloved meta comedy, which chronicles a dysfunctional theatre troupe’s accident prone attempts to stage a second rate bedroom farce .

Once Were Leaders

Performed and written by Max Gillies. Sydney Opera House, February 9 – 14; Arts Centre Melbourne, March 13 - 28; with Brisbane and Darwin seasons to follow.

How perishable is political satire? That is the question which looms large when a master comedian revives sketches that date back more than 50 years.

The amusement depends on your age, perspective and interest in politics. For me seeing Max Gillies impersonate Sir Robert Menzies was fascinating but having not been around to see him as PM meant it sailed over my head.

How The Other Half Loves

By Alan Ayckbourn. Tugun Theatre Co. Tugun Village Community Centre, Golf Coast. Director: Annie Lotocki. February 12th – 28th, 2015

Set in two London apartments simultaneously, this farce looks at the way some people cover up extramarital affairs at the expense of innocent third parties and Annie Lotokie’s production was grand and middle-class at the same time, as was the interesting set. The elegance of Frank (Chris Hawkins) and Fiona (Viviane Gian) Foster’s lavish decor as opposed to Bob (Adam Skelton) and Teresa (Peta Simeon) Phillips’ meagrely furnished abode was visually great and workable.

Sweet Charity

Book by Neil Simon. Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Hayes Theatre Co.. Directed by Dean Bryant. The Playhouse, Canberra. 11–21 February, 2015

What an imaginative, skilled production Dean Bryant has devised of this work from which come “Hey, Big Spender” and several other musical hits; and what able talent has pitched in to make it the thoroughly delightful experience it is.  

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