Reviews

Calendar Girls

By Tim Firth. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showgrounds. February 3 - 25, 2017.

Director Annette van Roden captures the complexity of this play in these words:

On the surface, it’s a comedy about a group of women getting nude for a calendar but it’s much more than that. The play is about community, loss, support, acceptance, camaraderie, tolerance and love’.

The Rambling Feminist

By Shona Anderson. The Butterfly Club. 1 to 5 February 2017.

“Time bends” as Shona Anderson takes you on a journey through her memories scattered across time and space. She explores different attitudes she has encountered towards gender roles, race and religion.

“The show is inspired by and is sort of a theatrical memoir of my travels and in particular a cycle trip I took with my then partner in 2014. We spent several months in the Balkans,” explains Shona.

Todd In Venice

Written & directed by Sofia Chapman. Burning Deck Theatre Company for Midsumma Festival. La Mama, Carlton (VIC). 1 – 5 February 2017.

Thomas Mann’s famous novella is Der Tod in Venedig so Todd In Venice is, I guess, a sort of pun, but don’t expect any further resemblance, connection, reference, critique or deconstruction of Mann’s book – beyond perhaps that the eponymous ‘Todd’ has the surname ‘Ash’, his lover Michael has the surname ‘Bark’ and Mann’s hero is ‘von Aschenbach’.  Sadly, this is about the level of sophistication of the enterprise.  There is also scant resemblance between the playwright Sofia Chapman&rsqu

Odd Socks

The Cutting Room Floor / Fringe World. Directed by Gemma Hall. Flaming Locomotive, STC Engine Room, Northbridge, WA. 31 Jan - 4 Feb, 2017

This ‘Flaming Locomotive’ Fringe World venue is in a rehearsal room, downstairs at the State Theatre Centre. As the audience enter, crossing a corner of the stage, they encounter a young, unassuming man consuming a dinner of meat and vegetables.

As the play begins, we discover that ‘Charles’ is very neatly packing to move out - while learning Spanish. Charles, is a serious, safe accountant, who likes this by the book.

Ladies in Black

Music & Lyrics: Tim Finn. Book: Carolyn Burns based on the novel, The Women in Black by Madeleine St John. Qld Theatre in Association with QPAC. Director: Simon Phillips. Musical Director: David Young. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Playhouse, QPAC, 28 Jan – 19 Feb 2017

A full house welcomed Ladies in Black back to their original home last night with a standing ovation. This successful home-grown musical about female department store assistants in Sydney in the late 1950’s has gained an army of followers after seasons in Sydney and Melbourne.

A Night At the Musicals

Fringe World. De Parel Spiegeltent, Fringe Central, Perth WA. Jan 31 - Feb 6, 2017

British cabaret performer and Olivier Award Recipient, Le Gateau Chocolat, has been a firm favourite at Fringe World for the past four years. This year he is joined by English comedian Jonny Woo, to create a fun-filled, irreverent and very glitzy tribute to Musical Theatre.

A clever pairing, the very different performers work beautifully together to create a show that pulls songs from a wide variety of musicals and delights at every turn. Extravagantly costumed, this cabaret, drag and tribute show includes some unusual audience interaction and outstanding singing.

Ursula Martinez: Free Admission

Written & performed by Ursula Martinez. Directed by Mark Whitelaw. Midsumma Festival. Arts Centre Melbourne, The Fairfax. 31 January – 5 February 2017.

No, you won’t see Ursula Martinez (all of her) and her show for free.  ‘Free Admission’ is another way of saying, ‘I freely admit…’  Ms Martinez freely admits to many things over the course of her one-hour show, during which, incidentally, she builds a wall between herself and the audience.  Not a metaphoric wall (although it is that too), it’s a real wall of Breeze Blocks and cement.  It just keeps on going up until Ms Martinez disappears behind it.  And then this reverse of a ‘fourth wall’ becomes a s

Cabaret

Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb. Book by Joe Masteroff. Produced by David M Hawkins. Directed by Nicholas Christo. Hayes Theatre Co. January 9 to March 5, 2017. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne from May 1.

If Sydney were Berlin in 1929 then Kings Cross would be the place you’d watch a smoky, seedy and raunchy cabaret.  This makes the 100 seat Hayes Theatre the perfect venue to enjoy an intimate look at this musical, much like Sweet Charity which opened the theatre company. Some lucky members of the audience were even squeezed onto a table right next to the beautifully crafted set - sitting alongside members of the cast who were watching the action.

Jurassic Park the Musical

Music: Phillip Malcolm & Ben Kaye-Skinner. Book & Lyrics: Aaron Holmes. Brisbane Arts Theatre. Director: Shaun King. Musical Director: Faron Swingler. Choreographer: Nicola Crawford. Arts Theatre, Brisbane. 29 Jan – 24 Apr, 2017

Lame jokes, cheesy dialogue, and songs with titles like “Dinosaurs”, “Chaos Theory” and “Raptors in the Kitchen” are the milieu of Jurassic Park the Musical. A parody of Stephen Spielberg’s 1993 movie, the show was first staged in a backyard in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2009.

Ash Flanders: Playing To Win

Written by Ash Flanders & Declan Greene; directed by Stephen Nicolazzo; musical direction David Barclay. Midsumma Festival. Arts Centre, The Fairfax (Melbourne). 27 – 29 January 2017.

Ash Flanders (the ‘It Boy’ of cabaret according to Melbourne’s Herald-Sun) is a phenomenon.  He of The Sisters Grimm.  He of ‘transgressive’ theatre and cabaret.  But he gets away with being ‘transgressive’ by being simply, very, unapologetically good at what he does and hugely entertaining.  This show is a revival of his already rave-reviewed outing at last year’s Cabaret Festival.  The raves are completely justified.  He is entertaining by being funny, ‘shocking’, articulate and witty. 

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