Reviews

Fela! The Concert

Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, based on music and lyrics Fela Kuti. USA. Adelaide Festival. Adelaide Festival Theatre. March 12-14, 2015

Enduring and Defiant Human Spirit Enshrined in Afrobeat

Audiences are left buzzing and perhaps a little exhausted by the effervescence and frenetic energy of Fela! The Concert. Its message about the capacity of one man to inspire the Nigerian people to resist injustice and corruption shines through, embodied in the late Fela Anikulapo- Kuti’s passionate and defiant lyrics, his music and the wonderfully evocative dance.

riverrun

The Voice of the River in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Adapted, directed and performed by Olwen Fouéré. Sydney Theatre Company presents TheEmergencyRoom and Galway International Arts Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited. Wharf 2 Theatre. March 10 – April 11, 2015.

Olwen Fouere, a slight figure in grey, stands on an stage empty but for a cable that snakes like the river Liffey itself to a lone microphone. White powder differentiates the river from the bank. Taking off her shoes, Fouere wades into it, and, reaching the centre of the stage and the microphone, she calls, hauntingly, the Sanskrit words that herald the twilight of dawn: Sandhyas! Sandhyas! Sandhyas!

Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast

Presented by Fatlady Productions. Adelaide Fringe. Published Arthouse, 11 Cannon St, Adelaide/ March 12-14, 2015

Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast is a classy tribute to the songs of sultry jazz legend, Julie London. All of her most iconic hit songs (“Cry Me A River”, “Blue Moon” et al) are included in the set, alongside more idiosyncratic, personal numbers (“Everything Happens To Me” and “Daddy”) beloved to London’s longterm fanbase.

Beauty and the Beast

Adelaide Festival. ONEOFUS/Improbable (UK). Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre. March 10 – 15, 2015.

Everybody loves a fairy tale. Fictional characters facing life’s woes, lessons learnt, good versus evil, with the promise of a happy ending. Husband and wife team Mat Fraser and Julia Atlas Muz found comparisons with the popular fable Beauty and the Beast, an unlikely love story that, despite all odds, flourishes. Inviting the audience to share in their journey was a privilege. We were witness to their vulnerability, passion and wit.

The Cemetery Club

By Ivan Menchell. Wyong Drama Group. Directed by Ron Baker. The Grove, Wyong, NSW. 12 – 21 March 2015

Made into a 1993 film featuring Olympia Dukakis and Ellyn Burstyn, this very funny play tells the story of three Jewish widows who meet for tea before going to visit their husband's graves once a month.

The plot poses the eternal question of 'how long is long enough to grieve - before moving on with your life?' – but not everyone's motivations are the same. Doris, Ida and Lucille are three very different, larger-than-life roles – each oozing with pathos, presenting a delightfully juicy challenge for any actress 'of a certain age'.

Black Diggers

By Tom Wright. Adelaide Festival. Queensland Theatre Company. Her Majesty’s Theatre. March 10-14, 2015.

Story of Sacrifice and Injustice Impacts Adelaide Festival Audiences.

Little Women

From the novel by Louisa May Alcott, adapted by Scott Davison. Director: Fiona Kennedy. Villanova Players. Mt Gravatt TAFE College, Brisbane. 5-22 March 2015

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has been a right-of-passage read for adolescent girls since it was first published 147 years ago. It could arguably be called the first ‘girl empowerment’ story. The adventures both amorous and otherwise of the four New England March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their patient and understanding mother Marmee during America’s Civil War era have not only delighted and warmed readers in print, but also in movie, television and musical adaptations.

My Mother and Other Catastrophes

Rivka Hartman. A Live Play Reading. Pop Up Theatre. 7 & 14, 2015 March at Gleebooks, Glebe and 8 & 15 March, 2015 at Sydney Jewish Museum, Darlinghurst.

Playing in Sydney for three more performances, then moving to Melbourne for a performance as part of the Jewish Film Festival – Holocaust Series, this play is a “darkly comic story of four generations of Jewish women, the matriarch of whom – Gitl Silverstein – is 116 years old, a survivor and dominating scold, undiminished by suffering and hopelessly dysfunctional progeny.

Young & Jackson

By Don Reid. Directed by Wayne Harrison. At fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 5-22 March 2015.

It’s early 1945 and the war’s not over yet.  Two Royal Australian Navy lads, Keith and Jimmy, only seventeen, are in training.

The Gigalees Crazy Circus Show

Adelaide Fringe. Garden of Unearthly Delights. March 7 – 15, 2015

Gwendolen Trimboli and Tiffany Mulcahy make up comedy/circus duo ‘The Gigalees’. Fun, energetic and full of oddball humour, their alter egos Wilma and Daisy aim to please with their mix of slapstick, music and juggling. They successfully involve the young audience in their craziness with dancing, singing and balloon macramé. The young folk are encouraged to sit close to the stage as Wilma and Daisy fall over themselves literally to entertain.

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