Reviews

The River

By Jez Butterworth. Red Stitch. Directed by John Kachoyan. 29th April – 28th May, 2016.

Much like the river itself after dark, Butterworth’s newest play is deep, mysterious and mesmerising. The restlessness of peripatetic flow is explored through those things we see on the surface, often minutiae and deceptive – the movement of the furniture, the gutting of a fish – but submerged at unfathomable depths there is menace, and secrets, and possibly even danger. And, like the river, the playwright only hints at how deep that menace lies.

Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare. Queensland Theatre Company. Directed by Jason Klarwein. Playhouse Theatre at QPAC, Brisbane. 23 April to 15 May, 2016

One of Shakespeare's famous comedies is being given special treatment by QTC's artistic team here in Brisbane, having a modern tropical 5 star resort backdrop and revolving stage to set the scene for all the fun and frivolity of this quaint tale of love and lust, complete with all the numerous repercussions this can have on human relations.

The Nance

By Douglas Carter Beane. Directed by Chris Baldock. Williamstown Little Theatre (Vic). April 21 – May 7, 2016

The world of Burlesque and the thirties is all but dead and buried, and so Beane’s play, The Nance, is as much a historical document as a dramatic work (with a bit of musical thrown in). For people of my age, it brings back memories of our youth (even though we were part of the first re-telling of the history, and not around in the thirties themselves). For the young, it is a quaint history lesson of an era that is rarely covered even on Screen (The Night They Raided Minsky’s) or stage (Gypsy, Little Me).

Bonnie & Clyde The Musical

Music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and book by Ivan Menchell. Shire Music Theatre. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. April 29 – May 8, 2016.

Walking into the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts on Sunday, to see the NSW Premiere of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical, I had no expectation of what I was about to see.

This was very refreshing and exciting, compared to seeing many of the same musicals playing at Amateur Musical Societies at the moment.

Director Jamie Lee Kemp and the company have taken a gamble on a lesser-known show. I was disappointed for the cast and crew to see such a small audience for a Sunday matinee.

Gorgon

By Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 3-7 May, 2016.

Gorgon is a relatively rare example of a one-hour show that manages to cover rich terrain without feeling abbreviated or short changed; writer Elena Carapetis makes every moment count, and director Nescha Jelk - together with an exceptional team of performers and technicians - has presented us with a play that is full of both laughter and poignancy, while managing to make it all feel true to life.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre. April 29 – May 7, 2016.

The quintessential theatre-lover’s play, Noises Off arrives at Beenleigh Theatre Group, directed by Roslyn Johnson and Samuel Gregory. It is loaded with F’s…frantic, frolicking, and farcical. It was touted by many as the most hilarious show ever put onstage. Yet, with an amazing script come large expectations and the need for top talent.

Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Baldock. APRIL 29 - May 14, 2016.

Some may question the validity of another revival of Rose’s classic 1950s play about prejudice and  persistence. Those people really need to see this production, and their question will be answered for all time.

Rose’s claustrophobic drama is set in a jury room, and the problem has largely been, for stage, that the audience is too removed to feel truly connected to what is happening. It’s one of the reasons why the film was more successful; it allowed us to get in close, to see the beads of sweat on a top lip – to see the doubt in a man’s eyes.

The Last Romance

By Joe DiPietro. Toowoomba Repertory Theatre. Direction: Mike Taylor. 29 April – 14 May 2016

Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance is a charming, sweet play about love in your twilight years. Set in New Jersey, Ralph, an 80-year-old widower, whose passion is opera and who at one-time auditioned for the Met, unexpectedly meets Carol, a former executive secretary in a dog park where’s she’s walking her Chihuahua, Peaches.

Disney's Aladdin Jr.

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice. Book adapted & additional lyrics by Jim Luigs. Music adapted and arranged by Brian Louiselle. Based on the screenplay by Ron Clements and John Musker, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. 28-30 April, 2016.

Can a wild and wonderful animated movie musical translate successfully to the stage? You bet it can; in the hands of Adelaide Youth Theatre, Disney’s Aladdin becomes a genuine treat.

Dad's Army

By Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Launceston Players. Directed by Jeff Hockley, co-directed by Mark Horner. Earl Arts Centre, Launceston. 26th April – 7th May 2016

Recreating the popular BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army could be risky business, unless you have a large pool of males to draw on. For Launceston Players director Jeff Hockley, there was a good choice and casting was spot-on. Dad’s Army is a much-loved production, with the crowds enjoying the fun and nostalgia.

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