Reviews

The Love for Three Oranges

By Prokofiev, performed in English in a translation by Tom Stoppard. . Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. June 23 – July 8, 2016

This strange combination of commedia dell’arte and opera lends itself to all sorts of imaginative design and action, and this production, first performed in 2005, has all the hallmarks of twenty-first century technical creativity. It is bright and whimsical, with all the zaniness and pace of true comic farce depicted in music that pops and bubbles like a bottle of fizz.

Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark

By The Listies. Wharf 1 Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney. Sydney Theatre Company. June 16 – July 17, 2016.

What Fun!

The Listies – Richard Higgins, Matt Kelly and Olga Miller – have created a spoof that mixes comedy and slapstick using the essential characters and story of the famous tragedy. Even if the young people in the audience don’t know the story of Hamlet, it’s explained … sort of … and there’s a very succinct summary in the program if they have a chance to read it beforehand.

TwentySixteen

Circus Oz (Vic). Artistic Director: Rob Tannion. Lighting Designer: Paul Jackson. Musical Director: Ania Reynolds. The Big Top on Birrarung Marr. 15 June-10 July, 2016

Circus Oz aficionados of all generations were out in force on opening night at Birrarung Marr, so much so that the pre and post-show gatherings resembled a family reunion.

As the show proceeded, we were swung in some kind of moody stupor, slightly unhinged, winging between vignettes of every colour and mood. Spellbinding grace rides a unicycle, undresses while standing on another’s head, and balances innumerable small red balls. Brassy spectacles are in-your-face on all things that bend or swing or stack, and slap-sticky satire brings us back to earth with a chortle.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

By Tennessee Williams. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Directed by Barry Hill. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. June 23-July 2, 2016

It hard to know sometimes, if one should laugh or cry when attending The Adelaide Rep’s latest production – an unnervingly intense look at a dysfunctional family coming apart at the seams as, gathered together for the birthday celebration of their elderly patriarch, years of pent up resentment and bitterness come to the boil in a succession of vicious, but sometimes witty arguments.

Back at the Dojo

By Lally Katz. Belvoir, Sydney, and Stuck Pigs Screaming, Melbourne. Directed by Chris Kohn. Belvoir St Theatre. 22 June – July 17, 2016.

Lally Katz, author of Neighbourhood Watch, was born in America and came to Australia as a teenager. This semi-autobiographical work about her grandparents, told in drug-induced flashbacks, gets somewhat lost in an Australian hospital room, last resting place of Grandma Lois.

Mary Poppins

Book - Julian Fellows, Music and Lyrics – Richard M. & Robert B. Sherman, additional Music and Lyrics by George Stiles & Anthony Drew. Arts Centre, Gold Coast. Director: Timothy Hill. July 17 – 25, 2016.

Like a breath of fresh air, Mary Poppins flew into the Gold Coast captivating the full houses, delighting young and old alike.

This Pro/Am production was bright and colourful. The creative team of Timothy Hill, Director, David Piper, Musical Director and Troy Phillips, Choreographer, had delivered a slick, energetic production.

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Book Music and Lyrics Clark Gesner. Aleksandar Vass and Vass Productions (Vic). Director: Gary Abrahams. Set Designer: Jacob Battista. Alex Theatre, St Kilda (Vic). June 21 – July 2, 2016

In the wake of the Peanuts movie, and just in time for the school holidays, comes a family friendly musical that first appeared on Broadway in 1971, and enjoyed a revival in 1999.

Performances by all six cast members are earnestly delivered, and strongly sung, from the glass-half-empty Charlie Brown (Cameron Macdonald), the queen of crabbiness Lucy (Courtney Glass), blanket-carrying philosopher Linus (Adam Porter), and Beethoven tragic, Schroeder (Josh Robson).

Gazillion Bubble Show

Out of the Box Festival. Concert Hall, QPAC. 23-27 June 2016

Bubbles are magical and this show takes it to the extreme filling the theatre with thousands of them. It’s spectacular, dazzling and as an introduction to theatre for kids it’s the perfect show.

Starman – Sven Ratzke

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. 22-25th June, 2016

German-Dutch cabaret performer Sven Ratzke has created a unique individualised persona in his tribute to David Bowie. Starman is Ratzke’s homage to the late star and it is filled with his interpretation of familiar Bowie songs. Long-time collaborator Charly Zastrau is along for the ride on piano and offers up extraordinary arrangements.

Trilogy

Originally conceived by Nic Green in collaboration with Laura Bradshaw. Now written and performed by Nic Green, Laura Bradshaw, Murray Wason, Bron Batten, Candy Bowers and local Melbourne women. Arts House, North Melbourne. 21 – 26 June 2016.

Eleven years ago, Nic Green was working in UK schools with 12-year-olds.  A majority of girls, imagining their future, said their dream was to be ‘a footballer’s wife’.  At the same time, as she says in her program note, Nic Green was making a performance piece with other young girls - girls as young as eight, ‘lost in a fog of self-deprecating negativity…[concerned] about their own bodies and the self-doubt they lived with daily…’

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