Reviews

Away

By Michael Gow. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Stuart Lumsden. June 8th – 29th, 2019

This production of Michael Gow’s play is also Stuart’s thesis project for his Master of Applied Theatre Studies.

The interesting story line features three internally conflicted families: one with a dominating, opinionated mother, hen-pecked father and daughter who wants to be a normal teenager; the second, British immigrants devoted to each other with a teenage son who has a terminal illness and the third, a dysfunctional couple dealing with the death of their son in Vietnam.

Ute Lemper – Rendezvous with Marlene

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide. 8 June 2019

Ute Lemper was just 24, dubbed la nouvelle Marlene by the Parisian press; the original Marlene was 87, living out her last years in the French capital. Ute wrote her a letter and expecting nothing back, was surprised and suspicious when told Marlene had replied. Later that night, the old and the new talked on the telephone for three hours, the original Marlene sharing her love of poetry, of music and movies, of her lost homeland and stories of her lovers, both men and women.

Mutating Roots

Created by Mayu Muto and Celia White. Presented by Gush in partnership with Vulcana Women’s Circus. Brisbane Powerhouse Stores. 8 – 9 June 2019.

When you look at a modern, young woman, what do you see? What are your preconceptions? What added biases do you hold when the young woman is a Japanese Australian?

The Swell Mob

Flabbergast Theatre. Artspace. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. 8-22 June 2019

My expectations of this piece of immersive theatre were high, as its reputation for being a ‘masterpiece’ and the promise of ‘transporting’ me preceded its showing. It is sold as a clever mix of physical theatre, puppetry, clowning and character acting.

The Swell Mob is the brainchild of Flabbergast Theatre which first emerged at the Edinburgh Fringe. It is directed by Henry Maynard, who himself is part of the acting troupe.

Soulful Journeys

Spititus – Skipworth; Nocturnes – Debussy; Concerto in B minor for Cello & Orch, Op.104 – Dvorak. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Blendulf: Conductor. Pablo Ferrandez: Cello. Canticum Chamber Choir: Chorus. Concert Hall, QPAC. 8 June 2019

A cold and rainy night didn’t deter concertgoers from attending QSO’s Soulful Journeys and the chance to hear acclaimed 28-year-old Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrandez performing Dvorak’s supreme Concerto in B minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op.104. It was the second time the esteemed Ferrandez has appeared with the QSO. He played his Australian debut with them in 2017.

Annie

Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Martin Charnin. Book: Thomas Meehan. Queensland Musical Theatre. Director: Deian Ping. Musical Director: Trenton Dunstan. Choreographer: Julianne Burke. Schonell Theatre, St Lucia,5-9 June 2019

Kids, a dog, and toe-tapping songs. What more can you ask of a musical? Annie ticks all the right boxes and this production did it proud.

The chorus of kids were great, Jade Kelly as Annie had the voice of a pro and belted her songs to the rafters, and you couldn’t wish for a kinder and more solidly appealing Daddy Warbucks as played by Nathaniel Currie. They were the heart and soul of the show.

The Hot Sardines.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent. 7-8 Jun, 2019.

The prospect of a jazz band being able to make old sounds seem new again is enough to raise audience expectations very high – perhaps unfairly so. New York’s Hot Sardines do put on a more-than-solid show, powered by undeniable instrumental skill and laced with their own unique brand of quirks (include a tap-dancer and a washboard performance) – but this reviewer was ultimately left with the sense of a group that remained relatively contained and conservative.

Dragon Lady

Written and Performed by Fiona Choi. Adelaide Cabaret Festival – World Premiere. Space Theatre – Adelaide Festival Centre. June 7 & 8, 2019

Born in the year of the Dragon, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American woman to star in the movies. Poured into a black satin dress with a spectacular, sparkly and fiery dragon wrapping itself over her left shoulder, Fiona Choi introduced us to this remarkable woman, through story telling, song and a well-chosen silent movie-style backdrop.

Magpie

By Elise Greig. Directed by Ian Lawson. Presented by Metro Arts, PlayLab and E.G. in association with Brisbane Powerhouse. Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm (Qld). May 29-June 8, 2019

Women are supposed to be brave and strong but when Mordecai’s father dies, she returns to the Australian home of her Romani family to face a gypsy curse that has all but broken her.

There is the review she cannot shake, the luckpenny she cannot refuse, the splinter she cannot remove, and the family she cannot make peace with.

Australian storyteller Elise Greig draws on her own Romani family history in this four-handed drama that is itself brave and strong, drawing characters that are in turn proud and stubborn, fallible, broken and pure of heart.

Dolly Diamond: Parton Me

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Blue Room: Adelaide Festival Centre. June 7-9, 2019

Dolly Diamond, Queen of Cabaret, akathe alter-ego of her ‘manager’, performer Michael Dalton, LGBTIQA+ community icon, star of Rocky Horror Show, backup singer for Julian Clary and star of her own stage version of the game show Blankety Blanks is no carbon copy of country legend, Dolly Parton. But she is the star of a unique and personal 60 minute story, weaving Dolly Parton and Diamond into an uplifting, no holds barred, old style glittering cabaret show; the first of the Adelaide Cabaret season.

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