Reviews

The Pirates of Penzance in Concert

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Directed by Michael Nunn. Presented by Lynch & Patterson. Princess Theatre, 21 - 22 February, 2020

This operatic morality tale has been entertaining audiences since 1879. While a lot has changed since the Victorian era, this musical masterpiece still delights modern crowds with its lovable characters, wit and wordplay. Stage Whispers was treated to front-row seats for the latest incarnation of the Pirate King and his swashbuckling comrades. Popular singer Nathan Kneen was charming in the coveted role, without resorting to the egotistical, hammy focus-pulling some other performers have brought to the part.

H.M.S. Pinafore.

By Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. Hayes Theatre Company. Directed by Kate Gaul. The Q, Queanbeyan. February 25–29. 2020

Peppered with Gilbert and Sullivan’s characteristically clever, rapidly enunciated songs, H.M.S. Pinafore is a musical with which G&S pursued a serious social purpose in the guise of comedy: to display the self-serving vacuity of the British class system as it existed at the time.

 

Blithe Spirit

By Noël Coward. Ipswich Little Theatre. Director: Kate Mallory. Incinerator Theatre, Ipswich. 27 Feb – 14 Mar 2020

In 2004 Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said Noël Coward had written three ‘comic masterpieces’ Hay Fever, Private Lives and Blithe Spirit. The latter was created in 1941, ran five years in the West End, and was the longest-running play in London until overtaken by The Mousetrap. It was Coward taking a swipe at the fashionable pastime of Ouija boards, séances and mediums, and it still hasn’t lost its currency today.

Unsung Hero: Les Darcy – The Musical

By Chris John & Jim Paterson. Adelaide Fringe. Bamboozled Productions. The Pocket @ Stirling Fringe – Coventry Library Lawns, Stirling. February 23, 2020

Les Darcy (1895-1917) was once upon a time a revered Australian icon; now, sadly, he is largely forgotten, hence the title of Unsung Hero for this truly delightful musical version of the life of Les Darcy. On a bare stage in the small Pocket tent, three performers – Chris John, Jim Paterson, and a wonderful female singer known simply as Alex, narrate the story of Les Darcy’s brief and tragic life interspersed with new original songs and music with a distinctive Irish flair.

That's Life! Songs of The Rat Pack

Adelaide Fringe. The Ballroom at Ayers House Events. Feb 28 – 29, 2020

Jack Raft is a young crooner going places. At only 17, and looking the part, singing and presenting the songs of the legendary Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin, he has the style, confidence and presence of a man who has tasted life and experienced love and disappointment.

The Wild Side

Jonny Woo. Adelaide Fringe. The Attic. Feb 28 – Mar 15, 2020.

Mickey Ruskin, owner and proprietor of Max’s Kansas City Bar, New York is quoted as saying “My places have always been my living room and every night I throw a party. But at Max’s it went from being just an ordinary little salon and turned into magic!”. 

Lizzie’s A Darlin’

By Siobhán Wright. Irish Theatre Players. Directed by Siobhán Wright and Siobhán O’Gara. Townshend Theatre, 61 Townshend Rd, Subiaco WA. Feb 20-29, 2020

Lizzie’s A Darlin’ and so is is this delightful little World Premiere production by Irish Theatre Players, coming to the end of its run in the newly named Townshend Theatre, in the Irish Club in Subiaco.

A feel good comedy with a heap of Irish charm, and some clever touches, this is a wonderful nostalgia trip that flows well, keeping the audience engaged and laughing throughout.

The Lighthouse

Adelaide Festival 2020. Patch Theatre. Queen’s Theatre. Feb 25 – Mar 7, 2020

The best way to review a children’s event is to take a child with you, so I did and I watched how my granddaughter and the other children reacted and responded to the new interactive offering from Patch Theatre.

Set in the atmospheric Queen’s Theatre, The Lighthouse provided plenty of sensory experiences connected to light with an interesting soundtrack that was probably more appreciated by the adults than the children. I particularly liked the cello section.

Mother

By Daniel Keene. Directed by Matt Scholten. HOTA - 27th-29th Feb, 2020 and QPAC – 4th-14th March.

Noni Hazlehurst is a magnificent actress and she gives a bravura performance as Christie, a homeless alcoholic bag woman who lives a pointless existence day to day, lost in memories of one part of her life that ended tragically. It is flawless acting and the success of the 75-minute work rests solely on Hazlehurst’s performance. You can almost smell her, and you can certainly see the ingrained dirt on her feet and hands. Her physical performance is as strong as her interpretation of the text.

The Doctor

By Robert Icke. Almeida Theatre. Adelaide Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. February 27 - March 8, 2020

Is there any middle ground between Science and Religion? Can medicine play God?

The Doctor is a clever reimagining of Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi. Starring Juliet Stevenson, this is an astonishingly thought-provoking piece of theatre- masterfully written, beautifully directed and superbly performed.

Schnitzler’s play, first performed in 1912, deals with Viennese antisemitism towards a Jewish doctor held to task for refusing a Catholic priest permission to administer the last rites to a dying patient.

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