Reviews

Bad Girls the Musical

By Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts. Devonport Entertainment Centre. Devonport Choral Society (Tas). May 18 -June 2, 2012.

Bad Girls the Musical is not bad at all, but great and thoroughly entertaining.

In the wake of Urinetown, Devonport Choral Society, and Director Sid Sidebottom, has delivered us another musical that many of us may not have heard of before. One should not let that hold them back.

Bad Girls is based on the U.K. hit cult-television drama series of the same name, set in a fictional women’s prison.

THE BEST (AND WORST) OF QUEENIE VAN DE ZANDT

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane, 18 May 2012

Queenie Van De Zandt’s new cabaret show The Best (and Worst) of Queenie Van De Zandt was a salute to her 20-years survival in musical theatre. It was a funny walk down her memory lane which an enthusiastic audience embraced wholeheartedly.

Perve

By Stacey Gregg. Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 5-26 May, 2012.

This is a coup for CTG ─ the world amateur première of Perve, which opened at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in May 2011.

A highly charged piece, it is a cautionary tale for every young adult – or, in fact, for anyone with a computer. It captures our modern lifestyle, in particular our obsession with sex and more specifically the hysteria surrounding any whiff of paedophilia.

The Miser

By Molière. Growl Theatre (Qld). Windsor State School Auditorium, Brisbane, 18, 19, 25 & 26 May, 2012

This was an ambitious undertaking for Growl Theatre’s second production but a wise one. I can’t recall another local performance of the French satirist’s work in the past decade.

With one set and borrowed lights the cast of ten entertained us royally. The company is blessed with an inspired costumier, Anne Grant. Her period creations added a stamp of professionalism.

Strange Interlude

By Simon Stone ‘after Eugene O’Neill’. Belvoir Theatre, Sydney. Director: Simon Stone. 9 May – 17 June, 2012.

One of dramatic history’s most famous yet least produced plays, Eugene O’Neill’s 1928 Pulitzer Prize winning Strange Interlude, nearly gets a rare showing at the Belvoir. The bones of the modernistic milestone are there, but the original post-Great-War characters can only be perceived through a filter of laptops, smartphones and obscenity-laden Aussie language. For this is Simon Stone’s Strange Encounter, not O’Neill’s.

An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical.

Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen. Music and Lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner. Based on the movie written by Douglas Day Stewart. Director: Simon Phillips. Lyric Theatre, The Star. World Premiere: May 18, 2012.

It opens with the sound of a jet fighter screaming overhead. We were strapped in for a night of musical theatre quite unlike any other. If the production was an aircraft carrier I’d say the first act was steady as she goes  – but the second act roared into action, pressing all the right entertainment buttons.

The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later

By Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Red Stitch Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne (Vic). Fairfax Studio. Director: Gary Abrahams. Set Designer: Peter Mumford. Costume Designer: Yunuen Perez. 16 – 26 May, 2012.

Nine actors take on 60 characters in an expertely-paced and intensely compact theatrical experience lasting just over 100 minutes, without interval, in The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later.

The Heretic

By Richard Bean. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Matt Scholten. Sumner Theatre, MTC. May 12 – June 23, 2012.

When Doctor Diane Cassell (Noni Hazlehurst) publicly questions fellow academics’ data on climate change she loses her job, and even her life is threatened. Scepticism is a threat to political correctness. Add to that her department head who loves her, an anorexic and disturbed daughter, and a gormless but brilliant super-green student who wants to kill himself rather than pollute the world, and you have the recipe for a highly palatable night’s entertainment.

Teach Me to Cry

Written and directed by Mohammed Hashem. Owl and the Pussycat, Richmond, Melbourne. May 8 – 19, 2012.

Sweet Charity

By Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon. The Regals Musical Society. St George Auditorium, Kogarah. May 15 – 19, 2012.

Downsizing was the only real option, but what an excellent choice it has proven for Sweet Charity.

The renovation saga of the asbestos plagued Rockdale Town Hall drags on, with another show planned, cast and designed for the venue, needing to be re-thought for a small stage with miniscule backstage facilities.

Pared back to a stylish single setting, using minimal carry-on props, incorporating effective use of projections, director Ste Casimiro and The Regals Musical Society have come up with a pacy, high-energy production.

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