Reviews

Manual Cinema – Magic City

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. Adelaide Festival. March 11-13, 2017

Manual Cinema is a team of film-theatre artists from Chicago, USA. This is their first visit to Australia, and they are quite simply marvelous.

Magic City is the first of two shows they are performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre as part of this year’s Adelaide Festival. It is loosely based on the 1910 children’s novel of the same name by Edith Nesbit, the English author, and co-founder of the Fabian Society, who also wrote other children ‘classic’ novels such as Five Children and It (1902) and The Railway Children (1906).

Peter and the Wolf

Narrated by Miriam Margolyes. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide Festival of Arts 2017. Adelaide Festival Theatre. March 11-12, 2017

Miriam Margolyes and orchestral music, or more specifically glorious Adelaide Symphony Orchestra music, is a magical blending that provided a delightful feast for the imagination on the opening night of Peter and the Wolf.

The performance was presented in four sections:

The Cunning Little Vixen Suite - Leos Janacek

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra - Benjamin Britten

Polovtsian Dances, from Prince Igor - Alexander Borodin

Peter and the Wolf - Sergei Prokofiev

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Music by special arrangement with Sony/ATV Publishing. Adapted for stage by Jeremy Sams. Based on the MGM motion picture. Licensed script adapted by Ray Roderick. Novel by Ian Fleming. Musical Director: Daniel Heskett. Co-director: Narelle Bonnici. Co-director: Samantha Heskett. CenterStage Geelong. Geelong Performing Arts Centre. March 10 to 18, 2017.

Like the directors – Narelle Bonnici and Samantha Heskett – I have fond childhood memories of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. All three of us entered the world of Chitty in front of our grandparents’ television.

Even back then, Chitty was dated.

While Ian Fleming’s other creation, James Bond, gets continuously updated, Chitty remains frozen in time. Why? None of today’s cars have enough character to be Chitty.

Faith Healer

By Brian Friel. Directed by Judy Davis. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 4 March – 8 April 2017

Director and actors, all of extraordinary caliber, offer audiences a perfectly stripped back yet marvelously nuanced Belvoir Street production of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer at The Sumner Theatre.

Considered to be Irish writer Friel’s masterpiece, it is made up of four rich and complex monologues that are hinged on that ‘slippery fish’ memory. 

Evocation of Butoh

Program 2 - Before the Dawn. Yumiko Yoshioka. Asia TOPA / La Mama. Artistic Director – Yumi Umiumare. Lighting Design - Bronwyn Pringle. March 9 – 12, 2017.

This is the most marvelous opportunity to be entranced by world-renowned Butoh practitioner Yumiko Yoshioka, who brings her own unique form of Butoh. Butoh was first created in 1959 in Japan and has been a unique form of physical expression that is grounded in the grotesque and does not err from the abject and dark and taboo subjects.

The Sleeping Beauty

By Ottorino Respighi. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Phoebe Briggs. Director: Nancy Black. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. March 11 – 18, 2017

So Ottorino Respighi wrote an opera? Who knew! Obviously the powers that be at Victorian Opera did, and what a delight it was.

As the work was originally written for a marionettist, VO employed puppeteers to create the various characters with singers in street clothes singing beside them. Sometimes they would mirror each others’ movements. With so many animals featured, this worked very well.

 

MDLSX

Motus. With Silvia Calderoni. Directors: Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolo. Adelaide Festival. AC Arts Main Theatre. 10-13 March, 2017.

Lights. Music. Cameras. Dancing. Philosophy. Nudity. Karaoke – and a touch of autobiography…?

When Dad Married Fury

By David Williamson. Woy Woy Little Theatre. Directed by Terry Collins. Peninsula Theatre, Woy Woy. March 10-26, 2017

It's always refreshing to see contemporary Australian plays being produced in community theatre – and while David Williamson's work is reliably witty, satirical and thought provoking – this piece is possibly one of his darker efforts.

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante. Beaumaris Theatre (Vic). March 3 – 18, 2017

A Chorus Line is a musical predominately about dancers auditioning for a role in a professional show that they don’t know anything about.  They are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the audition process, still wondering if they will ever be cast for this mysterious show.

The musical encompasses a large cast of triple threat performers, which is always difficult to find.  A Chorus Line is one of those shows where this is essential for a successful performance season.

Calvin Berger

By Barry Wyner. Directed by Tyler Eldridge and Madeleine Shaw. Roleystone Theatre, WA. 10 – 25 March, 2017

Calvin Berger, by Barry Wyner, makes its Western Australian premiere at Roleystone Theatre, with first-time directors Tyler Eldridge and Madeleine Shaw steering a very impressive production.

Loosely based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac, it takes the original story, sets it in a high school and makes the most of teen insecurity, angst and first love. It features four extremely capable teenaged performers who work beautifully together. 

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