Reviews

Lady Windermere’s Fan

By Oscar Wilde. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Allan Jeffrey. 28 March – 12 April, 2014

One hundred and twenty two years on, is Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan still relevant?

Yes, if you see the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society most recent production, under the direction of Allan Jeffrey. As a fine example of the Comedy of Manners genre, a witty, ironic form of drama that satirizes the manners and fashions of a particular social class or set, LWF shows that there are still hypocrisies in society. Gossiping is bullying, and we still have that.

Tres Miserables

Seemingly Evil Productions. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Downstairs Lounge@The Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure, 195 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Nightly at 9pm Mar 27 – April 5, 2014

Tres Miserables; 50 songs, 30 characters, 3 performers and 60 minutes. It’s every Les Mis fan’s dream isn’t it? This is by no means the first time that a long and ambitious work, musical or otherwise, has had the edited comedic treatment; from Forbidden Broadway to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare it’s a tried and tested formula. What makes it work is strength of the writing and the performers themselves. So, does Tres Mis carry on the tradition admirably? It does.

12 Angry Men

Based on the movie by Reginald Rose, adapted by Sherman Sergel. Ballina Players. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director: Jackie Reidy. March 28th to April 12th, 2014

Jackie Reidy has a hit on her hands with her production of 12 Angry Men.

12 men sitting around a room arguing may not be everyone’s idea of a good night’s entertainment but this show had the audience involved right from the start.

Games of Love and Chance

Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University. March 29, 2014.

Victorian Opera opened their 2014 season with a concert at Monash University. Apart from being an undoubted triumph, it highlighted the gulf between the former VSO and VO. While the VSO concentrated on spectacular performances of the major operatic works, which eventually killed it, VO performs less popular works, therefore not competing with Opera Australia.

The Removalists

By David Williamson. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Director: Patrick Monteath. March 29th to April 19th, 2014

First time Director has had a difficult time of getting his production of The Removalists to the stage; with numerous unavoidable cast changes resulting in him taking on the major role of Constable Neville Ross as well as controlling the action and pace of the show. And he proved to everyone he was equal to both tasks.

Pete the Sheep

Adapted from Jackie French’s book, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, by Eva De Cesare, Tim McGarry and Sandra Eldridge. Composer / Lyricist Phillip Scott. Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Darling Quarter Theatre. March 29 – April 24, 2014, then touring.

How important it is that companies such as Monkey Baa continue to make great theatre for kids! And this, their newest production, is another creative feather in their theatrical cap – a musical adaptation of 2014-15 Australian Children’s Laureate Jackie French’s delightful book about accepting difference and change.

Next to Normal

Music by Tom Kitt, Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Josh McCann-Thomson. 28th March to 12th April, 2014

Next to Normal leads us through the life of a middle-aged mother with a bipolar condition that is controlled by the spirit of her young son who died 16 years ago.

Josh McCann-Thomson has staged this piece with sensitivity and the cast delivered his vision with a professional edge.

The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me

By David Drake. Oxford Hotel, Darlinghurst. March 26 – April 6, 2014.

This two-man play returns for an encore season, reprogrammed at much more civilised times after a season of late nights during the Mardi Gras festival.

They’re Playing Our Song

By Neil Simon. Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. HIT Productions. Directed by Terence O’Connell. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 28 March – 5 April 2014.

They’re Playing Our Song represents (though how accurately it’s hard to say) the real-life working and personal relationship between the musical’s real-life composer and lyricist, fictionalised as Vernon and Sonia respectively.  It’s a tale that is character-based rather than plot-driven, and as such depends very much for its entertainment value on physical cues to the relationship’s effect on both protagonists.

Thawed

Xavier Michelides. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Trades Hall. 27 Mar – 20 April, 2014

Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future (Wikipedia). Xavier Michelides’ performance in Thawed raises some interesting questions about how the process of resuscitation will occur and what will be the affects on the newly thawed.

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