Reviews

Bonnie & Clyde

Book, Ivan Menchell; lyrics, Don Black; music, Frank Wildhorn. Spotlight Theatre, Gold Coast. Co-Directors: Brad Kendrick & Brady Watkins. May 13 – June 4, 2016.

Bonnie and Clyde let loose on the Gold Coast!

Thanks to the 1967 film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the evil deeds of these two American folk heroes revealed the indelible impression on America in the early 1930’s with robbery and murder being their “tools of trade”.

Trailer

By Vanessa Bates. Commissioned and Presented by Tantrum Youth Arts, with the support of Wyong Shire Council and ArtsNSW. Directed by Anna Kerrigan. The Art House Studio, Wyong. 12-14 May, 2016

In 2014 Tantrum Youth Arts were invited on board as 'Artist in Residence' for the now defunct Wyong Shire Council (hello CCSC). Highly regarded playwright Vanessa Bates conducted a series of workshops and candid interviews with Central Coast youth – and in the process became enmeshed in undoubtedly the most typical of Coastie phenomenona – the eternal commute by train between Sydney and Newcastle.

Madama Butterfly

Composer: Giacomo Puccini. Libretto: Luigi Illica & Giuseppi Giacosa . Based on John Luther Long’s short story and the play by David Belasco. Opera Q with Housten Grand Opera, Grand Theatre de Geneve & Lyric Opera Chicago Production, with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Johannes Fritzsch. Director: Michael Grandage. Revival Director: Louisa Muller. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 12-19 May 2016

Opera Q’s first staging in Australia of Michael Grandage’s acclaimed production of Puccini’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly is exquisitely beautiful on many levels. Its production design by Christopher Oram is sparse, delicate and artful, his costumes detailed and stylish, Grandage’s direction is lean and true to the text, whilst the singing by the principals could not have been more assured.

Paper

By Thomas Ian Doyle. Owl & Cat Theatre Company. Owl & Cat, 34 Swan Street, Richmond VIC. 11-14 May 2016.

The show must go on – and if it’s not the show as advertised, here’s another one.

You Can't Have One

By Peter Flanigan. Stirling Players. Directed by Peter Flanigan. Stirling Theatre, Innaloo, WA. April 29 - May 14, 2016

This locally written World Premiere, presented by Stirling Players, and directed by the author Peter Flanigan with Jann Rutherford, is being very well received. Gentle and funny, it deals with love and marriage in its various stages.

Heaven

By Kit Brookman. Directed by Luke Beattie and Alec Council. SLAP Arts Company. The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre 28 April – 1 May 2016. Riverside Plaza Parramatta, 27 May 2016.

Every ghost story needs to redefine the afterlife. In Kit Brookman’s pitch black tragicomedy Heaven, the dead can be reborn as flesh but have little memory of their old life. The play opens on bully schoolboy Stewart (Tim Abdallah) explaining to his friend Max (Vitas Varnas) that their school acquaintance Angela had died. Stewart makes light of it, disparaging Angela as weird and having no friends, but as he speaks it becomes clear that he saw the accident and that he’s hiding trauma under macho bluster.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

By William Shakespeare. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre. 7-21 May, 2016.

Experiencing an unfamiliar play should feel like an adventure; in the case of a comedic play, ideally a fun-filled adventure. For the most part, debut directors Gary George & Angela Short have crafted a successful Shakespearean entertainment out of material that is somewhat challenging.

The rapid-fire delivery of dialogue in the opening scene demands concentration, but also starts the show off on an encouragingly confident high that the first act manages to sustain. Moments of bawdy humour are staged with impressive vigour.

The Boy From Oz

Music & Lyrics: the songs of Peter Allen and others. Book: Nick Enright. The Regals Musical Society. Director: Julian Batchelor. Musical Director: Peter Sampson. Choreographer: Tracey Rasmussen. Rockdale Town Hall. May 06 -14, 2016.

My baby smiled at me and I went to Regals...

This production of The Boy From Oz is as bold, glitzy, and colourful as Peter Allen himself – and even more camp. More importantly, it has heart where it’s needed.

Dogfight

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. Book by Peter Duchan. Directed by Darylin Raymondo. Doorstep Arts. Chapel Off Chapel. May 5 – 15, 2016.

Darylin Raymondo is a fine director, and her reputation was made with her stunning production of Next To Normal in 2014. It wowed audiences at both Geelong and The Hayes in Sydney. It is only natural that expectations would be high for her anticipated production of Dogfight – a 2012 off-Broadway musical based on a 90s film. The cast is mostly excellent, the music is entertaining if not especially memorable, and there is a strong – if predictable – book.

Wicked

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by Winnie Holzman. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. CLOC. Co-Director/Set Designer: Chris White. Co-Director/Choreographer: Lynette White. Musical Director: Danny Forward. National Theatre, St Kilda. May 6 – 21, 2016.

As a musical Wicked is a spectacle.  So how would an amateur company go producing this? In a word, magnificently!

It started as we sat down to observe Chris White’s enormous wooden structures at each side of the stage, with narrow stairs and landings. The curtain featured a map of Oz.

The curtain rose and the chorus appeared, all with odd, unsettling makeup. Movements were strong, choreography was effective and tight and energy was high. The costumes were amazing.

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