Reviews

Flesh-Eating Tiger

By Amy Tofte. Owl and Cat Theatre, Richmond VIC. 21 May to 4 June 2016.

He’s addicted to alcohol; she’s addicted to him.  That’s the tag line of Amy Tofte’s demanding ‘experimental’ text, which deliberately blurs what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘a play’ – i.e. a play within a play – and a play within a play within another play…  If that sounds even potentially confusing, that’s okay: the confusion – or disorientation – is deliberate and in a sense the point of the exercise.

Songs for a New World

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Luke Joslin. Musical direction by Geoffrey Castles. Blue Saint Productions. Chapel off Chapel. June 2nd- 12th, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it is 21 years since Jason Robert Brown first made his mark as a composer of Musical Theatre. Indeed, this song cycle – with it’s abstract structure – really didn’t give us a clue that Parade, The Last Five Years, 13 and The Bridges of Madison County were still ahead of him.

The Winter’s Tale

By William Shakespeare. Presented by Class Act Theatre and directed by Stephen Lee, Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, 1 -11 June, 2016.

This is a play with two worlds that seem at odds; the Kingdoms of Sicilia and Bohemia are vastly different places with strangely intertwined destinies. Sicilia is portrayed as a place of grace and elegance but beneath the smooth and polished veneer lies the seeds of tyranny. King Leontes (Adam May) makes an almost inexplicable descent into madness through his insane jealousy of his friend Polixenes (Paul Robertson), King of Bohemia. This psychological journey is conveyed with intensity and vigour, and May is gripping as a man besieged by his own overactive imagination.

Little Shop of Horrors

Music: Alan Menken. Book & Lyrics: Howard Ashman. Based on the film by Roger Corman and the Screenplay by Charles Griffith. Director: Dean Bryant. Musical Director: Andrew Worboys. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth. Luckiest Productions & Tinderbox Productions. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane. 1 - 12 June 2016

Little Shop of Horrors is on everyone’s favourite list of cult musicals. The 60s spoof of the horror movie genre in which an innocuous plant grows to an enormous size when it’s fed human blood, was Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s first hit musical and one of their best.

Blonde Poison

By Gail Louw. Directed by Jennifer Hagen. The Lawler, Southbank Theatre. June 1st-11th, 2016

A fascinating, if little known, true story; a strong performance from a revered Australian actress, and a subject that must never be allowed to be forgotten, help to counter the weaknesses of Gail Louw’s play, which vacillates between pedestrian and melodramatic without any progressive emotional arc in its repetitious 90 minutes of exposition.

Tribes

By Nina Raine. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). June 1 – July 2, 2016

This is another theatrical ‘scoop’ for the Ensemble. It’s a formidable piece of writing that demands robust direction and dynamic performances. Director Susanna Dowling and her cast have achieved both.

From the first surprising sentence, to the last touching moment, this production is gutsy and passionate, the characters unaffectedly authentic and brutally honest, the direction tight and the pace immaculately controlled.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

By Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, based on the book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. Castle Hill Players. The Pavilion Theatre. June 6 – 25, 2016

Who’d imagine that a play based on talking about clothes would work – and be interesting and funny and even a little sad? But in the capable hands of director Meredith Jacobs and five feisty female performers, it does!

The Literati

By Justin Fleming after Molière’s Les Femmes Savantes. Griffin / Bell Shakespeare Company. SBW Stables Theatre. May 27 – July 16, 2016

Justin Fleming has a knack for this.  For the Australian stage, he’s translated and masterfully adapted Moliere’s Tartuffe and The School for Wives, and here reworks Moliere’s Les Femmes Savantes

Directed by Griffin’s Lee Lewis, it’s a co-production with the Bell Shakespeare Company, with five powering performances delightfully squeezed onto the modest Griffin stage.

The Cat and the Canary

Directed by Paul Treasure. Roleystone Theatre, WA. May 27 - Jun 4, 2015

Roleystone Theatre President and director of The Cat and the Canary Paul Treasure has some unusual passions. These include a love for classic film and film history and an interest in finding rarely performed plays which are in the public domain. With The Cat and the Canary, Paul takes the original play that has spawned multiple film adaptations and brings it to the stage as if it is an early film.

Recess! - The Musical

By Keith Jackson, Gerald Castle and Michael Vigilant. Directed by Jodie Innes. Phoenix Theatre at Memorial Hall, Hamilton Hill, WA. May 20-28, 2015

Recess! is essentially a string of "Teacher, Teacher!" jokes, with a fragment of storyline, turned into a musical. Presumably originally aimed at Middle America, it is an inoffensive, pleasant little comedy, intended to have broad appeal.

Phoenix's young cast consists of high school students from Years 7 to 12, who bring a broad range of experience to this show.

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