Reviews

42nd Street

Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Al Dubin. Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble. Presented by Free Rain Theatre. Directed by Chris Baldock. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 26 March – 15 April 2018

It’s 2018, and we can add 42nd Street to the list of things that Harvey Weinstein has sort of ruined for us. Look at Abner Dillon – old, gauche, his only attractive quality his wallet…there’s no question why poor Dorothy Brock is with him, or what she does to maintain his patronage.

Adults Only Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. BK Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Kindred Studios, Yarraville. Mar 29 – 31, 2018.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. An “Adults Only” version of The Pirates of Penzance could potentially be very funny or very embarrassing.

Fortunately it was the former.

Grace

Written & performed by Katie Reddin-Clancy. Directed by Peter Blackburn. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne CBD. 27 March – 1 April 2018

The teaser hook on the poster and the flyer – ‘A comedian’s first time on stage… as a woman’ – might lead you to think Grace is a drag show.  It’s not.  It is, however, about identity and gender while being very funny.  It’s also about role-playing, survival and ghosts.

The Resistable Rise Of Arturo Ui

By Bertolt Brecht, translated by Tom Wright. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre. March 21 – April 28, 2018

Brecht wrote this diatribe about a gangster-turned-political saviour when in exile back in 1941, as the rise of Hitler looked assured.  

He wanted audiences to see the fragility of our democratic institutions, and the urgency for vigilance against the honeyed, fake truths of the next brute to turn demagogue.   He would love this version directed so sharply by the STC’s Kip Williams.

Home Invasion

By Christopher Bryant. Presented by An Assorted Few. Old 505 Theatre. Directed by Alexander Berlage. March 21 – April 7, 2018

Written by award winning playwright and performer Christopher Bryant, Home Invasion was short listed for the Griffin award in 2015. This is its Sydney debut.

We Will Rock You

By Ben Elton and Queen. Directed by Trevor Patient. His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth. March 23 - April 7, 2018

With 144 cast members (by my best count), We Will Rock You, currently playing at His Majesty’s Theatre would have to be one of the biggest shows to hit Perth in recent times.

Big, bold, brassy and loud, We Will Rock You by Queen and Ben Elton is constantly updated to stay relevant to audiences and it remains as fun, vibrant and topical as it was when the show first played in Perth in 2004 - when some of the cast were not yet born.

Drive and Smoke

Written and directed by Clare Talbot and Jordan Holloway. Studio 411, Murdoch University, WA. March 22-24, 2018

Drive and Smoke are two short works presented by Hand in Hand Theatre at Murdoch University.

The first piece, Drive, written and directed by Clare Talbot, tells of a young couple’s car ride and explores love, loss and our inner processing. Lovely integrated performances from Claire Mosel-Crossley and Xarna Rappold, in a simply set, nicely rounded, ten minute show.

In the Heights

Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Blue Saint Productions. Hayes Theatre Co, Potts Point, NSW. Mar 16 – Apr 15, 2018

As I walked out of the theatre, I wanted to tell everyone to see this vital, joyous musical, but unless you’ve already bought your ticket, you’ll have to hope for a return season. All remaining performances sold out ahead of opening night.

As In The Heights raps, hip-hops and salsas its way across the stage, it’s a world away from anything else that has sung and danced around the Hayes stage amongst the eclectic repertoire we’ve enjoyed there.

Annie Jr

Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Martin Charnin. Book by Thomas Meehan. Pelican Productions. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. March 23-25, 2018

Pelican Productions has a reputation for nurturing young talent and there is plenty of it on stage in the company’s latest production, Annie Jr. I was lucky enough to see Cast 1 perform for the afternoon.

The story of ‘Little Orphan Annie’ has become a family favourite and this latest interpretation does nothing to dampen enthusiasm. From the moment one hears those familiar notes of the score you are transported back to the New York City of the 1930s.

Neurosis: 10 Short Plays

Written by Greg Andreas, Kate Fester and Daniel Guyton. Directed by Greg Andreas, Antonio Peluso and Jane Oliffe. Music Written and Performed by Marc Auer. Metro Arts Lumen Room, 8th – 10th March and 22nd – 24th March 2018

As a collection of 10 plays (due to unforseen circumstances, only nine on the night we attended) Neurosis was a dark dramedy that compelled us to think about life’s biggest issues. The plays explored themes of racism, loneliness, death, manipulation, seduction and, of course, neurosis. The scripting was clever, with an above-average vocabulary which only occasionally delved into prolix. Many of the scripts had dark punchlines which appealed to the audience’s sensibilities.

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