Reviews

The Elixir of Love

By Donizett. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. August 11 – 30, 2014.

Though first performed in Melbourne in 2001, director Simon Phillips’ idea to set Gaetano Donizetti’s popular opera comica in rural Australia circa 1915 still works charmingly. His very Australian surtitles lend added chuckles, as does his satirical take on the ‘elixir’ that is central to the theme.

The Seagull

By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Hilary Bell. Directed by Kate Cherry. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth WA. 9-31 Aug 2014

Theatre students are taught that the original opening night of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, in 1896, was an absolute disaster. In contrast, Black Swan State Theatre Company's production of this play, using a new adaptation by Hilary Bell, was well received and will no doubt receive much critical acclaim. This is a well produced, expertly acted incarnation of a good new adaptation of the script.

Accomplice

By Rupert Holmes. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. August 15 – September 6, 2014.

Think you know a little bit about murder mysteries? Think again. Rupert Holmes’ intricate, funny and biting thriller will make you doubt what’s in front of your very eyes, realise that what you see isn’t quite what you get and what you get isn’t what you expected at all”.

The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me

By David Drake. Directed by Kynan Francis. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. August 12 – 17, 2014

The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me follows the life of a young gay man in New York City from the early 1980s - his initial awakening to his sexuality, his coming out and introduction to the NYC gay scene, the onset of HIV/AIDS into this milieu and its denizens’ response to the crisis.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Book by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters. Music and Lyrics by Neil Sedaka. Supa North. Director/Musical Director: Paul Belsham. Ballina RSL Club. August 8th – 16th, 2014

This is a tribute show to the music and lyrics of Neil Sedaka featuring some of his many chart topping hits: Where the Boys Are, Sweet Sixteen, Calendar Girl and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

The story is shallow and the dialogue corny but the saving grace is the unmistakable music which brings memories flooding back of growing up in the sixties.

Elegies: A Song Cycle

By William Finn, directed by Stephen Wheat. Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Melbourne. August 11, 2014.

Multi Tony award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle was brought stylishly to life last night at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club by five skillful and committed performers. It seemed for all the world as if we were in an intimate Manhattan cabaret room, so deeply did the cast draw us into an intricate world of love, remembrance and loss, recounting stories from the lives of various characters whose fates were at times intertwined.

Mutts

By Johnny Grim. Arena Arts. Directed by Jane Sherwood. LC Theatre, Belmont WA. 8-23 Aug 2014

The world premiere of Mutts, subtitled A Tail of Life Behind Bars, reveals a warm-hearted new play by Johnny Grim that tells of dogs in a home for strays.

Arena Arts second production in their new home at The Latvian Centre, also supports Desperate For Love Pound Rescue (DFL) with some lovely real dogs who are looking for homes making guest appearances in the foyer.

Cowra No Hancho Kaigi (Honchos Meeting in Cowra)

Written and directed by Yoji Sakate. Presented by Rinkogun Theatre. The Street Theatre, Canberra, 6-7 August 2014. Australian Premiere.

The little NSW town of Cowra's major claim to fame is that it was the scene of the largest prisoner of war breakout ever in history. 1104 Japanese POWs set their huts on fire and stormed three rows of razor wire fences, protecting themselves with blankets, baseball mitts and clothing. 234 died, and the remainder were rounded up over several days. This production of Honchos Meeting in Cowra is to commemorate the 70thanniversary.

Downtown!

Created by Phillip George, David Lowenstein, Peter Charles Morris. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directors: Cilla Scott and Kim Reynolds. August 8th – 30th, 2014

This “feel good” production was a hit from the very first note to the last curtain call.

Full of the hits of the sixties, Downtown is a tribute to all the stars of that groovy, mod music and the cool singers like Lulu, Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield that gave us hit after hit.

Secret Bridesmaids’ Business

By Elizabeth Coleman. Blackwood Players. Blackwood Memorial Hall. Fridays and Saturdays August 8-23, 2014.

When they choose ‘tried and true’ material Blackwood Players have the capacity to stage very watchable shows and they are on a winner with Elizabeth Coleman’s bittersweet Australian comedy, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.

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