Reviews

Ghost: The Musical

Music & Lyrics by Dave Stewart & Glen Ballard. Book & Additional Lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin. Based upon the screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin. Directed by Matthew Warchus Festival Centre, Adelaide, January 9-31, 2016, then touring to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

When I told friends and acquaintances that my next assignment for Stage Whispers was covering the Australian Premiere of Ghost: The Musical, the typical reactions I received were guffaws of disbelief from those who regard the movie as a schmaltzy relic of a bygone era and indignant cries of “BUT HOW???” from the film’s diehard fans. This reaction is kind of understandable.

Carnival of the Animals

Circa and QPAC’s Out of the Box Festival. Playhouse, QPAC. Jan 9 – 13, 2016.

An enchanting circus performance inspired by Camille Saint-Saens renowned composition, this 50 minute production of Carnival of the Animals is the perfect break for the family these summer holidays.

Cirque Adrenaline

Produced by QPAC in association with Tim Lawson and Simon Painter. Concert Hall, QPAC. January 7 – 17, 2015

With over 30 elite athletes and performers, Cirque Adrenaline brings together a combination of intense acrobatics and death-defying stunts in a performance that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Disco Pigs

By Enda Walsh. Throwing Shade Productions. Fusebox Studio at the Factory Theatre. January 7 – 9, 2016

Enda Walsh and Throwing Shade Productions deserve a far bigger audience than the six of us who graced the opening night performance of Disco Pigs. A succinct but harsh little play, it requires a tight, energetic, ‘kick arse’ performance that leaves the audience – and the actors – decidedly fazed, and Andrew Langcake’s production does just that.

It’s fast, hard-hitting, decidedly disturbing – and a tribute to actors Courtney Powell and Jeff Hampson who take on the roles of two unlikely (and not very likeable) characters.

Woyzeck

Created by Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan and Robert Wilson. Thalia Theatre, Hamburg. Sydney Festival. Carriageworks. January 7 – 12, 2016.

The Sydney Festival has opened its 40th year - and the last by its Flemish artistic director Lieven Bertels - with an appropriately, surreal, circus-sized music theatre telling of a great German classic.

Based on the landmark early social drama by the young Georg Buchner in 1836, Hamburg’s Thalia Theatre has re-conceived the acclaimed version created by director Robert Wilson and composers Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan in 2000. 

The Object Lesson

Created and performed by Geoff Sobelle. Sydney Festival / Perth International Arts Festival. Sydney Town Hall. Jan 7 – 22, 2016, then Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Feb 11 - 14, 2016

Boxes – and the objects in them – are the remains of life. And for the esoteric American performance artist Geoff Sobelle, this means they’re ripe for exploration.

You’re invited into his space – in this case, stacks of cardboard boxes installed into Sydney Town Hall – with the suggestion you open some of the boxes, rifle through them and see what you learn.

Jasper Jones

Adapted by Kate Mulvany from the book by Craig Silvey. Belvoir. January 2 – February 7, 2016.

Belvoir is off to a flying start for 2016 with Jasper Jones. Kate Mulvany has proved yet again she can do no wrong with her playful, poignant adaptation of Craig Silvey’s book.

When a parochial country Australian township becomes paralysed by fear following the disappearance of teen Laura, the racist, abusive underbelly of the town is exposed. Jasper Jones and sidekick Charlie’s determination to do good and solve the mystery of Laura’s mistreatment see them unearthing truths that turn dreams to nightmares. 

Oklahoma!

By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Emma Knights Productions. Four Oaks Farm, Littlehampton (SA). 7th-10th January, 2016

A massive success when it debuted on Broadway in 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical Oklahoma!, based on Lynn Riggs play Green Grow the Lilacs, has stood the test of time, clocking up many revivals.

Fiddler on The Roof

Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Book by Joseph Stein. Directed by Roger Hodgman. Princess Theatre Melbourne, January 5, 2015 until end of Feb, 2016, the Capitol Theatre, Sydney from March 24, 2016.

When Tevye and the villagers open the show with a rousing rendition of “Tradition” at The Princess Theatre, they are singing, not just about history, but about the production itself. There’s nothing wrong with this new Fiddler, but there’s nothing new, exciting or innovative either. It’s traditional. If you like your theatre with a little bit of edge (and certainly the story lends itself to drama and edge) then you will be disappointed; ‘on the other hand’ if you’ve never seen Fiddler live before, you will probably love it.

Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa

Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. Jan 4-30, 2016

Although I have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa before, this incarnation is perhaps even more magical, a gorgeous production aimed at kids, presented and received with joy.

Miss Lily is an exuberant and friendly crocodile, who runs a tropical holiday house. Among the guests are cricket-loving koalas and footy playing wombats, but most in need of Miss Lily's company is 'The Last Poteroo' who is lonely and feeling lost.

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