Reviews

[title of show]

Music & Lyrics: Jeff Bowen. Book: Hunter Bell. Oscar Theatre Company Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse. Director: Emily Gilhome. Musical Director: David Law. October 6 – 16.

Oscar Theatre Company, Emily Gilhome’s enterprising young company who have brought Brisbane audiences The Last Five Years, A Slightly Sondheim Wedding, and the 2008 Qld Matilda Winner, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, have turned to another quirky Broadway show with [title of show], as their latest offering. It’s another in a group of small musicals, The Musical of Musicals etc., that takes the mickey out of the musical theatre genre and the joke very quickly wears thin.

Phlegm Fatal

Written, directed, and performed by Amy Bodossian. Open Studio, Northcote. 23rd Sept – 09th Oct.

The media release for Phlegm Fatal playing at Open Studio in Northcote for Melbourne Fringe Festival, said great things. Amy Bodossian is entrancing and wild and an artist of the spoken word. “Like a mortician I can make the dead look pleasant, presentable. I am an artist” The media release gave certain expectations that were completely blown out of the water. For one thing, Bodossian barely mentions death; her show is more about life, and love. ‘Phlegm Fatal’ a blend of original poetry and song, doesn’t get off to a swinging start.

Anyone Can Whistle

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Magnormos & Melbourne Recital Centre Production. Melbourne Recital Centre, 4 October, 2010. Director: Aaron Joyner. Musical Director: Laura Tipoki. Choreographer: Tamara Finch.

Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle has always been a problematical show. Its quirky plot, about an industrial town that fakes a miracle to bring in the tourists, was hardly standard Broadway fare in the 60s. It ran 9 performances, but it did feature a knockout performance by Angela Lansbury, her first in a musical. To celebrate Sondheim’s 80th birthday, Magnormos, as part of their A Sondheim Triptych, presented a concert version of the legendary piece, with Anne Wood in the Lansbury role.

Fool For Love

By Sam Shepard. Belvoir Street, Downstairs. B Sharp. October 1 – 24.

I can’t testify to the bedbugs, but in every minute detail, the cheap, depressing motel room seems perfect, and utterly desolate. In an ideal matching of play to space, the intimate Downstairs theatre makes the grimy no-star motel room setting confrontingly claustrophobic. It’s spot on for Shepard’s down and out American West drama. Absolute consistency of accent, fierce, brutal physicality, and detailed mundanity, down to toenail clipping, all build the credibility of this bleak reality.

Namatjira

By Scott Rankin. Belvoir and Big hART. Co-Directors: Scott Rankin and Wayne Blair. Belvoir Street Theatre (NSW). Sept 29 to Nov 7, 2010. Malthouse, Melbourne - Aug10 - 28, 2011

Namatjira is storytelling theatre at its best, Australian storytelling, which every Australian should hear and see.

It tells the rich, complex, mostly unknown story, joyous at times, sad and tragic at others, of indigenous watercolourist Albert Namatjira, told with the co-operation and support of his Aranda people.

Hairspray

Book by Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Based on the film written and directed by John Waters. Princess Theatre (VIC). Director: David Atkins. Musical Director: Stephen Amos. Choreographer: Jason Coleman. Designer: Eamon D'Arcy. Paul Dainty, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment & Joel Pearlman, Roadshow Live. Opening Night: October 2, 2010. Lyric Theatre, Star Theatre, Sydney - Openng Night, June 23, 2011.

Before the show even began, the audience were met with a stage-width LED screen playing reels of popular TV shows from the era such as I Love Lucy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Lone Ranger, The Beverley Hillbillies, and more. Here we are folks, welcome to the 60s.

We first meet our heroine, Tracy Turnblad (Jaz Flowers), as she is flown in on a vertical bed during the opening bars of “Good Morning Baltimore.” Her entrance was met with excited applause from the audience but what happened next truly has to be seen to be believed.

Don Quixote

Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Music: Leon Minkus. Choreography: Alicia Alonso, Marta Garcia & Maria Elena Llorente. After the original by Marius Petipa and the version by Alexander Gorsky. Opened: Lyric Theatre, QPAC, 24 Sept 2010.

Don Quixote could not have been a more appropriate choice for the Ballet Nacional de Cuba on their latest visit to Australia. The critically-acclaimed production, deeply-rooted in the Hispanic culture, was the ideal work to show off the young company’s prodigious talent. The unmistakable passion and soul on display was spectacular. Particularly outstanding was Premier Dancer Sadaise Arencibia as Kitri. With breathtaking technique, time after time she wowed the audience who responded with thunderous applause.

Status Update

By Peta Brady. Director: Sue Jones. Performed by Peta Brady and Danielle Carter. Sound: Pete Goodwin. Lighting: Bec Etchell. Design: Belinda Wiltshire/Nick Casey. Dramaturg: Catherine Hill. La Mama (Vic) Sept 23 – Oct 10.

LOL – heaps! This is La Mama at its best - supporting, helping to develop, and producing good writing in performance. On an unassuming set with two computers side by side, Status Update opens with a wheelchair bound person engaged at a computer. When the door opens and slams one expects a greeting to be made, as another person enters the space and hurriedly connects to their - ‘on-line life’. The greeting is made through Facebook.

Sugar

State Theatre, Arts Centre (VIC). The Production Company. September 29 – October 3

After multiple film incarnations, Sugar (Some Like it Hot) hit the stage in 1972 with a book by Peter Stone, music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, and direction by Gower Champion. The height of camp, there isn’t much funnier than a case of mistaken identities - especially when it involves men in drag.

Total Football

Written and performed by Ridiculusmus: David Woods and Jon Haynes. Devising contributions from Fiona O’Roake, Paul Goddard, Paul Bongiorno and Renee Palmer. La Mama (Vic). Sept 22 to Oct 10.

David Woods and Jon Haynes are London based actors who have a string of Australian comedy credits to their name, ‘Ridiculusmus’. These include a two-hander of The Importance of Being Earnest staged at Malthouse Theatre in 2006.

Basically this work is two consummate actors portraying a number of stereotypes of English characters with real aplomb and great comic timing. Even though, on the second night of the season they did seem a little under rehearsed, they were still very funny.

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