Reviews

Julius Caesar

By William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare Company. Director: Peter Evans. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. October 25 to November 26, 2011.

For four months this trimmed down and modernised adaptation of Julius Caesar has toured regional and metropolitan Australia,  to land at the Sydney Opera House with the cast now as sharp as the daggers  they use for the assassination.

Dressed in business suits, with swift movement across the stage, commentary on microphones, a bare set (save for one Roman column) and powder instead of blood, this production takes a little getting used to.

Often I Find That I Am Naked

By Fiona Sprott. A Critical Stages and Jo&Co Production. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane. 27-29 October, 2011.

Sex sells? You betcha!

This revue on a theme of sexual contacts and interaction in the 21stCentury opened its short Brisbane season last night to a house full of enthusiasts. Judging by the laughs, most recognised the awkward moments and embarrassing situations. They’d been there.

The show is slick, polished, and entertaining with James Dobinson at the piano and keyboards providing music, songs and ‘alcohol’ to accompany the action.

No Way to Treat a Lady

Book, music and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen. Based on the novel by William Goldman. Stephen Colyer, Director; Craig Renshaw, Musical Director; Gavin Swift, Lighting Designer; and David Fleischer, Set & Costume Designer. Darlinghurst Theatre. October 13 – November 13, 2011.

It’s a musical comedy about a serial killer who murders middle-aged women bearing a striking resemblance to his deceased mother – emphasized by the fact that one actress plays the spectre matriach, an ex-Broadway diva from beyond the grave, and all the victims.

Carmen

By Georges Bizet. Melbourne Opera Company. Director: Hugh Halliday. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Oct 22 – Nov 12, 2011.

Though there was much to admire in Melbourne Opera’s production of Carmen I came away feeling a little disappointed. Part of this due to was bad luck. Kerry Gill replacing an ailing Lee Abrahmsen as Micaela  did very well.

Perhaps Jason Wasley as Don Jose didn’t have this option. Obviously struggling, he produced some thrilling top notes when required, but seemed to be saving his voice in the lower register, and because of this, it and his performance lacked passion.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

By Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and Carol Hall. Catchment Players (Vic). Director: Anne Dewar. Choreographer: Di Crough. Musical Director: Nathan Firmin. October 21 – 29, 2011.

Catchment Players’ Spring production, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, is the hit Broadway musical based on the true story of legendary Texan whorehouse, the Chicken Ranch, that operated from the 1840s until 1973, when crusading media do-gooder and his conservative followers ‘exposed’ the Chicken Ranch, forcing its closure.

Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast by By Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Linda Woolverton. Nova Music Theatre. Director: Noel Browne. Musical Director: John Clancy. Choreographer: Jonathon Robinson. The Whitehorse Centre. October 21 – November 6, 2011.

NOVA’s spring presentation was an old favourite in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The stage was attractively set, with great effects particularly in the opening, as the uncouth prince changed into the beast. The lighting was very effective, costuming absolutely magnificent, the orchestra remembered its true function and accompanied the singers, and the sound engineers surpassed themselves with the correct balance.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago

By David Mamet. Accidental Productions, SA. The Bakehouse Theatre. Director: Jesse Butler. Designer: Tammy Boden. October 21 – November 5, 2011

If you come to this play expecting an orgasm of titillation – a non-stop parade of actors humping onstage  – you’ll be disappointed.

What you get is a sophisticated comedy that provides a snapshot of the attitudes of 1970s youth toward sex roles.

Bernie (Hjálmer Svenna) thinks he’s God’s gift to women and he has Danny’s respect for his never-ending and over-the-top sexual exploits. Things change as Danny (Nic Kreig) starts to date the innocent and likeable Deborah (Renee Gentle), prompting Bernie’s jealousy.

The Mikado.

Gilbert and Sullivan Society of South Australia. The Scott Theatre. 20 to 29 October, 2011.

It would be only fair to start by saying that I am not familiar with each and every note and individual instrumentation in The Mikado – so going into a production whose main point of difference is the reorchestration is a difficult task to say the least. I will instead provide commentary on what I saw, without comparing it too much to the ‘original’.

The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane

Director Gavin Quinn. Pan Pan Theatre (Ireland). Melbourne Festival. Malthouse Theatre, Oct 18 to 22, 2011.

The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane by Ireland’s Pan Pan Theatre gets up to a lot of mischief with Shakespeare’s towering tragedy, Hamlet. With a big cast and striking stage design, it promises an assault on the play we all think we know, and doesn’t disappoint.

King Arthur and the Tales of Camelot

Ballet by Francois Klaus. Synopsis Development: Francois Klaus, David Walters, Robyn White. Text: Helen Howard. Musical Director & Arranger: Craig Allister Young. Queensland Ballet @ Playhouse, QPAC, 15 – 29 October, 2011.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.