Reviews

Steampowered

Circus Oz. Under the Big Top at Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. Artistic Director: Mike Finch. Season Dates in Melbourne - 22 June – 17 July, 2011. For tour dates in Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Launceston and Hobart visit www.circusoz.com

Just in time for the Victorian school holidays comes Steampowered, featuring large doses of mirth, slapstick, comedic genius, astonishing physical feats, and quirky irreverence. Five minutes into the show, my shiny-eyed nine-year-old companion declared, My hands are going to be so sore from clapping. Playing on ambiguities in time, Steampowered asks how today would look, had it somehow come earlier than it did.

The White Guard

By Mikhail Bulgakov, in a new version by Andrew Upton. Sydney Theatre Company. Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay. June 7 – July 10.

There is something quite joyous about watching an ensemble cast work well together on stage, flexing their acting muscle all at the same time, all singing the same song from the same hymn sheet so to speak. The White Guard has such a cast and not one of them sang a bum note or were off the beat.


Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Harvest Rain @ Playhouse, QPAC Director: Tim O’Connor. Musical Director: Maitlohn Drew. June 17 – 26.

Harvest Rain’s acclaimed production is back again at the Playhouse four months after its originally scheduled return season due to the Queensland floods and it’s better than ever.

Luke Kennedy, who’s now played Jesus in four different productions of the work, the most recent for GSSA in Adelaide, is a true star. With thrilling top notes and an impassioned dramatic performance he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the company.

Faust by Gounod

Melbourne Opera. Director: Hugh Halliday. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. June 18 – 26. Alexander Theatre. July 1.

During the late nineteenth century Faust was the most popular opera in the world. Alas no more, and it is 25 years since the last performance in Melbourne. So Melbourne Opera’s production was eagerly awaited, and did not disappoint.

It was dominated by the Mephistopheles of Steven Gallop. His big voice and personality were just right for this role, though he was also able to scale his voice back to balance the other singers in the act 3 quartet although he was a little too exuberant in the duet with Faust in act 1.

Pippin

By Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz. Mordialloc Light Opera Company (MLOC) (Vic) Director & Choreography: Lyn Laister. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Assistant Choreographer: Leah Osburn. June 17-June 25, 2011

In an explosion of glitter and facepaint MLOC’s Pippinopened last Friday night with panache. An enthusiastic opening night crowd were in for great fun as the cast, led by Drue Goodwin as Pippin and John Davidson as the Leading Player, took them on the journey through Pippin’s life with more dancing, colour, glitter and sequins than would be required for Mardi Gras.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011

Reviews from Paul Rodda, Nicole Russo and Kate Peters

Chita Rivera

Dunstan Playhouse. June 17

In her first Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Broadway icon Chita Rivera played to a capacity house at the Dunstan Playhouse - a delightful and intimate venue that let the audience get very close to this extraordinary star. 

Caroline Nin’s Hymn to Piaf

Act 8 of Twelve Acts of Cabaret. Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane. June 17, 2011.

Like the Pied Piper, this seductive QPAC cabaret season is attracting more people as it runs.

The focus this time was Paris-born cabaret artiste Caroline Nin.

Nin’s gig covers the highlights and lowlights of Piaf’s short life and career, and the songs we remember her by today (Piaf herself died in 1963.) As a bonus, Caroline Nin also includes several of Piaf’s lesser known songs of which Piaf penned hundreds.

Dumped! The Musical

Writer: Emma Powell. Theatre Tours Australia (SA). Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. Director: Terence O’Connell. Musical Supervisor: Steve Paix. Choreographer: Alana Scanlan. 16 June - 25 June, 2011.

Dumped! The Musical gives a two-hour song-and-dance peek at the question men wish they knew the answer to: what do women think when they get dumped?

Emma Powell has created the world of Dumpees Anonymous, facilitated by Harmony (Jennifer Vuletic), who parodies the New Age mumbo-jumbo self-help guru that women of a certain age seem to find appealing.

34th Noosa One-Act Play Festival

Star Crossed by Jenny Bullimore, Nothing by Mark Langham and The Knock at the Door by Bruce Olive. Noosa Arts Theatre (Qld). June 9 – 18, 2011

Hats off to the Noosa Theatre & the Festival Organising Committee. Over the last few years they have implemented a series of innovations and workshops. The dividends from these were self-evident. All three finalists had the feeling that they had been workshopped as opposed to the performance being the workshop. As a further old grey whistle test, the plays and their subject matter dominated the conversation of the intervals. 

Little Women

By Allan Knee, Mindi Dickstein and Jason Howland. Miranda Musical Society. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts (NSW). June 10 to 19, 2011.

An attractive period setting, beautifully furnished and dressed, establishes a sense that something special is in store as soon as you enter the small suburban hall.

Miranda Musical Society’s production well and truly lives up to that initial impression.

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