Reviews

Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Old Scotch Collegian Association. Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Ben Hudson.

The Old Scotch Collegians Association chose Jesus Christ Superstar for their second production; quite a change from Les Miserables. This was given a modern setting with Gestapo police and abstract sets which were very effective.

Gerard Schneider played the lead character of Jesus with great dignity, but his operatic tenor didn’t always know how to handle the rock music. Rock singer Jamie Pearce as Judas was much more comfortable in this medium and was vocally thrilling.

Toy Symphony by Michael Gow

QTC. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. Director: Geordie Brookman.

Good drama should stimulate the mind, which this does, and touch the heart, which this doesn’t. Michael Gow’s new play Toy Symphony is a cerebral piece, clever, at times funny, and wildly imaginative. But it does not connect with an audience. Roland Henning is gay. He’s a successful writer, a former cocaine addict who’s kicked the habit, and he’s going through a writer’s block. On the insistence of a friend, he reluctantly begins psychoanalysis.

The Christian Brothers by Ron Blair

Tap Gallery, Darlinghurst (NSW).

Gipsy Tap is currently presenting a revival of Ron Blair's classic 1975 one man play The Christian Brothers at the intimate Tap Gallery theatre, in a production directed by Richard Cotter.

In classic dramatic style Blair's play, set in the 1950's, features a central character at a point of crisis. The audience watches as a man of faith, an ageing secondary school teacher, the Christian Brother of the title, cruelly goes to pieces during the breadth of a school day.

Cabaret by Joe Masteroff, John Kander and Fred Ebb

New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). Director: Louise Fischer. November 19 to December 19, 2009

Memories of the Oscar winning movie, and of Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, flood the memory at the mention of Cabaret.

New Theatre is currently presenting the stage musical which inspired the movie masterpiece. It’s a very different piece – a much more conventional musical, with lots of the more conventional character songs, cut from the screen version.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

MLOC Productions Inc. Director: Judy Sullivan. Musical Director: Geoff Earle. Assistant Musical Director: Jack Earle. Choreographer: Merilyn Young.

MLOC Productions excelled themselves with the Victorian Premiere with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, based on the film with Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney, with some small changes to suit the stage. The sets, fairly basic, changed easily and efficiently to give the correct feel to the various scenes. The orchestra, at the rear of the stage, did not compete with the singers - ie one could actually hear the voices.

Proof by David Auburn

Wollongong Workshop Theatre. 13th to 28th November. Director: Luke Berman

Workshop Theatre has produced a very accomplished and satisfying late Spring production of David Auburn's modern American classic, Proof. The intimate Workshop production helped clarify the show's themes - a scientific savant narrative with a gender twist, layering a more general and endearing theme of generational redemption.

The Breath of Life by David Hare

Cairns Little Theatre. Director: John Hughes.

The Breath of Life by David Hare was Cairns Little Theatre’s last production for 2009. The production proved to be a thought provoking play for actors and audience alike.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

The laughs started before the curtain opened. A voice-over announcer told us that Katarina Bychkova and Marina Plezegetovstageskaya were in … alas Ms Notgoodenov was out.

An onslaught of cheesey dance routines followed … as Swan Lake was plucked and dissected. How one of the men, who looked like he was almost seven feet tall, managed to balance en pointe made the mind boggle.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Queensland Theatre Company. Playhouse QPAC, 26.10.09 – 14.11.09

This great American classic can be compelling, sometimes even confronting, theatre, especially when performed in modern dress. Director Michael Gow cast it masterfully with nineteen superb actors to bring off the triumph of QTC’s 40th anniversary year. It deserves the full houses it is attracting. Gow and designer Robert Kemp made an inspired decision to bring the action downstage to draw the audience into the frontier ethos of a town bounded by a forest and fundamentalist views.

Happy Days by Samuel Beckett.

Company B / Malthouse. Belvoir Street Theatre.

Yes, this is the play which features a middle aged woman who is half buried in a large mound of earth. It’s one of those iconic images, much like Edward Munch’s The Scream is to the visual arts. Now is your chance to see the play which this image comes from. Belvoir Street is currently presenting Malthouse Melbourne’s production of Samuel Beckett’s classic play in its upstairs theatre.

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