Reviews

The 91-Storey Treehouse: Live on Stage!

By Richard Tulloch (adapted from the book by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton). Directed by Liesel Badorrek. Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse. 4-19 January, 2020.

As part of the Families Summer/Autumn program Arts Centre Melbourne presents a CDP Kids Production of this delightful instalment of the Treehouse adventures. Griffiths & Denton beautifully capture the innocence and candour that childhood offers. This production provides a colourful and faithful reproduction of the adventures in the book. Those familiar with the story will immediately recognise all the favourite places and people that populate the Treehouse stories. 

She’s Layered

By Mia Romero. Red Lip Woman Productions. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. January 3 and 4, 2020

She’s Layered is a fresh and bubbly exploration of female sexuality. Also sharp and witty, it is performed and written by Mia Romero of Red Lip Woman Productions, who has travelled all the way from San Francisco to the Butterfly Club to present her new cabaret show. 

La Bohème

By Puccini. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 2 – 30, 2020.

Puccini set La Bohème in the sybaritic Latin Quarter of Paris in 1830. Opera Australia’s 2018 production on Sydney Harbour saw it set in Paris in 1968 where civil unrest plagued the city. In this production, Gale Edwards sets it in 1930s Berlin in the final decadent days of the Weimar Republic where, “free of censorship, liberalism was extensive”.

Wherever it is set, La Bohème is a classic love story where the passion of first love is darkened by jealousy, mistrust and poverty.

Billy Elliot the Musical

Music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall. Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. December 29, 2019 to January 26, 2020

The 10th anniversary tour of Billy Elliot the Musical is in Adelaide and what a production it is!  Just finished in Sydney, with a Melbourne season to follow, put aside some pennies to catch this show as you will not be disappointed.

The Choir of Man

Presented by Andrew Kay and Nic Doodson. Directed by Nic Doodson. Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse. 28 December - 12 January, 2019/2020.

This is a fun-filled show that operates on some deep-seated nostalgia for an era in which the pub was a safe and welcoming place where people could gather and feel at home. This utopian atmosphere is beautifully captured through the vibrant and powerful singing voices of this choir of men. The music, song and dance encourages a recasting of the pub as a place for these down-to-earth British blokes to enjoy their drink but also a place in which they should learn to be more communicative and not bury their emotions.

Chicago

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. John Frost, Suzanne Jones in association with Barry and Fran Weissler. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Dec 14, 2019 – Feb 23, 2020

Chicago the Musical, offering more razzle-dazzle sensationalism than any Broadway show, ever, has finally hit Melbourne for Summertime. Expect a non-stop razzle dazzle of shimmering, sordid sassiness.

Cirque Stratosphere

The Works Entertainment. Concert Hall, Sydney House from December 24 to 29, 2019 then January 14 to 19, 2020 and Hamer Hall, Melbourne from January 3 - 11, 2020.

Circus is no longer just Circus! Technology has contemporised it, taken it out of travelling caravans and raised audiences’ expectations beyond the thrill of the daring performances to want more than the old “greatest show on earth”! They still want the thrills, but they want lights, sound – and even story – as well the action!

Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare. Sport for Jove. Bella Vista Farm, December 21 – 30, 2019; Leura Everglades, Jan 11 – 26, 2020; Old Government House, Parramatta Park, February 2 – March 1, 2020.

On cue, the birds started shrieking at 8pm just as the drama commenced, adding to the challenge of hearing the actors but also adding to the excitement of the opening. The outdoor setting in front of Bella Vista Farm – equipped with a balcony on a two storey building, a separate adjoining farmhouse with steep stairs, a courtyard and a softly descending garden is a delicious stage for this classic.

Songs for Nobodies

Book by Joanna Murray-Smith. Songs by various. Directed by Simon Phillips. Duet Productions. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio, 18 December 2019 – 5 January 2020 and Sydney Opera House, 23 January – 9 February, 2020

Five ‘nobodies’ – a New York ‘powder room’ attendant, an usher, a rookie journalist, a woman telling her father’s wartime story, and a waitress on Onassis’ yacht – each of them has an unforgettable encounter with a famous 20th century singer – Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billy Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas.

The Spirit of Christmas

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Simon Kellaway. Lucy Maunder, Blake Bowden, Spirit of Christmas Choir, Brisbane Biralee Voices, Judit Molnar, Maddison Coleman and Zac Parkes. Host: Sofie Formica. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 20-21 December 2019.

QPAC’s Spirit of Christmas concerts began in 1984 and now 35 years later they’re still going. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them, with the Concert Hall all decked out in decorations, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, massed choirs and guest artists, it’s the best festive concert of the season.

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