Reviews

Madame Butterfly

Australian Ballet. Adelaide Festival Theatre - Mar 18 to 23, 2011.

As the curtain rose on Madame Butterfly a beautiful painted scrim was revealed, delicately coated in petals. The lights come up behind the scrim to reveal Cio-Cio-San in a gorgeous flowing dress as light as a butterfly with four huge fabric wings extending out behind her, waving gently on the air.

Dani Girl

Music: Michael Kooman. Book & Lyrics: Christopher Dimond. Harvest Rain Theatre Company. Director: Carmen Glanville. Music Director: Sophie Mangan. Mina Parade Warehouse, Alderley, Brisbane, 18 March – 2 April, 2011

Priscilla on Broadway

A survey of the Broadway reviews.

The reviews of the Broadway production of Australian hit Priscilla Queen of the Desert are out, and while early reviews were a mixed bag, the balance has swung to positive reviews, while Tony Sheldon’s Broadway debut has been received extremely positively all round -

‘Elegant and dignified, the Australian actor could pass for Cate Blanchett's mother.’ The Hollywood Reporter

These are the Isolate

Mutation Theatre, Theatre Works (Vic). 17 - 27 March

During the excessive ten minutes waiting for Mutation Theatre’s, “These are the Isolate” production to begin, I felt conflicted: how can a play that boasts the Victorian Writer’s Centre Award for Best Emerging Playwright also boast a grammatically incorrect title?

Trelawny of the “Wells” by Arthur Wing Pinero

Newcastle Theatre Company, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton (Newcastle, NSW). March 16 to 26.

THE sparkling theatrical magic in this warm and funny comedy about the interaction between theatre and life confirmed it as the ideal choice for the opening of Newcastle Theatre Company’s new 147-seat venue.

The magic is in two interwoven strands. There is the pleasure of seeing an excellent cast reveal the heartfelt desires and idiosyncratic foibles of a colourful collection of theatre folk and an engrossing behind-the-scenes look at how shows are created.

Howie the Rookie

Written by Mark O'Rowe. Directed by Greg Carroll. Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Vic). March 16 - April 16, 2011.

Given that one-man shows are the ground in theatre where angels fear to tread, writer Mark O'Rowe is especially brave in taking a play with two actors and using only one in each act.

In each act, we meet dozens of characters through the eyes of either the Howie Lee (Paul Ashcroft) or the Rookie Lee (Tim Ross) and get dragged running through the streets of Dublin.

Café Scheherazade by Therese Radic.

A play based on the novel by Arnold Zable. Director: Bagryana Popov. fortyfivedownstairs (Vic). Premiere Season - 8 Mar – 3 Apr, 2011l. Return season Aug 20 to Sep 11.

For almost fifty years Café Scheherazade in Acland Street, St Kilda was the meeting hub for displaced Jewish migrants who had fled the Hitler and Stalin regimes in Europe. Listening to their stories of survival, persecution, tragedy and hope, writer Arnold Zable crafted a novel (2001) which is the basis of a new play by Therese Radic now in the throes of its premiere season.

 

Act 1 – the first 50 years

Music & Lyrics: Various. Savoyards Musical Society (Qld). Director: Brad Rush. Musical Directors: Steven McKay, Geoff Secomb, Mathew Nutley. Iona Performing Arts Centre, March 5-13, 2011

Musical theatre’s well-loved songs were brought gloriously to life in Savoyards 50th anniversary concert.

Performing selections from West Side Story, Guys and Dolls and Cabaret with a healthy dose of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, plus Les Miserables and The Boy From Oz, a cast of 82 past and present members reminded the capacity audience why we all love musical theatre so much.

Visiting Mr Green

By Jeff Baron. Centenary Theatre Group Inc. (Qld). March 5 – 27, 2011.

At times it is difficult to discriminate between professional and community/amateur theatre. This production ─ a Queensland premiere ─ is a case in point.

I couldn’t avoid the parallels with The King’s Speech: both have eminently forgettable titles yet both are tours de force for two male actors ─ strong engaging characters caught up in personal dramas with which we (the audience) empathise instantly. And both prove sterling entertainment because we leave the theatre provoked yet fulfilled.

Partenope

Opera by George Frideric Handel. Libretto by Silvio Stampiglia, Luigi Mancia, Antonio Caldera; English translation by Amanda Holden. Co-produced by Opera Australia and English National Opera. Director, Christopher Alden; Conductor, Christian Curnyn; Set Designer, Andrew Lieberman. Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Until March 31.

This classy co-production, already an Olivier Award winner in London, breathes new life into a dusty Handel opera from 1730. That the composer of Messiah had written such a comic, absurdist romp is a surprise; though even he might have blanched at some of the night’s gender-bending, sex-obsessed goings-on. Handel’s classical setting has been moved to the languorous 1930s surreal world of Salvador Dali and Man Ray.

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