Reviews

Peter & Alice

By John Logan. Independent Theatre. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. August 21-30, 2014.

With its Australian Premiere of American playwright John Logan’s play Peter & Alice, Adelaide’s Independent Theatre had a lot to live up to following the launch of the play in London last year starring Dame Judi Dench. The company has risen to that challenge. Independent Theatre’s Peter & Alice is sublime; accomplished and absorbing.

Therese Raquin

By Gary Abrahams, from the novel by Emile Zola. Directed by Gary Abrahams Theatreworks. August 14th-30th, 2014

There is so much good theatre in Melbourne, often far superior to the main stage offerings. Therese Raquin is a case in point; a hearty Gothic melodrama, it entertains throughout despite having some inevitable flaws.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam

Concept: Scott Barton. Script: Bryce Hallett. Blake Entertainment & QPAC Production. Director: David Berthold. Musical Director: Chong Lim. QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, 14-15 August 2014 and touring nationally.

Rolling Thunder Vietnam is an explosive, raw and visceral experience - a look at the Vietnam War using a collection of rock ‘n’ roll songs of the era and a narrative culled from personal stories and letters from the front.

Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll

By Ray Lawler. Therry Dramatic Society (SA). Directed by Jude Hines. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. August 21-30, 2014.

Ray Lawler’s Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll is one of those established classics of Australian theatre that has become so iconic, each successive revival runs the risk of coming across as a stuffy museum piece – so much are the plot and characters products of the time in which it was written, and its once confrontingly original dramatic idioms are now very familiar to modern audiences.

The Last 5 Years

By Jason Robert Brown Directed by Craig Griffen, Musical Direction by Kohan van Sambeek. Dolphin Theatre, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA. Aug 15-16, 2014

The Last 5 Years ran for a very short season, of four performances over two nights at The Dolphin Theatre. Presented by the relatively new company, Fresh Bred, this was the most fully presented production of this show that I have seen.'

Finding the Silence

Casus Circus Première. Performance Space, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. 16 – 23 August 2014

Visually spectacular, physically stunning, this new show is destined to amaze overseas media just as its predecessor, KNEE DEEP, did.

Deceptively simple, the continuous sequence of amazing solo feats, duos, trios and foursomes is performed by just four skilled artists:  Emma Serjeant, Jesse Scott, Lachlan McAulay and Vincent van Berkel.

Show Boat

By Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The Production Company. Director: Roger Hodgman. Musical Director: Kellie Dickerson. Choreographer: Dana Jolly. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. August 16 – 24, 2014.

I have never seen an amateur production of Show Boat and The Production Company showed why. It is a massive show and one of the greats of twentieth century music theatre. Opening in 1927 when lightweight operettas were the norm, it was way ahead of its time and was to Jerome Kern what Porgy and Bess was to George Gershwin.

Broadway Spectacular

Queensland Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Patrick Pickett. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 16 August 2014

Conductor Patrick Pickett’s ingratiating and jolly demeanour permeated this whole concert, making it a very folksy and warm program. The orchestra, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary, was in fine form delivering songs from classic Broadway and more recent musicals, helped by the Vocal Manoeuvres choir, the Moreton Bay College Dancers, and two outstanding guest artists, Silvie Paladino and Kane Alexander.

Constellations

By Nick Payne. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Eternity Playhouse. August 13 – September 7, 2014

Darlinghurst Theatre Company's production of Nick Payne's Constellations has been a much anticipated event on the 2014 arts calendar and it is well worth the wait.

This is a story that traverses time and space. It looks deeply at relationships, brain cancer, string theory and bee keeping.

Spring Awakening

Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater, Music by Duncan Sheik, based on the original play by Frank Wedekind. Directed by Sandra Neal, Musical Director Liam Mooney, Choreographer Lynda Tama, Vocal Director Rachel Cairns. Townsville Civic Theatre 13 – 23 August 2014

When the Townsville Choral Society announced that their next musical was to be Spring Awakening, a lot of people, including me, were quite surprised. This modern (2006) rock musical graphically touches on abortion, homosexuality, child sexual abuse and suicide…amongst other themes. It was a courageous decision to stage it.

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