Reviews

Big: The Musical

Music by David Shire. Lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr.. Book by John Weidman. Based upon the film written by Anne Spielberg & Gary Ross. Directed by David Gauci. The Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth (SA). October 9-24, 2015

Those theatregoers who prefer their musicals to be old-fashioned and shamelessly fun, but are weary at the prospect of seeing some overexposed classic revived again, would do well to check out The Northern Light Theatre Company’s staging of Big, an Adelaide premiere production.

Exposing Edith

Melbourne Fringe. The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood. Sep 29 – Oct 4, 2015

The term ’cabaret’ means room in French. In performance, cabaret loosely means singing, storytelling and/or performance art that need an audience (usually audience participation) to see it through.  Although cabaret is constantly changing and overlapping in form, there are few rules, but two are very clear; 1) it needs an audience/audience participation or the show will fail. 2) It should be transgressive: provoke and challenge our ideas of performance/art/politics/or the subject matter.

The Boy From Oz

Book by Nick Enright. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Chris Bradke. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Louisa Mitchell. The Whitehorse Centre. October 9 – 17, 2015

Babirra’s production of The Boy From Oz was a triumph. Of course the show lives and dies on the ability of the inhabitant of the title role, and Jonathon Guthrie-Jones met every challenge. He was a bit too good-looking for this role, but we soon forgot that as he delved into the depths of this complex character.

A Different Way Home

Written by Jimmie Chinn. Directed by Zoe Warwick. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). October 6 – 11, 2015.

Life can be difficult, but there’s always family. Sometimes, though, life is difficult because of family. Writer Jimmie Chinn understood this, better than most. His double monologue two act play is a gentle indictment of communication breakdown in a family, with enough bite and humour to be both thought-provoking and laughter inducing, along with a fair dose of poignancy. It’s not a great play, and Jimmie Chinn is no Alan Bennett, but it’s a good piece and a tailor-made performance vehicle for the right talent.

Altar Boyz

By Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. Geneva Music Studio. Directed by Joshua Brant. Guildford Grammar School, Guildford, WA. Oct 8-10, 2015

Altar Boyz was presented at Guilford Grammar School by Geneva Music Studio, with a cast that included a Guildford Grammar Old Boy and a present student.

This concert-style musical about a Catholic boy band, centres on the final concert of an extended tour as five small town boys try to save souls, using song.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham (who is Jewish), sing their way through the concert as we learn their history and relationships in a well-presented, high energy production with a rock concert vibe.

Jeremiah’s Tuesday

Written and directed by Stefan Mrowinski and performed by Steven Kennedy. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne. 8, 10 & 11 October, 2015.

This is a piece of drama that was first written in Polish in 1990, however, its ability to be redrafted with more contemporary events and themes shows how its fundamental concerns are issues that will never be outdated. The wavering moral compass that guides the musings of the characters ranges from delusions of grandeur to touching and disturbing insight into the flawed and often rapacious character of humanity.

Benjamin and Me

Written and directed by Mark Storen. Whiskey and Boots. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth. October 6-11, 2015

Benjamin and Me is presented by Whiskey and Boots as part of the Awesome International Festival for bright young things. Essentially really good storytelling, this low tech (apart from some cool lighting and smoke effects), theatre production is very simple theatre with a reliance on a good story and a dynamic actor.

Writer/Director/Performer Mark Storen tells a wonderfully complex story about a boy and his dog, that combines science fiction with steam-punk, boys’ own adventure and a touch of international espionage.

NaGL – Not A Good Look

By Lech Mackiewicz. Metanoia Theatre at the Mechanics Institute Brunswick, 270 Sydney Road, 8-17 October, 2015.

NaGL references many of the iconic elements of absurdist theatre; the zany language, the representation of mundane domestic existences, and the futile and repetitive nature of daily routines that reinforce a sense of a lifeless existence. This play goes further with its criticism of, and cynicism towards, a multicultural Australia – a reality that is more difficult to live than to conjure up culturally.

A Flower of the Lips (Un Fior di Labbra)

By Valentino Musico. Produced by Valentino Musico & EMU Productions. King Street Theatre. Newtown (NSW). Oct 6 – 24, 2015

A Flower of the Lips (Un Fior di Labbra) may be a new play by Sydneysider Valentino Musico, but it’s also a love letter. It’s a biographical story about his great-grandfather, Bruno Aloi and is a love letter to this legendary man as well as Musico’s relatives, Calabria and Italy as a whole. This stark and bold play, which has its Australian premiere at the King Street Theatre raises many questions about divided loyalties and offers no easy answers.

The Agreement

By Clare Mendes. Melbourne Writers’ Theatre, Page to Stage & The Deluxe Bus Company. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). 7 – 18 October, 2015

The ‘agreement’ of the title is the almost always unspoken understanding of the hierarchy that underlies a friendship.  As in ‘You’re the pretty one, but I’m the smart one’, or it’s Master and Apprentice, Teacher and Pupil, Mentor and Mentee.  Forget an association of equals!  ‘Unspoken’ because to spell it out would be just too stark or cruel.  But not all parties to these arrangements are necessarily aware of them… This turns out to be the state of play between Mathilda (Emma Cox) – the ‘smart one

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.