Reviews

Bad Jews

By Joshua Harmon. Aleksandar Vass and Vass Theatre Group. Director: Gary Abrahams. Alex Theatre, St Kilda. April 27 – May 14, 2016

This engrossing production of Bad Jews is played out on a charming set, designed by Jacob Battista, of a tiny apartment that feels part pressure cooker part fish bowl.  It is a studio apartment in New York, New York with a bathroom that overlooks the Hudson River.  Four characters, three of whom who have been rendered emotionally raw from the grief of their grandfather’s recent demise, interact through the malaise of a kind of fraught cabin fever. 

We Will Rock You

Music and lyrics by Queen. Story and script by Ben Elton. Lyric Theatre, Sydney, then touring nationally. Opening Night - May 5, 2016

This production will rock your socks off. The enthusiasm and talent of the mainly young cast is palpable, from the opening to the very last seconds.

Even as the curtain had almost descended for the last time, the leading man Gareth Keegan (Galileo) was crouched down to milk one last note for the audience.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Comedy Theatre Melbourne. May 4 – 22, 2016

There’s no denying the appeal of Little Shop of Horrors. It may be based on a B grade movie, but it has an A+ grade score and book - arguably the best work ever from Ashman and Menken, and real depth in the subtext and life lessons. In short, it’s a bloody good musical.

Black Jesus

By Anders Lustgarten. bAKEHOUSE Theatre. Kings Cross Theatre, Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel. 29 April - 21 May, 2016.

bAKEHOUSE Theatre once again brings to Sydney a premiere performance that flouts the ‘conventional’ theatre scene in many ways – because Black Jesus is not ‘cosy’ entertainment! Itis raw and angry and challenging. Set in post revolution Zimbabwe, it looks at oppression and revolution through the eyes of the oppressed and the revolutionaries – and what happens when the ‘liberators’ take charge.

The Breakfast Club

Written by John Hughes. Adapted for the Stage and Directed by Jillian Logan. Presented by Endless Night Theatre Co Inc Don Craig Room, Laycock Street Community Theatre. May 5-8, 2016

When the “Laycock Street Community Theatre” first opened its doors in 1988, it was a shot in the arm for the local performing arts community. Several local independent theatre companies were formed, and staged highly creditable productions throughout the next decade. Then, with sharply rising theatre fees and continual changes in management, just as suddenly the commissioning of local productions diminished and production companies folded (or went into eternal hiatus) along with it.

Bonnie & Clyde The Musical

Music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and book by Ivan Menchell. Shire Music Theatre. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. April 29 – May 8, 2016.

Walking into the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts on Sunday, to see the NSW Premiere of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical, I had no expectation of what I was about to see.

This was very refreshing and exciting, compared to seeing many of the same musicals playing at Amateur Musical Societies at the moment.

Director Jamie Lee Kemp and the company have taken a gamble on a lesser-known show. I was disappointed for the cast and crew to see such a small audience for a Sunday matinee.

Gorgon

By Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 3-7 May, 2016.

Gorgon is a relatively rare example of a one-hour show that manages to cover rich terrain without feeling abbreviated or short changed; writer Elena Carapetis makes every moment count, and director Nescha Jelk - together with an exceptional team of performers and technicians - has presented us with a play that is full of both laughter and poignancy, while managing to make it all feel true to life.

The River

By Jez Butterworth. Red Stitch. Directed by John Kachoyan. 29th April – 28th May, 2016.

Much like the river itself after dark, Butterworth’s newest play is deep, mysterious and mesmerising. The restlessness of peripatetic flow is explored through those things we see on the surface, often minutiae and deceptive – the movement of the furniture, the gutting of a fish – but submerged at unfathomable depths there is menace, and secrets, and possibly even danger. And, like the river, the playwright only hints at how deep that menace lies.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre. April 29 – May 7, 2016.

The quintessential theatre-lover’s play, Noises Off arrives at Beenleigh Theatre Group, directed by Roslyn Johnson and Samuel Gregory. It is loaded with F’s…frantic, frolicking, and farcical. It was touted by many as the most hilarious show ever put onstage. Yet, with an amazing script come large expectations and the need for top talent.

Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Baldock. APRIL 29 - May 14, 2016.

Some may question the validity of another revival of Rose’s classic 1950s play about prejudice and  persistence. Those people really need to see this production, and their question will be answered for all time.

Rose’s claustrophobic drama is set in a jury room, and the problem has largely been, for stage, that the audience is too removed to feel truly connected to what is happening. It’s one of the reasons why the film was more successful; it allowed us to get in close, to see the beads of sweat on a top lip – to see the doubt in a man’s eyes.

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