Reviews

Dahlesque

Elise McCann. Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017. June 17 and 18, 2017

This is a marvelous tribute to Roald Dahl, and in particular his extraordinary, inventive and imaginative command of the English language – despite a rather contrary beginning when a boy.

The radiant Elise McCann takes us on a delightful journey through the life of Roald Dahl, heightened and punctuated by respective songs relative to Dahl and his work.

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.

By Alice Birch. Malthouse. Merlyn Theatre. 16 June – 9 July, 2017

This is vital theatre - the type that demands you think and feel at the same time. 

The first three scenes are staged in a box that is neat and contained, and used to denote several indoor settings.  There is much to laugh about in each of these incidents.  In all three we get to witness a perfectly rational and charming young woman speaking from a perspective that completely destabilizes very deep-rooted social mores around sex, marriage and work.  Words are used to describe what is generally unspoken and, in fact, largely unacknowledged. 

Effie The Virgin Bride

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Adelaide Festival Centre and Frontier Comedy. Her Majesty’s Theatre. June 21st & 22nd, 2017

Hello; Good thanks” are three words that take a full house straight back to the 80’s. Mary Coustas has returned to the stage as alter ego Effie to get married to the man of her dreams, and we are invited to the wedding.

The audience is greeted by Effie in her boudoir on the morning of her big Greek wedding as she regales the guests (audience) with stories of her search for Mr Right.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director / Musical Director: Paul Belsham. June 16 – July 9, 2017.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has made a welcome return to the Players Theatre at Ballina with all the colour befitting this popular show.

In the capable hands of the multi-talented Paul and Sue Belsham and Jamie Sheehan, Ballina’s revival of this piece is proving to be another great production for the home of “Regional Theatre at its best”.

Bakersfield Mist

by Stephen Sachs. Tasmanian Theatre Company. The Q, Queanbeyan, N.S.W. 22–24 June 2017 and touring the eastern states till September 2017

Based (however loosely) on a true story, Bakersfield Mist is the tale of the efforts of two people — the owner, and an art expert — to verify whether a painting purchased as a piece of junk was the work of Jackson Pollock.

 

Sinatra and Friends

Michael Feinstein. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Her Majesty’s Theatre. June 23, 2017

The Great American Songbook has never been safer than in the hands of entertainer Michael Feinstein. Affectionately called the ambassador of this genre, he has made it his life’s work to share globally these unique decades in musical composition and performance.

Showcasing composers and lyricists such as George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn and Bart Howard, Feinstein exudes love and respect for his contemporaries and one-time friends.

Cunning Little Vixen

By Leoš Janácek. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Jack Symonds. Director: Stuart Maunder. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. June 22 – July 1, 2017

This charming Czech opera is another in a season with a strong emphasis on younger opera fans. It also involved younger opera singers, and it was a marvellous opportunity for the children to join the adults on stage and hear those mature voices at close range. It was a good move to sing it in English and the surtitles were useful when some of the children had solo lines, though there were a couple of glitches on opening night.

 

The Psychic

By Sam Bobrick. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. The Arts Theatre Adelaide. June 22-July 1, 2017

Absorbed in Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s current production of Sam Bobrick’s The Psychic I found myself back in my teens and remembering how much I had loved the wonderful and very funny characters in the Damon Runyon fictional stories that my father introduced to me. Full of detailed imagery about the hustlers and gangsters of the big cities of prohibition-era America, the characters were larger-than-life, with their distinctive vernacular style being a signature part of the writing.

Mattaphorically Speaking

Devised by Matthew Dear with accompanist and director Christopher Thomson. New Globe Theatre. June 20-21, 2017.

Mattaphorically Speaking is billed as "A dyslexic guide to dating, love and everything in twebeen". Devised by the two performers, Matthew Dear and Christopher Thomson, it takes the audience through a mock dating seminar in which Matt gives you his tips for success. The advice is interspersed with well-known show tunes, some of which have been re-written slightly for the sake of parody, while others retain their original lyrics.

The 39 Steps

Adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Jarrad West. Theatre 3, Acton, A.C.T. 16 June – 1 July 2017

A century after its origin as a John Buchan novel and eight decades after Hitchcock’s adapation to film, The 39 Steps has, with Patrick Barlow’s stage adaptation, metamophosed from a tense thriller into a period comedy adventure of timeless appeal.

 

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