Reviews

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare. Director: Jordan Best. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. July 24 – August 3, 2013

Jordan Best again demonstrates her comedy skills with this wonderful adaptation, which is about as far from the 1999 overblown, unfunny movie version as it’s possible to get. With flawless timing, Best coaxes energetic clowning from her actors. The cast includes several CAT Award winners and Q favourites, such as Jenna Roberts stealing scenes as a sexy, frustrated Helena chasing Duncan Driver, who transforms Demetrius into a slack-jawed mouth-breathing twit.

The Tap Pack

Created by Jesse Rasmussen, Jordan Pollard and Thomas J Egan. Directed by Nigel Turner Carroll. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). July 24th – August 4th, 2013

I am an unashamed tap fanatic. From the time I was born my Mum never sang me to sleep….she danced for me. And what dancing! A great hoofer, she was taught by the fabulous Nicholas Brothers. So I confess to mixed feelings on going to see The Tap Pack. I wanted to love it, but was afraid that it wouldn’t match the dancing of my youth and I would be disappointed.

Kindertransport

By Dianne Samuels. Theatre on Chester, Epping (NSW). July 26 – August 17, 2013.

The stage is a cluttered attic hunkering under wooden beams. Old suitcases line one wall, cardboard boxes the other. Worn, rejected pieces of furniture and forgotten toys litter the space. “There are stories here,” the set suggests, “memories and history.” And as the title and notes from Director Carla Moore imply, the stories go way back to the late 1930s, to Germany, and the terror and violence of the anti-Semitism that crytalised with the Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.

Hairspray.

Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Marc Shaiman. Packemin Productions. Riverside Theatre, Paramatta. July 27 - August 10, 2013

Let’s cut to the chase. Jon English in a dress – who’d have thought? The macho Pirate King now in drag as Edna Turnblad, the mother of a teenage tearaway desperate to break into television in 1962.

From Baltimore to Parramatta he was a sight to behold. For starters he has impressive legs, although high heels was a bridge too far. Well done for resisting tattoos over the years on those slender arms on display. Teams of seamstresses and wig stylists would have needed weeks to create his explosive frocks and curls.

The Hansard Monologues: A Matter of Public Importance

A verbatim play by Katie Pollock and Paul Daley. Seymour Centre, Sydney. July 23 – 27, 2013.

Going in you think you know what to expect, a lot of rhetoric, a lot of yawn-inducing ramblings and skewed political arguments. But what you actually get is quite different.

This is intriguing and compelling theatre. The Hansard Monologues is the perfect example of just how entertaining verbatim theatre can be when it has the appropriate subject matter at its core - which in this case is the life of the 43rd Parliament.

The Barber of Seville

By Rossini. OzOpera. Music adapted by Brian Castles-Onion. Originally devised and directed by Christine Anketell. Restaged by Naomi Edwards. Music Director: Sue Goessling. Designer: Richard Jerziorny. Pianist: Pamela Christie.

OzOpera’s production of The Barber of Seville for Primary Schools is a winner on many levels. It offers full time employment to young developing professional singers and support crew, and it exposes young minds to the glory of opera before they become closed.

This cut-down version of Rossini’s most popular comic opera went for less than an hour and was long enough for the young audience. All the good tunes were there, though much shorter than the originals, there was a lot of dialogue and plenty of fun.

And No More Shall We Part

By Tom Holloway. Tasmanian Theatre Company. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. Director: Sue Benner. July 25 – August 4, 2013

Tasmanian Theatre Company’s production And No More Shall We Part is a poignant story of living, loving and leaving, played with searing honesty by Joan Murray and Guy Hooper. Pam and Don have had a long and successful marriage. Now, Pam is dying, and the couple have to deal with her departure and her choices. Dying with dignity and euthanasia are topics for discussion, and, eventually, legislation. The import of the subject is made all the more moving because of the ordinary language of the writing, and the lack of pretension and absence of melodrama of the production.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book and Lyrics By Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Directed by Danny Ginsberg. PLOS. Frankston Arts Centre. July 19 – 27, 2013

You have to go a long way to see a PLOS production…all the way to Frankston. The good news is that you’d have to go a whole lot further to ever see a better production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Moving Parts

By David Nobay. Production Company: Will O’Rourke. NIDA Parade Playhouse, Sydney. Director: Steve Rogers. 25 July – 10 August, 2013

A production company that launches new, beautifully presented Australian plays with genuine international artistic heavyweights both onstage and backstage is loudly to be applauded. Champagne welcomed a first night audience packed with celebrities to NIDA’s Parade Playhouse.

Cavalia

Creator and Artistic Director Normand Latourelle. The Big White Top on Southbank (Vic). Director and Visual Conceptor Erick Villeneuve. Composer Michel Cusson. Costumes Manon Desmarais. Melbourne: 24 July – 18 August, 2013, Adelaide 16 – 27 October, Perth 18-29 December

A medieval castle-circus tent hybrid is the latest addition to Melbourne’s skyline. Standing 35 metres tall with a span in excess of 2,440 square metres The Big White Top announces to patrons that Cavalia is something special. And with Normand Latourelle (Cirque du Soleil) holding the reins, what else would we expect?

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