Reviews

The Goodbye Girl

Book by Neil Simon. Music by Marvin Hamlish. Lyrics by David Zippel. Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre, Adelaide. June 4 – 13, 2015.

Director Pam O’Grady has assembled a stellar cast who do their best to capture the charm of Neil Simon’s witty and at times sentimental script, based on his screenplay for the successful 1977 romantic comedy of the same name which earnt Richard Dreyfuss a best actor Oscar.

Battle of Waterloo

By Kylie Coolwell. Sydney Theatre Company. Wharf 1 Theatre. June 1- 24, 2015

An Australian play with a distinctively local story has been as rare as a lunar eclipse under reign of Andrew Upton/Cate Blanchett at the Sydney Theatre Company. So at the outset it was refreshing and exciting to see the company’s considerable resources devoted to this story.

In the inner city suburb of Waterloo (just a stone throw from Belvoir which apparently bid for this play too ) are two toweringly unattractive public housing blocks.  Playwright Kylie Coolwell is a local resident.

Venus in Fur

By David Ives. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Director Grace Barnes. Eternity Theatre, Darlinghurst. 29 May to 5 July 2015

This is a dark gothic tale peppered with humiliation, cruelty and eroticism. It takes place over 100 minutes of continuous time on a dark and stormy night in an NYC indie theatre space. The time structure makes the storytelling riveting. A writer/director auditions a late arrival actress for his play Venus in Fur. But nothing is really as it first appears.

Christa Hughes: Oz Rockin’ The Ladies Lounge

Presented by The Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Space Theatre, Festival Centre, Adelaide. June 5-7, 2015

Christa Hughes (aka KK Juggy from Machine Gun Fellatio) brings her trademark exuberantly vulgar theatricality to the great Australian songbook. She delivers ballsy, go for broke renditions of iconic pub rock anthems by the likes of Cold Chisel, ACDC, The Divinyls and Rose Tattoo – alongside knowingly self-aware and ironic takes on kitsch pop ditties by Kylie Minouge and The Bee Gees… as well as some weird alternative takes on material (such as Nick Cave) that was pretty weirdly alternative to begin with.

Bedtime Story

By Kiran Nagarkar. Nautanki Theatre. Lennox Auditorium, Riverside Parramatta. June 4 – 6, 2015

The ancient epic Sanskrit poem the Mahabharata, which tells of the Kurukshestra War and the fates of the Kaurava and Pandava princes, has been adapted for a contemporary audience by novelist and playwright Kiran Nagarkar. The title A Bedtime Story is slightly misleading in that, despite some humour, the play contains scenes that are a little violent and quite confronting. Nevertheless, the adaptation keeps alive one of the oldest and best known Indian legends and realises Nautanki Theatre’s aim of “cross cultural experience … the Indian way’.

Riot

By Thomas Ian Doyle. The Owl and Cat Theatre, 34 Swan Street, Richmond. June 1 -14, 2015

This cosy venue offers a warm and welcoming invitation into the deepest, darkest nooks and crannies of the anarchical disposition of the play’s central character, Jim (Johnathan Peck). Peck’s skilful portrayal of a combination of impish playfulness and explosive temperament takes the audience on a spiralling journey into the razor sharp, and sometimes dangerous, edge of his existence.

North by Northwest

Adapted by Carolyn Burns from the script by Ernest Lehman. Directed by Simon Phillips. MTC. Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse. June 1 – July 4, 2015.

As an avowed fan of Alfred Hitchcock, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the MTC's stage adaptation of North by Northwest, one of his most famous movies.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Presented by Sneddon Hall and Gallop and Pee Wee Productions. Directed by Stephen Pike. AIS Arena, Canberra. June 2 – 7, 2015

The arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar is a spectacular feast of sound and vision that thrills the senses and confronts the soul. The director Stephen Pike has brought out the soul of the story, with consistently good characterisation shown throughout, and he has used every part of the set, giving points of interest at all times, which is important in such a large venue. The chorus show commitment and talent in every part they play.

The Music Man

Book, Music & Lyrics: Meredith Willson. Story: Meredith Willson & Franklin Lacey based on Willson’s memoir And There I Stood With My Piccolo. Director: Deian Ping. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreography: Julianne Burke. Queensland Musical Theatre. Schonell Theatre, St Lucia, Brisbane. 3-8 June 2015.

Meredith Willson’s affectionate salute to 1912 small-town America The Music Man with its homespun philosophies and warm identifiable characters has always held appeal for community theatre companies employing as it does a multitude of characters and large chorus. One of the major strengths of Queensland Musical Theatre’s production of it was the choral work of the company. They thrilled harmonically in “Iowa Stubborn” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon”, producing a big, glorious Broadway vocal sound.

A Super Brady Cabaret

Written and directed by Drew Downing and Robbie Carmellotti. StageArt Production. World Premiere. Chapel off Chapel. June 3rd – 14th, 2015 (8 performances only)

What fun we had last night at Chapel off Chapel for the opening night of A Super Brady Cabaret! If you have just arrived from another planet, or are under 15, you may not know who the Brady Bunch are…but for the rest of us this non-pretentious cabaret was an absolute hoot.

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