Reviews

Annie

By Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan. Babirra Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Alan Burrows. Musical Director: Danny Forward. Choreographer: Susan Lewis. May 31 to June 9, 2013.

Babirra Music Theatre continued on their practice of producing top class shows at the Whitehorse Centre on Saturday night. Everything about it had class.

Dominating the production was the Daddy Warbucks of Zac Brown. I’ve often heard Warbuck’s songs badly sung as they are almost unsingable, but he coped with ease. He also showed pathos and timing that drew the audience in. I’ve never seen the role played better.

Angels in America

By Tony Kushner. Belvoir (NSW). May 28 – July 28, 2013

Tony Kushner’s vast seven-hour, two-part epic about personal guilt and public despair in Reagan’s America shows not a spot of dust in this Belvoir restaging.

Anne of Green Gables

Adapted from L.M. Montgomery’s novel by Joseph Robinette. Villanova Players. The Theatre’ Seven Hills TAFE, Brisbane, 31 May - 21 June, 2012

How would you feel if you ordered something from the mainland and what was delivered to your island home was something quite different? That’s the predicament established from the outset here: the ageing Cuthberts ordered a boy from the orphanage to help on their farm but Anne was sent to them. 

How To Be (or not to be) Lower

Written by Max Cullen. Director Caroline Stacey. The Street Theatre, Canberra. May 25 – June 1, 2013.

How To Be (Or Not To Be) Lower is a solo tribute show looking at the crazy, funny and turbulent life and times of the writer Lennie Lower, known as “Australia’s Greatest Humorist”.  Max Cullen has reworked this from an original piece from 10 years ago. He has borrowed from Lower’s writing, and has shaped it into an amusing yet thoughtful piece.

The Lover

By Marguerite Duras, adapted by Colin Duckworth. New Ballroom at Trades Hall (Vic). Director: Greg Carroll. 
Designer: Peter Corrigan. 
Music: Vine, Eno and Carroll
. Lighting: Jason Bovaird. Thursday to Sunday 30 May - 16 June, 2013.

Translated and adapted from the Marguerite Duras novel by Colin Duckworth, The Lover is a monologue for Kate Kendall who masterfully draws us in to the world of 1930’s Saigon, where a poor 14-year-old French girl falls in love with a wealthy 27-year-old Chinese man, and we witness the intimacies and the repercussions of their doomed affair.

Mother Courage and Her Children

By Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Wesley Enoch & Paula Nazarski from Anthony Meech’s literal translation. QPAC and QTC. Playhouse, Brisbane. 25 May – 16 June 2013.

This was the most anticipated production in QTC’s 2013 season, giving the original epic play an Australian focus, with an all-indigenous cast.

Le Corsaire

Bolshoi Ballet. Music: Adolphe Adam. Additional Music: Leo Delibes, Cesare Pugni, Pyotr von Oldenburg, Riccardo Drigo, Albert Zabel, Julius Gerber. Original Choreography: Marius Petipa. Revival and New Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Burlaka. Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Pavel Sorokin. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane, 30 May – 5 June 2013.

The Bolshoi Ballet’s return to Australia last night with the monumentally spectacular Le Corsaire was a giddy, glorious delight. Based on a poem by Lord Byron, and set in Turkey, this romantic swashbuckling story of pirates and slave girls had all the fun of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie with exotic characters, settings and costumes. It was old-school traditional ballet, expertly executed by a company with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.

Delicacy

By Julian Hobba. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 24 May – 15 June, 2013.

This confronting black comedy is based on a recent real event. As such it becomes a modern horror story.

People may recall the social media appeal that attracted international attention when a man advertised for someone prepared to let him eat them. It was too gross for me to pursue if there was actually an outcome, but Victorian playwright Hobba’s long one-acter presents the first stage of what allegedly happened.

The Removalists

By David Williamson. Rock Surfers Theatre Company. Director: Leland Kean. Bondi Pavilion Theatre (NSW). May 14 – June 15, 2013.

Last week  Graham ‘Chook’ Fowler, the infamous  disgraced cop who was caught on video swearing and counting his ill-gotten loot, was laid to rest and there on stage at the Bondi Pavilion appeared his spirit.

From the first moment Laurence Coy appeared as Sergeant Dan Simmonds he made your skin crawl. Here was a Police officer whose every orifice oozed that he was entirely motivated by self-interest.  The New South Wales Police kept producing them for decades after this play was written in 1971.

The Phantom of the Opera

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Charles Hart. Additional Lyrics: Richard Stilgoe. Book: Richard Stilgoe & Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the novel Le Fantome de l’Opera by Gaston Leroux. Savoyards. Director: Jason Ward Kennedy. Musical Director: Matthew Nutley. Choreographer: Natalie Lennox. Inona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum, Qld. 25 May – 15 June, 2013.

After thrilling audiences around the world for the last 27 years and in turn becoming the longest running musical in the West End and on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera has been released for production to amateur theatres. In that time the musical has become legendary for its crashing chandelier, opulent costumes and sets, and its highly romantic Puccini-like score.

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