By Lionel Bart. Laughing Horse. Directed by Adam Salathiel. Koorliny Arts Centre, WA. July 12-20, 2019

One of the most exciting aspects of Laughing Horse’s Oliver!, apart from some stellar performances, was the amount of new faces brought to the stage. Director Adam Salathiel, Musical Director Liam House and Choreographer Zoe Jay have created a satisfying production that beautifully blends veteran performers with fresh-faced emerging performers.

It’s a Wonderful Life Adelaide

A live radio play by Joe Landry. wings2fly theatre. Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide. July 13, 2019

It’s a Wonderful Life was a fun and well-produced piece of theatre, presented with enthusiasm and a high level of skill by the nineteen youngsters in the cast.

These young actors had been working on the play for an intense six days before the performance and they deserve congratulations on their finished effort, as do the directors Michelle Nightingale and Alicia Zorkovic.

The Kursk

By Sasha Janowicz. Villanova Players Theatre Company, Brisbane. 12 to 14 July 2019

The Kursk, a one-act play by Brisbane-based actor and playwright Sasha Janowicz, is a stage version of the events leading up to the tragic final fate for 118 Russian submariners on board the nuclear-powered Kursk in 2000. As Janowicz said when his play debuted at Brisbane’s Metro Arts theatre in 2007, he wrote the piece … “to tell the truth and express my grief about what happened to the Russian sailors." As a heavy drama it is an unusual and brave choice for a Community Theatre group.

A Centenary Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald

Alison Jiear. Sydney Cabaret Festival. Seymour Centre, Sydney. July 12/13, 2019

The Australian singer Alison Jiear has lived in Britain for over 30 years and has made a splash there in musicals like Jerry Springer: The Opera and a particularly rousing appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. She’s also a remarkable cabaret performer and commands the stage, here in a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Fiddler on the Roof Jr.

By Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Bel Canto Performing Arts. Directed by Katherine Freind and Neroli Sweetman. Musical Direction by Justin Friend. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. July 12-14, 2019

A cast of 36 eight to eighteen-year-olds transport capacity audiences to the little Russian village of Anatevka, for this very charming shortened rendition of Fiddler on the Roof by Bel Canto Performing Arts.

Through a Glass Darkly

Based on the film by Ingmar Bergman, adapted by Jenny Worton. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre, Adelaide. 11-13 July 2019

God, art and the human mind are huge themes alone, but they’re combined here in this outstanding play by the Theatre Guild, originally an Ingmar Bergman film, adapted by Jenny Worton.

Karin, the daughter is recovering from a mental illness episode, brought by her adoring but boring husband, Martin. Her father David is there physically but is really writing another book; the son Max craves his father’s attention.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions. State Theatre, Sydney. July 12 – 21, 2019

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions warms up the winter school holidays with yet another fairy tale pantomime, this year with the added ‘oomph’ of 3D projections of a virtual giant and the creepy creatures of his lair. This all-singing, all-dancing – and all-groaning jokes – production sticks to the plot a little more than did Sleeping Beauty last year.

A Chorus of Disapproval

By Alan Ayckbourn. Darlington Theatre Players. Directed by Luke Miller. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, @Q. July 5-27, 2019.

Darlington Theatre Players’ backstage comedy, A Chorus of Disapproval, is garnering firm approval from its audiences. Alan Ayckbourn’s play is centred around the adventures of recently widowed Guy Jones, as he joins Pendon Light Operatic Society (PLOS), in the lead-up to their production of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera.

The Double Bass

Playwright: Patrick Suskind. Translator: Michael Hoffmann. Director: Lisa Harper Campbell. Cranking Hog Productions. Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide. 9-20 July, 2019.

Solo performances, at their best, carry with them a uniquely thrilling charge, akin to watching a high-wire artist attempting to stay balanced without a net. In the case of this show, Eddie Morrison demonstrates a remarkable ability to keep us interested in the thoughts of one character in one location for 75 minutes.

An Evening With Sherlock Holmes

By Jules Tasca. Wanneroo Repertory. Directed by Shelley McGinn. The Limelight Theatre, Wanneroo WA. July 4-13, 2019

Wanneroo Repertory’s An Evening With Sherlock Holmes is a drama in three acts, each act a separate and complete story featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous characters.

Featuring in all three stories are Mark Fitzpatrick, who is upright and convincing in the title role, Phil Bedworth who is an excellent Dr Watson, with a beautiful manner, and Christine Smith, who is lovely as Mrs Hudson.

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