Reviews

Into The Woods

Film review. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Screenplay by James Lapine. Director: Rob Marshall. Disney. In cinemas across Australia from January 8, 2015.

Lovers of Sondheim need not fear the arrival of Disney’s Into The Woods, although there are always going to be those lovers of Musical Theatre who believe it is sacrilege to tamper with something so iconic. There is already a brilliant stage production available on DVD, but a large-scale film production requires a different approach to the material, and a different ethos when judging the result.

Thriller Live

Crown Theatre Perth, WA. Dec 10-21, 2014, with seasons in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand to follow.

Thriller Live launched its Australian tour with a highly energised Opening Night at Perth's Crown Theatre. The show, which originated in the United Kingdom, has played in 28 countries and had an extended run on London's West End.

The celebration of Michael Jackson's life is part tribute show, part biographical and is flamboyantly theatrical. It features incredible dancing at outstanding singing.

 

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller. Sport For Jove. Bella Vista Farm Park, Bella Vista, and Everglades Gardens, Leura. Director: Damien Ryan. 12th December 2014 – 25th January 2015.

There’s no doubt that Sport For Jove create great theatre. More importantly, however, they create great experiences. If you attend one of their shows (and you should), expect a night of entertainment in the truest sense of the word. While the company is not exclusively an outdoor company, site-specific outdoor entertainment is where they began, and where they excel.

Miranda

By Peter Blackmore. Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA. Nov 27-Dec 13 2014

Miranda, directed by Rodney Palmer at the Garrick Theatre, is a very nice looking production, that tells its story well.

When aristocratic doctor Paul Marten finds a mermaid, while fishing in Cornwall, he decides to bring her to his London flat disguised as an invalid. This decision causes no end of consternation.

Rhett Clarke is a convincing Sir Paul, although is difficult to hear at times. Mary Murphy is elegant and sympathetic as central character Lady Clare.

Aladdin

By Stephen Quinn. Graduate Dramatic Society. Hackett Hall, Floreat WA. Dec 6-20, 2014

Graduate Dramatic Society's Aladdin, written by Stephen Quinn and directed by his alter ego Stephen Lee, shows a true understanding of the pantomime genre and is the closest thing you will find in Australia to true British pantomime.

Melissa Kiiveri, I imagined, would be too sweet and pretty to be an ideal principal boy — but her Aladdin is cute, boyish and earnest and she has a natural vulnerability that makes her Aladdin very endearing, while Grace Edwards makes a beautiful and likeable Princess.

Absent Friends

By Alan Ayckbourn. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). December 10, 2014 – January 24, 2015.

A comedy to attract the end-of-year audience is an oft’ tried ruse – so an Ayckbourn seems like a good idea. However, towever,HoHhhhis relatively predictable example of his many plays, set in 1974, is just a little dated, despite the fun designer Anna Gardiner has had with the very ‘70s’ set and costumes – flares, a jerkin, yellows, orange and some crimplene!

Mother Goose

Written and directed by Maria de Marco. Emu Productions. King Street Theatre, Newtown, Sydney until December 22, 2014

It comes as a shock to Australians how huge pantomime is in England compared to the rare  offerings down under.  A British taxi driver once told me he was counting the days until the next million pound production came to his town. The theory is that Aussies love being outdoors too much over the Christmas period to make it a success here.

A SWINGIN' CHRISTMAS PROMS

Festival Theatre, Adelaide, SA. 12th & 13th December 2014.

The Adelaide Festival Centre and director Catherine Fitzgerald invite you to a night of sing-alongs and stunning solos, harmonising and heavenly praise, with a healthy helping of the spirituality that the season was built on, and the kind of electricity that only live music can generate...plus a couple of kooky clowns!

Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful

Written and Directed by Malcolm Frawley. Produced by Ferknerkle and Jordy Shea Theatrical. STS Theatre, 45 Chippen St, Chippendale (NSW). Dec 3 – 14, 2014.

Raw and funny, Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful provides a colourful snapshot of life for young adults today. It opens with Tegan (Josie Waller) and Silas (Stephen Bracken) about to get married and preparing for their bucks/hens night. Before you can catch your breath the couple flash back to the extraordinary way they met.

PETER PAN LIVE

Music: Jule Styne, Moose Charlap. Lyrics: Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Carolyn Leigh. Additional Lyrics: Amanda Green. Script: Irene Mecchi. Executive Producers: Craig Zadan, Neil Meron. Director/Choreographer: Rob Ashford. Director for Television: Glenn Weiss. Musical Director: David Chase. Telecast NBC, U.S.A. 4 December 2014

For its second “live-to-air” musical following last year’s The Sound of Music, NBC chose a show that has been dear to its rating-hearts for the past 60 years. Ever since the first screening of Mary Martin’s Broadway production of Peter Pan in 1955 which brought phenomenal ratings of 65 million viewers, it has been a perennial favourite for the Network.

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