Reviews

La Soiree

Edith Spiegeltent, Cathedral Square, Hay St, Perth. Jan 13 – Feb 26, 2017

La Soiree allowed Perth Fringe-lovers to kick off this year’s FringeWorld a fraction early, opening a week ahead of the official launch. Direct from London’s West End, La Soiree is becoming something of a FringeWorld icon, in its third year at the festival.

In a new location, Cathedral Square, nestled next the City of Perth library, and in a new Spiegeltent, WAAPA’s ‘Edith’, this show remains classic, naughty, fringe-style entertainment.

The Encounter

Complicite / Sydney Festival. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 18 – 28, 2017.

With just one man on a stage cluttered with mics and speakers, The Encounter is a compelling innovation of sound and storytelling which makes excellent Festival programming.

This is compelling theatre produced by the famed British company Complicite and directed Simon McBurney.   

With each in the audience wired up with headphones, The Encounter’s only real production value is sound – and a few cross lights from Paul Anderson.

Bus Boy

By Izzy McDonald. Directed by Geordie Crawley. Fringe World. The Blue Room Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre. Jan 20-28, 2017.

Bus Boy is a sensitively told tale about a boy obsessed with buses, who meets a young girl who is almost desperate for a good time.  Set on Rottnest Island, this locally written production by Izzy McDonald, is tightly performed by Rorschach Beast.

Sean Guastavino wins hearts in a compelling performance as Bus Boy, a boy in his late teens, who is clearly on the Autism Spectrum. He can name any bus-route on the mainland, can tell you the exact requirements for driving for Transperth and believes his Transperth-green coloured bike is a bus. He is also lonely.

The Happy Prince

After Oscar Wilde. Little Ones Theatre. La Mama – 18 to 29 January 2017

This much anticipated offering is an entrancing, resonant, contemporary interpretation of Wilde’s deeply moving work that meets expectations of excellence.  It seems to be the hot ticket of this year’s Midsumma Festival and has pretty much sold out.  So hopefully there will be another incarnation in the not too distant future.

The Addams Family

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Directed by Ryan Taafe. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (W.A.). Jan 19 -22, 2017

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s production of The Addams Family is a big, lavish production with a professional polish and big budget feel.

This feels like a big touring production, Set and Lighting Designer Stephen Carr, establishes the world of the Addams Family even before the first song and we know we’re in for a treat. Hilary Readings’ costumes are also impressive. Cleverly directed by Ryan Taafe, this show pays on its promise.

Macdeth

Devised by Fiona Roake, Christain Bagin, John Forman, Vanessa Chapple and Aurora Kurth. Arts Centre Melbourne / Company 13. Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. 19 – 21 January 2017

With heaps of age appropriate fart jokes, Macdeth, is an excellent, often very funny, physical theatre romp in a Theatre in Education style.   It is a Drama/English teacher’s ‘God send’ - a wonderful show to introduce young people to Shakespeare’s revered play Macbeth. 

Sunday’s Roast

Written & directed by Tim P Driver, developed with Jennifer Monk. A Driving Monks Production, 2017 MIDSUMMA Festival. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). 18 – 29 January 2017.

Just as 57-year-old Felicity (Ruth Katerelos) discovers she’s pregnant - how embarrassing – at her age - her grown-up children start arriving for Sunday lunch.  It’s an idea with potential.  Unfortunately the play does little with it.  There’s the elder daughter, bossy-boots Emily (Jennifer Monk) and her mild, obliging husband Andrew (James Rosier).  Mike (Pat Moonie) is the middle child; he’s with his fiancée Melanie (Lee McClenaghan) who’s largely oblivious to Mike’s misery  – and the wedding is imminent.&nbsp

Liza’s Back! (is broken)

By Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. Music Arrangements by Max Lambert. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 17 – 22 January 2017.

Look out Liza Minnelli, there’s a new girl back in town. The multi-faceted performer and sometime drag queen Trevor Ashley has let loose on Brisbane audiences with Liza’s Back! (is broken) after seasons around Australia and London’s West End.This show is a sequel of sorts to his smash hit 2010 production of Liza! (on a E) which headlined at the Brisbane Cabaret Festival.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare. Directed and re-imagined by Glenn Elston. Australian Shakespeare Company. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. December 20, 2016 to March 4, 2017.

Purists, theatre snobs and general wowsers won’t like Elston’s version of Shakespeare’s delicious comedy, but who cares? Once again Shakespeare in the Park offers us a marvellous open air treat, and it doesn’t matter whether you bring a picnic of smoked salmon and Champagne, or Vegemite sandwiches and Fanta….that’s how wide the general appeal is for this terrific production.

A Night at the Musicals

Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo. Fairfax Studio. Arts Centre Melbourne. 17 -22 January 2017

This show is what you get when you mix technical excellence, irreverent devotion to the musical genre, humour and an ability to have an audience do just what you want with a gesture or look.

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