Reviews

The Bodyguard The Musical

Book by Alexander Dinelaris. Based on the Warner Bros. Film. Music by various including Whitney Houston. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night, April 27, 2017

The Bodyguard The Musical is a high cholesterol entertainment banquet. On the menu is a rock concert, a pyrotechnical extravaganza, a belt song fest, and plenty of gyrating male abs, with an unplanned touch of pantomime.

The movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner was conveniently replayed on TV just last week. The 1990's film depicts a chiselled jaw bodyguard brought in to save a highly strung pop princess from an a crazy fan.

Three Little Words

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 18 April to 27 May 2017

The ‘three little words’ of the title are not, as you might think, those of the popular 1930 song.  On the contrary.  After twenty years, Tess (Catherine McClements) and Curtis (Peter Houghton) have decided to separate.  The ‘three little words’ here are: ‘We’re splitting up.’  And when Tess says those words, it’s not just their best friends Annie (Kate Atkinson) and Bonnie (Katherine Tonkin) who are stunned and incredulous.  The audience has a sharp intake of breath and goes very still.

Mr Burns

By Anne Washburn. State Theatre Company of S.A. and Belvoir. Space Theatre. April 22nd – May 13th, 2017.

Yes, it is THAT Mr Burns!

For the uninitiated, Mr Burns is a character in the long running animated series The Simpsons. Written by Anne Washburn, and presented by State Theatre Company and Belvoir, Mr Burns entertains perfectly for those with no Simpsons knowledge and adds a whole new layer for the majority who do.

Dracula

Shake & Stir Theatre Co. Directed by Michael Futcher. The Playhouse, Canberra. 26–29 June 2017, and touring nationally until 20 September 2017

Shake & Stir's production of Dracula, an adaptation by cast members Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij that won it two Matilda awards in 2016, is touring for the majority of the year, including an unfortunately short season in Canberra.

 

Once in Royal David's City

By Michael Gow. Queensland Theatre. Directed by Sam Strong. Playhouse, QPAC Brisbane. 22 April - 14 May, 2017

There was in an intriguing blend of comedy and pathos last night at the Playhouse with central character Will Drummond, a director and exponent of Brechtian theory, introducing us to that difficult and emotional time we can experience with the loss of a loved one.

M. Butterfly

By David Henry Hwang. St Jude’s Players. St Jude’s Hall. April 27-May 6, 2017

Due to the company’s name and its church hall venue, some people may wrongly believe that St Jude’s Players is aligned to the church. They may also therefore think it unlikely the company would risk producing plays with content that may shock, such as nudity or sexually explicit dialogue. The company’s current production of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly dispels all such misapprehension; St. Jude’s has demonstrated that, like all fine and independent theatre companies, they will never shy away from a good script.

M. Butterfly

By David Henry Hwang. St Jude’s Players. St Jude’s Hall. April 27-May 6, 2017

Due to the company’s name and its church hall venue, some people may wrongly believe that St Jude’s Players is aligned to the church. They may also therefore think it unlikely the company would risk producing plays with content that may shock, such as nudity or sexually explicit dialogue. The company’s current production of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly dispels all such misapprehension; St. Jude’s has demonstrated that, like all fine and independent theatre companies, they will never shy away from a good script.

Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits

By Gerard Alessandrini. Playback Productions. Director: Monica Cioccia. Musical Director: Minna Ikonen. Kindred Studios, Yarraville (Vic). April 27 – 29, 2017.

Forbidden Broadway is a cabaret show which pokes fun at the Broadway genre by changing the words of well-known numbers. I fondly remember a professional production a couple of decades ago and haven’t caught another one since.

So I was really looking forward to this production, and I wasn’t disappointed. Though not at the standard of the professionals I’d seen previously, there was an enthusiasm and sense of fun that was contagious.

The Chapel Perilous

By Dorothy Hewett. New Theatre, Sydney. Director: Carissa Licciardello. 27 April - 27 May 2017

For those, like me, who come to Dorothy Hewett's work for the first time it is necessary to take a deep breath before writing a Stage Whispers review of perhaps her greatest play. How could I have missed her scope, her grandeur, her quest for freedom in a nation uncertain of its standards?

Amadeus

By Peter Shaffer. National Theatre Live, Southbank, London. Screening at Nova Cinemas, Carlton, VIC, and cinemas nationally from 6 – 14 May 2017

This sumptuous production of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play is no mere ‘revival’.  With sixteen actors, six singers and twenty musicians of the Southbank Sinfonia mixing it with the action, director Michael Longhurst makes the play a sprawling Singspiel spectacle.

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