Reviews

Champions

Form Dance Projects / Sydney Festival. Carriageworks. January 17 – 22, 2017

From Form Dance Projects in Parramatta comes this highly produced new work for Sydney Festival defying the idea that sport and arty stuff like contemporary dance can never mix.

After consulting the coaches and female athletes of the Western Sydney Wanderers,  choreographer Martin del Amo and his team of eleven all-female dancers stage Champions as though in a footy stadium.

The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular

Asia Theatricals, Good Egg Creative and Andrew Wyke. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House - January 18 and 19, 2017, and Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne - 21 January, 2017.

A lavish symphony orchestra, a pulsating rock band and four top musical theatre performers combine to celebrate the hits of one of the greatest rock bands in The Music of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular.

Autobahn

By Neil LaBute. Butterfly Theatre. The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton (S.A.). January 18 – 22, 2017

After previous successful seasons presenting “Beer theatre”, Butterfly are returning in 2017 with Autobahn, four one act plays written by American Playwright Neil LaBute, all set within the confines of an automobile. The common link with these four plays is the fact they are all set in a car and are about relationships, but I found the stories lacked any kind of journey or ending and I was left a little unsatisfied.

SIRO-A

Techno Circus. Concourse Theatre Chatswood. January 11 – 29, 2017

Back in 2002 a group of friends in a Japanese High School had the bright idea to combine the best of Japanese game culture in a performing arts troupe.  Fifteen years later SIRO-A has an international following and the group is appearing in Australia for the first time.

It’s best described as a high energy dance video projection act. Techno music performed live is co-ordinated with flashy coloured lights, video mapping and cheesy dance moves. SIRO is (I am told) the Japanese word for white. It is the blank canvass for the production, which resembles a kaleidoscope.

Which Way Home

By Kate Beckett. ILBIJERRI Theatre Company / Belvoir / Sydney Festival. Downstairs Theatre, Belvoir. January 11 – February 5, 2017.

Though billed as ‘Indigenous theatre at Belvoir’, Katie Beckett’s play is a story about family, a story of tender memories and sensitive frustrations with which we can all identify. It’s a story of unconditional love, written and performed by a daughter who skilfully shares her special relationship with her father. Inspired after his last heart attack, Beckett’s play is a gift to a father who has been “my dad, my mum, and at times my best friend”.

Cats

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot. Packemin Productions (Youth). Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. January 13 – 28, 2017

It felt like Chatswood was raining with cats(but no dogs). Two kittens, beautiful groomed with make-up and costume, were in our restaurant lapping up their dinner before the show. The felines were crawling through the audience inside in the theatre and on stage it looked like there were whiskers in every conceivable corner.  

Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

By Mascagni and Leoncavallo. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. January 12 – February 4, 2017

These two short Italian operas, composed within years of each other by two musical youngsters, and since so often paired as Cav andPag, both show a gritty social realism which made them operatic novelties in the 1890s. 

Both are about sexual jealousy and the murderous consequences of female infidelity (never mind the boys) in a poor Sicilian village.  Down and dirty they are, with not a god or aristocrat to be seen!

Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Studio2Stage and Phoenix Theatre. Directed by Jodie Innes. Phoenix Theatre, Hamilton Hill, WA. 13 – 27 Jan 2017

It seems fitting that the community theatre year in WA was kicked off with this bright youth production, Grease, presented by Studio2Stage and Phoenix Theatre. This year appears to be the ‘Year of the Youth Musical’ with teen and tween productions of Camp Rock, Calvin Berger, Once Upon a Mattress and Mulan Jnr following hot on its heels.

Studio2Stage’s show is brimming with energy and enthusiasm and life and had attracted a young and cheerful audience. Featuring a cast of 13 to 18 year olds, it had much to like.

Shrek Jnr

Book and lyrics David Lindsay-Abaire and Music by Jeanine Tesori. Ballina Players Youth Theatre. Director: Geoff Marsh. January 13th to 22nd, 2017

What a fantastic way to start the 2017 Theatre Season!!! Ballina’s Youth Theatre production of this popular musical had everything one could ask for in entertainment!

A large cast of enthusiastic performers kept the pace for the entire show. Geoff Marsh’s production worked well and with great costumes, wonderful singing and inspired routines one soon forgot the limitations of the stage.

In a Deep Dark Forest

By Roslyn Oades and Collaborators. The Inhabitors. Arts Centre Melbourne. 11 – 15 January 2017

Arrive at the Arts Centre just before 10 AM over the next couple of weeks and you will find the place to be a hive of activity swarming with children.  Hopefully these youngsters will compromise some of the audiences of tomorrow.  And if most of the works on offer are of the caliber of In a Deep Dark Forest I am sure this will be the case.

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