Yellow Skies

By Mitchel Edwards. Baker’s Dozen Theatre Company. Director: Robin Thomas. Sound and Music: Tom Backhaus. Costume Design: Eliza Wood. Mechanics Institute Brunswick. May 18-29, 2016.

Imagine Cormac McCarthy's The Road set in the Australian bush, and you have Yellow Skies.

Like the post-apocalyptic dystopic future (aren't they all since 9/11?) presented in The Walking Dead, the apocalypse brings out the worst in people. 'Hunters' pillage and kill to obtain ever-diminishing supplies. Even going as far as eating other survivors.

Noah (Aaron Trevaskis) and Glenn (Arli Faruk) lean on each other to survive and have to decide how to handle a malevolent intruder in their camp (Gabriella Imrich).

Sex Cells

By Anna Longaretti. Galleon Theatre Group. Directed by Warren MacKenzie. Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre. May 19-28, 2016

Full disclosure to my readers – The Galleon Theatre Group’s latest production, Sex Cells, stars Lesley Reed, a reviewer for Stage Whispers Magazine who acted in the last play I produced. The supporting cast includes Heather Riley and Brian Godfrey, who have previously been my colleagues in other theatrical endeavours. Therefore you may wish to take my (largely positive) assessment with a pinch of salt. 

Tales of a City by the Sea

By Samah Sabawi. La Mama Courthouse. May 11 – 29, 2016

An excellent ensemble of multicultural performers work closely collectively to draw together and express the story of star crossed lovers who are both, perhaps a little surprisingly, Palestinian.

He, Rami (Osamah Sami) is a doctor who runs a medical clinic in the USA and she, Jomana (Helana Sawires) a journalist who was born and raised in the Shanti (beach) Refugee Camp in Gaza. He comes and goes into this volatile site of the bitter struggle of the siege of Gaza that took place in 2008.  They are just like young lovers from anywhere and any culture. 

Mary Poppins

Music & Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles, Anthony Drewe. Book: Julian Fellowes. Engadine Musical Society. Director: Rod Herbert. Musical Director: Josh Ransom. Choreographer: Lynley Fuller. Sutherland Entertainment Centre. May 18-22, 2016.

I flew a kite over Engadine and landed at 17 Cherry Tree Lane...

Engadine’s Mary Poppins is a lavish and visually spectacular affair. The stage musical version follows the original books far closer than the Disney film, though the Disney songs remain. Mary Poppins is still practically perfect but not totally a spoonful of sugar (think: a slightly annoyed Julie Andrews and not afraid to show it).

Billy Thorpe & Leigh

By Neil Cole. Directed by Tim Paige. The Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. 18-28 May, 2016.

This charming production opens and closes with Thorpe’s signature song, Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy, and immediately has your toes tapping. Frank Kerr’s renditions of the iconic tunes are delightful. Thorpe’s distinctive music and voice are difficult to emulate but the show is not concerned so much with the recollection of Thorpe himself as it is with showing the importance of his influence on a generation of aspiring youth.

The Violet Sisters

By Gina Femia. Owl & Cat Theatre, Richmond (VIC). 17 – 27 May 2016.

The Violet Sisters is a fine example of what is almost a genre: a family’s secrets and lies.  What is told, what is withheld, what is believed and what is acted upon. That’s not to diminish the power of this play: a battle between estranged sisters, Sam (Jennifer Monk) and Pam (Leticia Monaghan). 

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

By Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. Murray Music and Drama Club (WA). Directed by Cat Rippon, Musical Direction by Kenn Ellis. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA.13-21 May, 2016

The Murray Music and Drama Club set the scene for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, by providing a lovely pile of meat pies on each cabaret table. The characters began to fill the stage slowly, in an immersive production that brought the dark musical thriller to life, with aplomb.

A Soul Celebration

QPAC Production. Concert Hall, QPAC. 17 May 2016

Have we begun a new-wave of Motown, soul and disco again? One would think so with the recent sold-out season of Velvet, which featured songs from the iconic era, and now the QPAC Choir getting into the act with their annual concert saluting the same genres.

Things I Know To Be True

By Andrew Bovell. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse. 13th May – 4th June, 2016

Directors Geordie Brookman and Scott Graham have joined forces, bringing with them a mix of experience, innovation, physicality and depth. In what can be best described as a family drama, playwright Andrew Bovell has brought suburbia to the stage in his play, Things I Know to be True.

The Price family are your quintessential battlers. With lives full of sacrifice and dysfunction, they are real and honest as they tread the line between love and hate, responsibility and independence.

Xanadu The Musical

Book by Douglas Carter Beane. Music and Lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. Based on the Universal Pictures Film. Matthew Management and Hayes Theatre. May 12 - June 12, 2016.

This is the glitziest looking co-op musical you could ever care to imagine.  From diamante tiaras, to gorgeous classic style dresses and tunics in bright 1980’s colours, to imposing Greek columns that fence an amphitheatre, turned disco roller rink - it’s an exquisite production to watch.

The musical opens with the fiendishly clever projection of nine muses of Greek mythology on a wall (yes in Venice California in 1980) who dissolve like magic before our eyes. Who said you can’t afford fancy looking special effects in a little production?

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