Reviews

Dreamsong

Music by Robert Tripolino. Book and lyrics by Hugo Chiarella. Directed by Dean Bryant. Theatreworks, St Kilda. 9th-20th April, 2014

The wealth of talent currently in Musical Theatre – in Melbourne alone – is truly staggering. When you put wunderkinds Tripolino and Chiarella together with a fabulous cast and current “flavour of the month” director Dean Bryant, in a brand new Australian musical that is a biting satire on organised churches, you can expect it to be something very special indeed.

Love's Labour's Lost

By William Shakespeare. A Company of Strangers. Directed by Geoffrey Dawes. Star Theatres, Hilton (SA). April 4 - April 12, 2014.

There are those who consider Shakespearean theatre to be a pure pleasure, and those who would classify it as pure torture. This particular critic does not subscribe to either extreme, finding the language of the times an admitted challenge, but the kind of challenge that a skilled group of theatre practitioners can turn into a golden experience that enriches the viewer in a way that few other writers can.

Waiting For My Real Life...

Colin Hay. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre, Melbourne. April 10,11 and 12, 2014

Colin Hay says he’s a singer/songwriter -the guitar playing is implied -and as such has no skills to survive in a post- apocalyptic world. Personally I don’t know that a man with one of the most unique, rich, and warm voices in music needs much more. “Waiting For My Real Life…” is a wonderfully intimate show of personal stories and, of course, beautiful music.

The Gigli Concert

By Tom Murphy. Darlinghurst Theatre Company and O’Punksky’s Theatre. April 4 – May 4, 2014.

This play explores the pursuit of personal and psychological fulfilment through a series of meetings between a troubled builder and his “dynamatologist” (read: quack psychologist). The builder won’t reveal his name but says he wants to “sing”, preferably like the Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli.

Tartan About

Craig Hill. Chapel off Chapel. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. April 9th-17th, 2014

If Craig Hill’s monumental comic talent gets any bigger, he’ll have to change his name to Craig Mountain. Hill is the flamboyantly gay comic who makes straights deliriously happy. Maybe it’s the natural charm, or the delivery, or the fact that he’s just plain bloody funny, but the straight audience adores him as much as his gay following. While Hill can cut down audience members – or even just banter bitchily with them, there is a puppy dog “please like me” appeal which is neither confrontational nor threatening sexually.

The Addams Family

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Stage Artz (Sydney). Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. April 4 – 12, 2014.

Just over twelve months since a stylish professional production opened and closed prematurely in Sydney, community theatres are getting their chance to take a bite from the Addams apple.

In many ways this sort of musical is more suitable for community theatre than the professional scene in Australia.

Relatively easy tunes to master, an assortment of different shapes and sizes and ages in the cast, in a production that has familiar TV characters in it, makes this a show which is fun to rehearse and perform.

Next to Normal

By Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Rockdale Musical Society. Director: Elle Zattera. Musical Director: Joshua Ransom. Choreography: Craig Nhobbs. Rockdale Town Hall. April 4 – 12, 2014.

Compelling Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical Next to Normal engages its audience with the life of Diana, a woman with a rapidly escalating bipolar disorder, and the impact on the family of this mother and wife’s illness. It’s an unrelenting journey haunted by the spectral presence of her son, embodied as the young man he never lived to become, after dying as an infant.

Very Weird and Slightly Dangerous

Marty Putz. The Famous Speigeltent at Federation Square, Melbourne. March 27 - April 19, 2014

Maty Putz is very weird and the only real danger is you might get hit with a marshmallow or have your face ache afterwards from smiling and laughing at this wacky show.

From mime, card tricks and slapstick to bizarre contraptions worthy of Heath Robinson (google him!), Marty had the audience on the edge of their seats wondering what the next hilarious twist would be.

Barbie Live! The Musical

Book by Diane Rodriguez. Music and lyrics by Robbie Roth. Director/Choreographer: Kobi Rozenfeld. Touring Australia, beginning April 5, 2014 at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne.

You try hard not to get cynical as a critic; not to compare everything to the Tony Award winners, the blockbusters like Wicked, but sometimes you have nights that scream the warning “Not another musical”. Well DON’T listen to that scream. Barbie LIVE isn’t meant for critics, or for Tony award snobs, or long-term music theatre tragics. It’s meant for young girls aged 4-14 and their parents or grandparents, and it’s Sparkaliciously AWESOME.

 

Othello

By William Shakespeare. KADS. Directed by Lucy Eyre. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount (WA). April 1-26, 2014

Othello is KADS' contribution to the Hills Theatres' Shakespeare Anniversary Festival. This modern dress adaptation is a well-presented, enthralling production.

Director Lucy Eyre, inspired by a documentary about an international security company which facilitates the transactiona of diamond dealers, has set the play within the present day compounds of the invented Venice Interest Protection and Cyprus Gems, a device that works very well.

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