Reviews

The Record

600 Highwaymen. Created and Directed by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone. OzAsia Festival. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 21-24 September, 2016.

An ordinary girl in a private school uniform takes the stage. A cellist sits off to the side, ready to play, but he waits in silence – as do we, for a long, long time – while the girl poses inscrutably – and very slowly…as the tension threatens to morph into irritation.

The Paris Underground Cabaret

Aleksandar Vass and Vass Productions present a Madotti & Vegas production of Paris Underground. Alex Theatre St Kilda. Sept 21-24 2016

The Paris Underground Cabaret returns to Melbourne and the opening of the new season went off with quite a bang, I expected nothing less and received more, expectations exceeded. Treated to a feast of sophisticated performances, we had a taste of magic, circus, song, dance, burlesque, and if all this is not enough to satisfy, there was clever comedy to carry us gracefully through the show.  All this packaged into a seductive cabaret, a visual sensation that delighted the eye accompanied by the pleasure of French singing and music to be relished throughout.

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald, adapted by Simon Levy. Epicentre Theatre Company. Ku-ring-gai Town Hall. September 16 – October 8, 2016

Like the novel itself, this adaptation by Simon Levy relies heavily on the character of Nick Carraway to carry the story and connect the many scenes. It is basically true to the novel, moving between East and West Egg and The Valley of the Ashes in a host of small, filmic scenes that are probably more suited to a much larger stage.

PARLEY!

Written and performed by Rachael Besselink and Elena Larkin. Directed by Harley Hefford. Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne. 28 Sept - 2 Oct, 2016.

This is a charming theatrical venture that draws directly from the theatre of the absurd. PARLEY! especially looks to the work of Beckett in Waiting for Godot. Ant (Larkin) and Pea (Besselink) are two characters who are lost at sea and this functions as a metaphor for their existence. There is an instant quaintness about their appearance which is aided by a beautifully designed and very atmospheric set. The gentle rhythms of the dialogue convey warmth from the characters that is rather unexpected and uncharacteristic of the genre.

Salvation Amy

Melbourne Fringe Festival Hub - Lithuanian Club - South Melbourne, September 16 - 23, 2016

Drawn to Salvation Amy by what is written in the publicity blurb – I was not disappointed.  It has the potential to become a burly, bawdy, darkly funny and sating Cabaret offering.   However on opening night the early parts of Amy Bodossian’s performance lacked confidence and subtlety through, what I assume were, first night nerves mixed with a sense of panic. 

Hidden Sydney – The Glittering Mile

Live Ideas and Working Management with Art & About Sydney. Mansion Lane Kings Cross. September 16 - October 9, 2016

I was waiting next to the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore to enter the ‘theatre’ when someone who resembled a vagrant started urinating into a gutter a few metres away.

The Lord Mayor was convinced he was an authentic drunk - up until we saw him again - playing the guitar inside.

This wasn’t the first or the last surprise of the evening. It appeared that even the most jaded theatre critic and opening night ‘luvee’ was entertained and fascinated by what was a lavish evening of immersive theatre.

The Hatpin

Music by Peter Rutherford, book and lyrics by James Millar. UMMTA. Director: Jordan Peters. Musical Director: Alexandre Guérin. Choreographer: Elle Richards. Union Theatre, University of Melbourne. September 16 – 24, 2016.

I saw a professional production of The Hatpin five years ago and, at the time, noted that it was unlikely to be tackled by an amateur company.

I have been proven wrong.

This was a brave choice, but not unsurprising from a university company. It is Australian, dark and relatively recent. Box office poison, but so worthwhile.

Wicked

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz, Book: Winnie Holzman. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Ipswich Musical Theatre Company. Director: Robbie Parkin. Music Director: Robert Clark, Choreographer: Simon Lind. Ipswich Civic Centre, 9-18 September 2016

Sometimes the line between a top community theatre production and a professional one can be very thin indeed, and that’s what we saw yesterday in Ipswich Musical Theatre’s production of Wicked. With so many pros on board behind-the-scenes and ex-Wicked Wiz Simon Gallagher stepping in as casting director, the result was pro-am musical theatre at its finest.

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Directed by Jeremy Sams. The Crown Theatre, Perth, WA. 14 Sep - 9 Oct 2016

The Sound of Music opened the last leg of the Australian Tour at The Crown Theatre Perth on September 15. Still feeling fresh and vibrant, this production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is lavish, with beautiful costuming and sets highlighting an excellent cast.

Songs For A New World

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown Javeenbah Theatre Company, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Trevor Love. Sept 16 – Oct 1, 2016

This production has been stripped down to the bare essentials which, in a way, has taken the gloss off what could be a great experience.

I could not understand what it was all about until I got home and had time to read the comment on each song. Had these preceded each item as surtitles or commentary, with perhaps the use of a hat, scarf or prop it would have enhanced the experience of the production.

With the Musical Direction in the capable hands of Javeenbah Stalwart, Rachel Love, the show had pace but that alone was not sufficient to entertain.

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