Reviews

Young Pretender

By E V Crowe. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe. September 13 – 17, 2016

Bonny Prince Charlie still sustains the status of Scotland’s most romantic hero, and his bid to regain the British monarchy for Scotland and the Stuarts remains the stuff of legend. This unusual play, written in modern ‘speak’ by playwright EV Crowe, shows him returning to Scotland in secret to convince the Scottish clansmen to follow him to the Battle of Culloden and the second Jacobite Uprising.

The Element of Consequence

Presented by After Dark Theatre, created and performed by TEOC. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Gasworks, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 13-17 September, 2016

This contemporary circus performance makes an explicit crossover with performance art and dance. The circus acts are infused with stylised movement and gesture and generate an unusual relationship with some very ordinary, everyday objects. These objects are recontextualised and played with in order to accentuate the dynamics of the acrobatic feats.

The Measure of a Man

By Gavin Roach. New Theatre / Sydney Fringe Festival. September 13 – 18, 2016.

Gavin Roach first measured his penis at the age of 12 and found it wanting.  And it hasn’t grown much longer when years later he starts trying to use it with other men.  

This gay tale of his teenage innocence, sexual exploration and growing body shame is the meat of Roach’s self-devised work for the Sydney Fringe, the second in his Anxiety Trilogy. The first, apparently much-applauded, was I Can’t Say the F- word.

Leap of Faith

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Book by Janus Cercone and Glenn Slater. Director: Elle Zattera. Musical Director: Josh Ransom. Choreographer: Craig Nhobbs. Rockdale Musical Society. Rockdale Town Hall. September 9 – 17, 2016

Lesser-known and short-lived Broadway musicals frequently find their welcome on the local stage in Community Theatre. Companies and performers love fresh shows to perform, while audiences get to see musicals that don’t make it to our professional stages.

It’s win / win really, especially when a production attracts as much Community Musical Theatre talent as Rockdale’s Leap of Faith.

Wolf Lullaby

By Hilary Bell. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Annie Lotocki. September 10th – October 1st, 2016

Chloe Finlay is a busy young lady with a great future ahead of her. Last week she was starring in Legally Blonde Jnr for the National Academy of Performing Arts and now takes on the role of 9 year old Lizzie Gael in Wolf Lullaby. Her portrayal of the young girl was convincing; carrying the action for most of the play.

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

By The Goodale Brothers. Based on The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. Original Direction: Sean Foley. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions in association with Mark Goucher & Mark Rubenstein. St James Theatre, Wellington, 8-10 September 2016 (Touring New Zealand).

Perfect Nonsense is another of those productions in the ilk of The 39 Steps where a few actors play multiple parts wearing dodgy wigs, outlandish clothes, display a variety of accents and cross-dress madly. After playing a year in the West End, winning the Best New Comedy Award at the 2014 Olivier’s, doing three UK tours and a stint in Mumbai, it’s currently touring New Zealand.

The Patrick Pearse Motel

By Hugh Lennard. Players Theatre, Ballina. Director: Sue Belsham. September 9th – 18th, 2016

Sue Belsham makes a welcome return directing this Irish Farce; full of blarney and shillelaghs and not a leprechaun in sight!

With acceptable Irish accents (which easily rolled of their tongues) the cast of Brook Lacy, Daniel Richards, Jaime Sheehan, Mike Sheenhan, Carl Moore, Mechelle Anderson and Mike Harris brought the Gaelic humour to life.

Nijinksy

Choreographed by John Neumeier. The Australian Ballet. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Sept 7th - 17th, 2016, then Adelaide Oct 14th-19th and Sydney November 11th-28th.

There cannot be any lover of ballet who doesn’t know the name of Nijinsky - the first great male dancer in the Ballet world, a tragic genius who changed the world of dance as we know it. Without Vaslav Nijinsky there would have been no Nureyev, no Barishnikov, no Vasiliev and certainly no Merce Cunningham … and Ballet would have remained dominated by ballerinas.

Catch Me If You Can The Musical

Book by Terrance McNally. Lyrics by Marc Shaiman. Music by Scott Whittman and Marc Shaiman. OCPAC. Director/Choreographer: Sam Hooper. Musical Director: Dave Barclay. MGH, Carey Baptist Grammar School, Kew, Victoria. September 10 – 17, 2016.

This was my second encounter with OCPAC and I was again blown away by the professionalism of the production.

Though I hadn’t seen the film, I was aware of Catch Me If You Can the Musical and pleasantly surprised to see how well it adapted to the stage. The music was strongly influenced by jazz, which was very suitable for the subject matter.

The bare stage had a walkway at the back, allowing for different levels, and various pieces of furniture were moved on and off as appropriate, allowing the action to flow. The lighting was excellent.

Albert Herring

Composer: Benjamin Britten. Librettist: Eric Crozier. Director: Bruce Beresford. Presented by Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and Brisbane Festival. 9-17 September 2016

Britten wrote this opera following the success of his famous Peter Grimes opus, wanting to create a work in direct contrast and with a comical flavour. He chose well because the plot is an entertainment in itself and is a fitting playground for a variety of interesting characters. With an inventive, contemporary score written at the height of his powers it provides a demanding and yet commanding platform for opera students and staff to tackle while in itself being respected by academics and those who work in the industry.

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