Reviews

ABCs Of Growing Up

Directed by Joe Mooney. Four5Nine Bar, North Perth, WA. FringeWorld. 26-31 January, 2016

Joe Mooney presents his comedy show, ABCs Of Growing Up, in the cosy Four5Nine Bar at the Rosemount Hotel, as part of FringeWorld.

Comedy is exceedingly difficult to play to a small crowd, and the audience numbered just nine (at least a third of whom were media), at the 5.30pm show that I attended. Nevertheless the solo performer worked the small crowd beautifully, and while laughs weren't raucous, they were steady and a good time was had by all.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Glenn Slater. Book by Doug Wright. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Directed by Thomas Phillips. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide, 28-31 January, 2016

Given the inherent limitations of youth theatre, this production of Disney’s  The Little Mermaid is an impressively staged, delightfully spirited affair. Those adults who retain affection for the source material, and are willing to be generous enough in their suspension of disbelief to accept performers playing above their age, will be rewarded with a musically accomplished and emotionally astute rendition of this comfortably familiar piece. Children who come to see this will be rewarded with an intelligent production that does not talk down to them.

The Secret Garden

Book & Lyrics by Marsha Norman. Music by Lucy Simon. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Young Australian Broadway Chorus. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. January 22 – 30, 2016.

The Secret Garden was written in 1909 by Frances Hodgson Burnett and adapted as a musical in 1989. It ran on Broadway for 709 performances and has been adapted several times for TV and film. The 1993 film version directed by Agnieszka Holland is a particular favourite of this reviewer. The story is a Victorian fairy tale about a young girl, Mary Lennox (with a strong central performance by Alexandra Denovan) is sent to live with her Uncle when her parents die of cholera. Her Uncle’s house in North Yorkshire is a vast mansion full of secrets.

Intoxication

By Christopher Bryant. Directed by Jessica Arthur. La Mama Courthouse. Part of Midsumma Festival. January 27 – February 7, 2016

Written by Christopher Bryant (who is also one of its three performers) and directed by Jessica Arthur, Intoxication is a play about anxiety and disconnection – that much is clear both from the program notes and the performances. However its structural shortcomings and odd directorial choices make it difficult to discern much else. Eschewing any solid narrative structure, it instead presents us with a series of vignettes from one female and two male actors, but it’s unclear whether any of them are playing distinctive characters as such.

Sauce

Written & performed by Simon Godfrey. Butterfly Club, Melbourne CBD. 27 – 31 January 2016.

At a primary school sausage sizzle, the snags are coming off the griddle and, drenched with a gloop of tomato sauce, selling fast.  But suddenly there’s an horrific barbeque stopper: little Max doesn’t want tomato sauce.  He doesn’t like tomato sauce.  What??  Is he… a terrorist, a vandal, un-Australian?

Uncovered

Directed and choreographed by Dave Coombs. Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 27–30 January, 2016

The intensely physical aspect of dance, movement, acrobatics and circus acts frequently carry a simmering undercurrent of alternative sexuality and desire. Rather than relying on innuendo or allusion to explore this aspect, Uncovered is tantalisingly open and provocative in its unabashed emphasis on homosexuality.

The Leftovers

By Kyle Kash. Rag and Bone Theatre Group. Directed by Jane Sherwood. The Hellenic Club, Fringe World, Perth, WA. Jan 24 - Feb 3, 2015

The Leftovers, by Kyle Kash, presented by Rag and Bone Theatre Group, as part of Fringe World Festival, is a series of connected vignettes about people dealing with loss and grief. Stories of death, and those who are 'leftover'.

Despite the dark subject matter, The Leftovers is easy to watch, with many moments of humour. The audience found lots at which to laugh, but there is also much food for thought.

Alice is Drowning

By Madeleine Lewis, Lukas Radovich and Phoebe Sullivan. Directed by Madeleine Lewis. Your Mouth Collective. Fringeworld (WA). The Hidden Bar, Northbridge, WA. Jan 22 - Feb 8, 2015

Your Mouth Collective is a newly formed Perth based theatre company, participating in their first Fringeworld season.

Alice is Drowning is a simple, nicely told tale, which combines a coming-of-age story with road-trip and fairy-tale genres, to create a sweet, enjoyable two-hander.

Baby-faced twenty-year-olds Phoebe Sullivan and Lukas Radovich play sixteen year old best friends Alice and Brian very convincingly. Phoebe gives dreamy but deluded Alice a genuine charm, while Lukas' Brian is charming, loyal and superbly played.

Double Bill: Gentleman’s Island and The Telephone

By Joseph Horowitz and Gian Carlo Menotti respectively. Operantics. Independent Theatre, North Sydney. Jan 23 & 24, 2016.

Operantics is a company of young Australian artists whose entrepreneurial skills match their artistic talent. It is run by and for young artists, such as Artistic Directors Katie Miller-Crispe and Tristan Entwhistle, who are dedicated to pursuing careers in opera.

Thrill Me

Book, Music, Lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff. Directed by Terence O’Connell. Ghost Light Productions with Moving Light Productions. Midsumma Festival. Chapel off Chapel. Jan 21 – 31, 2016.

Thrill Me is an excellent production – with a stylish set by Daniel Harvey, innovative lighting by Jason Bovaird and terrific acting by Vincent Hooper and Stephen Madsen. Director Terence O’Connell expertly pulls the production together and Daniele Buatti handles the score beautifully on a lone piano. All of which surpass the actual material itself, but not the story it’s based upon.

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