Reviews

The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me

By David Drake. Directed by Kynan Francis. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. August 12 – 17, 2014

The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me follows the life of a young gay man in New York City from the early 1980s - his initial awakening to his sexuality, his coming out and introduction to the NYC gay scene, the onset of HIV/AIDS into this milieu and its denizens’ response to the crisis.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Book by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters. Music and Lyrics by Neil Sedaka. Supa North. Director/Musical Director: Paul Belsham. Ballina RSL Club. August 8th – 16th, 2014

This is a tribute show to the music and lyrics of Neil Sedaka featuring some of his many chart topping hits: Where the Boys Are, Sweet Sixteen, Calendar Girl and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

The story is shallow and the dialogue corny but the saving grace is the unmistakable music which brings memories flooding back of growing up in the sixties.

Elegies: A Song Cycle

By William Finn, directed by Stephen Wheat. Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, Melbourne. August 11, 2014.

Multi Tony award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle was brought stylishly to life last night at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club by five skillful and committed performers. It seemed for all the world as if we were in an intimate Manhattan cabaret room, so deeply did the cast draw us into an intricate world of love, remembrance and loss, recounting stories from the lives of various characters whose fates were at times intertwined.

Mutts

By Johnny Grim. Arena Arts. Directed by Jane Sherwood. LC Theatre, Belmont WA. 8-23 Aug 2014

The world premiere of Mutts, subtitled A Tail of Life Behind Bars, reveals a warm-hearted new play by Johnny Grim that tells of dogs in a home for strays.

Arena Arts second production in their new home at The Latvian Centre, also supports Desperate For Love Pound Rescue (DFL) with some lovely real dogs who are looking for homes making guest appearances in the foyer.

Cowra No Hancho Kaigi (Honchos Meeting in Cowra)

Written and directed by Yoji Sakate. Presented by Rinkogun Theatre. The Street Theatre, Canberra, 6-7 August 2014. Australian Premiere.

The little NSW town of Cowra's major claim to fame is that it was the scene of the largest prisoner of war breakout ever in history. 1104 Japanese POWs set their huts on fire and stormed three rows of razor wire fences, protecting themselves with blankets, baseball mitts and clothing. 234 died, and the remainder were rounded up over several days. This production of Honchos Meeting in Cowra is to commemorate the 70thanniversary.

Downtown!

Created by Phillip George, David Lowenstein, Peter Charles Morris. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directors: Cilla Scott and Kim Reynolds. August 8th – 30th, 2014

This “feel good” production was a hit from the very first note to the last curtain call.

Full of the hits of the sixties, Downtown is a tribute to all the stars of that groovy, mod music and the cool singers like Lulu, Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield that gave us hit after hit.

Secret Bridesmaids’ Business

By Elizabeth Coleman. Blackwood Players. Blackwood Memorial Hall. Fridays and Saturdays August 8-23, 2014.

When they choose ‘tried and true’ material Blackwood Players have the capacity to stage very watchable shows and they are on a winner with Elizabeth Coleman’s bittersweet Australian comedy, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.

Cranky Bear

Based on Australian Nick Bland’s picture book, The Very Cranky Bear . Patch Theatre Company. Odeon Theatre, Norwood (SA), from August 4, 2014 followed by Regional and Metro schools tour through September.

With 42 years’ experience, Patch Theatre Company have perfected the recipe for high quality children’s theatre. The auditorium was abuzz with the chatter, excitement and anticipation of youngsters eagerly awaiting the performance of Cranky Bear. Based on the children’s book The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland, director Dave Brown and company have put together a delightful, interactive piece which was entertaining to young and old alike.

Journey’s End

By R.C. Sherriff. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Robert Jarman Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 8–16 August 2014

In this year of the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, Hobart Repertory Theatre Society is to be congratulated for presenting Journey’s End, written by R.C Sherriff, as an observation of the futility of war, rather than as a glorification of war.

Joan Again

By Paul Gilchrist. subtlenuance in association with Sydney Independent Theatre Company. Old Fitzroy Theatre. August 5 – 23, 2014.

Apparently there were at least four imposters who claimed to be a ‘resurrected’ Joan of Arc in the twenty years after her fiery execution. In this play, Paul Gilchrist has imagined yet another ‘appearance’ in an impoverished little French village where a family struggles to survive raising ducks to provide feathers for pillows. Theirs is a thankless existence broken only by the stories that some of them weave.

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