Reviews

Best Festival Ever: How to Manage a Disaster

Presented by Boho Interactive and Applespiel. The Street Theatre, Acton, Canberra. August 12 – 22, 2015

This fascinating work of interactive theatre allows attendees to participate as much as they feel comfortable doing so. It’s part theatre, part board game, and even partly a lecture. Come with a friend, or make new friends on the evening as you work together while sitting around a very long table to create what could well be the Best Festival Ever. While working together, playing games with consequences for your festival, and interacting with the narrative, you are incidentally learning more about things like systems science, game theory and more.

Dracula

Adapted from the original novel by Shake and Stir Theatre Co, (Co-Adaptors Nelle Lee & Nick Skubij). Director Michael Futcher. Cremorne Theatre, Brisbane. August 13 – September 15, 2015

You have to admire this young and enterprising troupe who travel the country with a repertoire of generally famous works they especially adapt for the stage. This is a demanding project to present on this occasion, with limited space and the use of a theme which is more than familiar ground for its audience.

But this particular company has its own personal stamp, and this production is no exception.

Love Off The Shelf

Book: Roger Hall, Lyrics: AK Grant, Music: Phillip Norman. Supa North Ballina RSL. Director and Musical Director: Paul Belsham. Aug 7th to 15th, 2015

Supa North’s decision to revive Love Off The Shelf has, once again, proven to be the right decision. Billed as “The Mills & Boon” musical, the flimsy storyline follows the ‘successful’ formula for writing a Romance novel.

Recreating their roles were Dean Doyle, Lee Millward, Liz van Eck and the multi-talented Brian Pamphilon (bringing back memories of Kenneth Williams from the “Carry On” films) revelling in his comic antics as nine decidedly different characters.

Bluebeard’s Castle

Monash University Academy of Performing Arts. Conductor: Warwick Stengards. Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University. August 9, 2015

I encountered the Monash Academy Orchestra last year, when they performed with Victorian Opera, and was impressed. But what works do you program for performance when you have almost one hundred students to accommodate?

In this instance, for their free concert, they chose two twentieth century Hungarian composers, Zoltán Kodály and Bela Bartók, who wrote for large orchestras. Also included was a work by local composer Thomas Reiner for soprano and flugelhorn.

On Our Selection

Adapted by Rod Anderson from the play by Bert Bailey. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Playhouse Theatre Hobart. Director: Rod Anderson. 14 -29 August 2015

Think On Our Selection and the work of Steele Rudd comes to mind, with remembered and loved characters of the Rudd family – Dad, Mother, Dave, Kate, Joe & Sarah. Director Rod Anderson has adapted the Bert Bailey play for this Hobart Repertory Theatre Society production. Although the play has echoes of the Steele Rudd literary characters it is not the same as his stories. The characters we have come to love from film, radio and theatre are all there, with all the classic Dad and Dave jokes and stories.

Nice Work If You Can Get

Music and Lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. Book by Joe DiPietro. Director: Roger Hodgeman. The Production Company. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. 15-23 August, 2015

Some shows demand a lot from an audience – they believe entertainment comes with a price beyond the value of the ticket. Not this show. This show is an old friend you haven’t seen for ages who is delighted by your presence and says “Sit down, relax and let me make you feel good.” And feel good you do, like you’ve just had strawberries and cream on a summer’s afternoon watching the ocean.

Antony & Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare. Presented by The Little Fish (SA). Directed by Linda Edwards. Marion Cultural Centre, 13-14 August. The Singing Gallery, 20-22 August. Kay Brothers Amery Wines, 29 August, 2015

The Little Fish is an offshoot of the Southern Youth Theatre Ensemble who have gone on to specialise in no-frills productions of The Bard’s work that are typically stripped back to the bare necessities in terms of production values, and usually involve a fair bit of gender-flipped casting in order to accommodate the company’s largely female ensemble.

The Book Of Loco

Presented by Windmill Theatre & Adelaide Festival Centre. Written by Alirio Zavarce. Directed by Sasha Zahra. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, 14-22 August, 2015

2001 was not a very good year for Venezuelan born Australian citizen, Alirio Zavarce – within the space of a few months, his long-time girlfriend dumped him, his mother died of cancer and the 9/11 terrorist attacks spawned a culture of paranoia in which immigrants were regarded with suspicion.

Dedications

Written by John O’Hara and Anthony Harkin. Directed by Anthony Harki. Chapel off Chapel 14th-15th August, 2015. Perth – Downstairs at the Maj 20-22 August. Geelong – GPAC 28th-29th Aug

What a marvellous gift to Cabaret is John O’Hara! When we see musical theatre people on stage – often in smaller roles – we have no conception of the breadth and depth of their talent….it takes Cabaret for them to really expose their gifts (in the nicest possible way). John’s gifts are broader than the sky and deeper than the ocean. In Dedications – inspired by the somewhat Kitsch late night radio show of love songs – O’Hara plays the DJ….

The Women

By Clare Boothe Luce. New Theatre, Newtown. Aug 11 – Sep 12, 2015.

The Women is a satiric commentary on the lives of the wealthy, pampered Manhattan socialites of the 1930s, their jealousies and the malicious gossip that shapes – and destroys – their relationships. Playwright, Clare Boothe Luce, who rose from being a menial worker to become a journalist, writer, member of Congress and ambassador to Italy, was a keen observer and recorder. Most of the rich ‘beauties’ she created for this play have few redeeming qualities.

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