Reviews

Dreamland

Written and directed by Terri Woodfine. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. July 1st to July 11th, 2015

Panto is a wonderful way to introduce young people to the theatre and this show was a great start for my 5 year old, who was unsure what to expect.

The story: young people’s dreams taken over by nightmares and with the help of the Sandman’s magic sand, the dreams are released and everyone lives happily ever after.

Lots of songs and wonderful costumes and the traditional Panto Dame (Alex Breen) added to the fun.

Saltwater and Letters Home

By Jamie Lewis and Joe Lui respectively. TheatreWorks, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda. 1-12 July, 2015

This double bill provides the opportunity to enjoy the experimental work of two young Singaporean performance artists. Although they are two independent pieces they are tied together by strong thematic connections.

I Puritani

By Bellini. Victorian Opera. Hamer Hall. July 2, 2015

Victorian Opera’s latest venture, I Puritani, was a triumph. Performed in concert at Hamer Hall, the orchestra was on stage with the chorus behind and several music stands along the front. As required, soloists came on stage to sing, and left when they’d finished. No director was credited in the program, but I felt someone must have directed traffic as there was nothing static about this performance.

Mary Poppins

Music & Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles, Anthony Drewe. Book: Julian Fellowes. Matt Byrne Media. Arts Theatre Adelaide from July 2 – 18, 2015 and Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth from July 25 – Aug 1, 2015.

A whimsical tale about a magical nanny with a life lesson thrown in for good measure. Director Matt Byrne has produced a delightful production that will serve your childhood memories well. This childhood book made into a musical has been on the stage somewhere around the world since 2004. Bringing such a well- known character to life can be fraught with comparisons, but you would be harsh not to enjoy the energetic display of talent on the stage.

Peter Pan

Ballet by Trey McIntyre. Music: Edward Elgar and Neil DePonte. Music arranged by Neil DePonte with further instrumental arrangement by Andrew Mogrelia. Queensland Ballet @ Playhouse, QPAC. 1 July 2015.

Peter Pan flew into Brisbane just in time for the school holidays in a captivating and witty production of J.M. Barrie’s eternally youthful character.

Pluck!

Written by Steve McCall. Directed by Alan Chambers. Butterfly Club Melbourne. June 30 – July 5.

Pluck! is described as a black comedy that "grapples head on with love, lust, God and what (if anything) it means to be a man." True enough, snippets of all those thematic concerns were presented throughout this truly odd play, albeit in an extremely piecemeal way. It is the story of one Dr Pluck (Brendan Ewing), an unlikeable, self-deluded egotist who is, inexplicably, married to a woman with whom he seems to have no chemistry or connection whatsoever.

More Female Parts

By Sara Hardy. Directed by Lois Ellis. The Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne. June 30 - July 4, 2015

Evelyn Krape is an astoundingly fit, energetic and generous performer with impeccable comic timing.  More Female Parts offers a wonderful opportunity to watch a real tour de force performer, who is well over sixty, wow an audience.

Female Parts by Dario Fo and Franca Rame, as performed by Evelyn Krape from 1982, was one of those amazing works of theatre that was highly regarded in its era. is comprised of three stories of, and perhaps for, women in their sixties.   

Shit

By Patricia Cornelius, in collaboration with director Susie Dee. MTC Neon Festival of Independent Theatre. Southbank Theatre, the Lawler (VIC). 25 June to 5 July 2015.

Shitis confrontational theatre: it’s aggressive, foul-mouthed, angry and challenging.  It’s also heart-breaking and poignant.  There are three women on stage – Billie, Bobbie and Sam.  The kind of women genteel people avoid in the street or on public transport: high volume, obscene, kind of messy and spoiling for a fight.  The kind of women who are ‘pretty awful’, says the program note from Ms Cornelius and Ms Dee, but they add, ‘They’ve got good reason to be.’

 

Australia Day

By Jonathan Biggins. Director: Jonathan Biggins. Christine Harris & Hit Productions. Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. 25-26 June 2015 (Touring Nationally).

Christine Harris’s touring production of Australia Day is explosively funny. A terrific ensemble cast bring Jonathan Biggins’ satirical-swipe at our national day institution gloriously to life. It’s a better production than the one QTC mounted last year, and with the added advantage of having the writer at the helm, tighter and sharper. And thankfully it’s minus those annoyingly choreographed scene changes which were a distraction of the work by QTC.

 

Triassic Parq

By Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Stephen Wargo. Squabbalogic Independent Music Theatre. Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney. June 17 – July 4, 2015.

Triple threat dinosaurs roam the Reginald jungle, downstairs at the Seymour Centre. It’s an attractive, effective, moveable potted-palm-populated set design by Neil Shotter, very much in on the joke, aided and abetted by clever lighting and atmospherics from Mikey Rice.

Just when you thought musicals had become deep and meaningful, along comes a silly pop culture musical comedy, sending up Hollywood blockbuster excesses, reminding you that once all that was asked of the genre were song, dance and gags.

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