Reviews

Megan Hilty in Concert

Musical Director Matt Cusson. Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne. 8th June, 2016, and touring to Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

She has more sensational curves than are respectable, yet she’s not overtly sexual; she is a huge star on stage and screen, and yet she’s natural, even scratching her head, twirling her hair and saying ‘Um’ a lot; she’s everything the audience of Smash hoped for, yet nothing they expected. “Blonde Bombshell” is out, “lovely woman with a voice to die for” is IN.

Angels in America

By Tony Kushner. Black Swan State Theatre Company. Directed by Kate Cherry. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, WA. May 28-June 19, 2015

Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Part 1, Millennium Approaches, has never before been professionally performed in Western Australia. At one point the most performed play in the United States, it is a show that has been long awaited, and is now presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company.

Kate Cherry has assembled a very strong cast performing on Christina Smith's clinically clean, thoughtfully designed and smoothly transcending set.

Stolen

By Jane Harrison. National Theatre of Parramatta. Riverside Theatre Parramatta. June 2 – 17, 2016.

Jane Harrison’s poignant play about the experiences of the Stolen Generations has been performed all over Australia and in the UK, Hong Kong and Japan. It is apt that this new production, directed by Vicki Van Hout, opened during Reconciliation Week.

Double Indemnity

Written by Tom Holloway. Adapted from the Novella by James McCain. Directed by Sam Strong. MTC. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 30 - July 2, 2016.

Despite the disclosure on all advertising that this is NOT based on Billy Wilder’s 1944 film noir, the audience (and, seemingly, some of the critics) are clearly being influenced by the film. Don’t be. This is not a send-up or an homage, it’s a play, adapted from a book, and it deserves to be seen as such.

The plot is still basic – a jaded insurance salesman falls for a femme fatale and together they plot to kill her husband by an “accident” which pays double reward, but who is playing whom?

In The Heights

Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Exclaim Theatre (Australian Institute of Music). June 4 – 12, 2016.

Music Theatre aficionados keen to sample the work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway block-buster Hamilton, can get a fabulous introduction to his talents by seeing the Tony Award winning musical he wrote a few years previous - In The Heights.

Il Signor Bruschino

By Rossini. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Chapel off Chapel. Director: Lara Kerestes. Conductor: Pat Miller. June 6 – 12, 2016

Lyric Opera continues to astound. Performed in the round, this rarely heard Rossini one-acter was quite a romp, with strong performances from the talented cast. But it was the innovative direction which sold me.

Before the opera started Raphael Wong, as the Inn keeper, wandered around with a tray of coffee cups, offering drinks to the patrons. Then, during the overture, various characters came out to establish their credentials and set the scene. This was timed to the music and performed with confidence and precision.

Mira Fuchs

Choreography, video, text and performance by Melanie Jame Wolf. Arts House (North Melbourne Town Hall). 2 – 12 June 2016.

Mira Fuchs is a stripper.  The show is about stripping and being a stripper.  ‘Being’?  Working as.  Performing as.  Mira Fuchs’ creator, Melanie Jame Wolf, has been a club stripper and lap dancer for eight years, so she knows whereof she speaks – and dances.

Flesh-Eating Tiger

By Amy Tofte. Owl and Cat Theatre, Richmond VIC. 21 May to 4 June 2016.

He’s addicted to alcohol; she’s addicted to him.  That’s the tag line of Amy Tofte’s demanding ‘experimental’ text, which deliberately blurs what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘a play’ – i.e. a play within a play – and a play within a play within another play…  If that sounds even potentially confusing, that’s okay: the confusion – or disorientation – is deliberate and in a sense the point of the exercise.

Songs for a New World

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Luke Joslin. Musical direction by Geoffrey Castles. Blue Saint Productions. Chapel off Chapel. June 2nd- 12th, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it is 21 years since Jason Robert Brown first made his mark as a composer of Musical Theatre. Indeed, this song cycle – with it’s abstract structure – really didn’t give us a clue that Parade, The Last Five Years, 13 and The Bridges of Madison County were still ahead of him.

The Winter’s Tale

By William Shakespeare. Presented by Class Act Theatre and directed by Stephen Lee, Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, 1 -11 June, 2016.

This is a play with two worlds that seem at odds; the Kingdoms of Sicilia and Bohemia are vastly different places with strangely intertwined destinies. Sicilia is portrayed as a place of grace and elegance but beneath the smooth and polished veneer lies the seeds of tyranny. King Leontes (Adam May) makes an almost inexplicable descent into madness through his insane jealousy of his friend Polixenes (Paul Robertson), King of Bohemia. This psychological journey is conveyed with intensity and vigour, and May is gripping as a man besieged by his own overactive imagination.

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