The Diary of Anne Frank

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. New Theatre, Sydney. June 11 - July 11, 2015.

Last week was Anne Frank’s 86thbirthday and one can imagine that had not World War Two intervened, most likely she would still be alive today, tending her flock of grandchildren and keeping her razor sharp mind amused with a busy schedule.

I found my visit to the now famous house in Holland where she spent two years particularly haunting. Peering at the pictures of Anne as a school-girl she very closely resembled my mother.  Only good fortune allowed some to escape Europe before it was too late.

Dash Kruck: I Might Take My Shirt Off

Cabaret at the Cremorne, QPAC Brisbane. Complete season: 11-20 June 2015. Then, Butterfly Club, Melbourne, June 23 - 28, 2015.

This is the first night of a series of seven different shows featuring a variety of performers strutting their stuff in true cabaret style at the transformed Cremorne Theatre. With a selection of tables and chairs scattered around the front stalls and a live band, Dash Kruck, a familiar face around the Brisbane theatre traps, plays Lionel, a shy, somewhat confused first-nighter on a reluctant World Premiere of his debut cabaret show, incorporating a musical evening of sex, booze, boys and mythical beasts.

Looking For Lawson

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 12-13 June, 2015.

The theatre has been beautifully lit and elegantly presented. Three performers are here to inhabit this 'Space' for an hour or so, paying tribute to a man who has left behind him a legacy of human observation, of emotional expression, of poems that have now become songs, due to the initiative of singer/composer/keyboardist John Thorn.

Turner’s Turn

Geraldine Turner with Brad Miller (Piano). Qld Cabaret Festival. Brisbane Powerhouse & Enda Markey. Brisbane Powerhouse. 12 June 2015

Anyone who starts their cabaret act with “Rose’s Turn” has got guts, and Geraldine Turner certainly has plenty of that. The iconic song from Gypsy, immortalised by Ethel Merman as Mama Rose, is every diva’s dream role, and whilst Turner missed out on playing it three times, she was born to put her stamp on the part as she proved last night.

Jobim: The Sound Of Ipanema & Beyond

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Festival Theatre, Adelaide. June 12-14, 2015

Antonio Carlos Jobim was a Brazilian songwriter/guitarist/pianist who is probably best known to English speaking audiences as the composer of “The Girl From Ipanema” and “How Insensitive”, two of the most frequently recorded standards of all time. His earlier instrumental work was influential in establishing the “bossa nova” as a fixture in jazz music that endures to this day. Yet much of his wider body of work remains obscure (outside of Brazil anyway) and crosses over a more eclectic range of genres than his biggest hits might suggest.

The Songs That Got Away: The Music of Harold Arlen

Written and performed by Johanna Allen. Directed by Stuart Maunder. Melbourne Recital Centre. 12th-13th June, 2015 (3 shows only)

Although we don’t see it that often these days, we still know Class when we see it, and Johanna Allen is one very classy lady.

Pure Blonde – Christie Whelan Browne

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Artspace. June 11 – 13, 2015

Award winning director Dean Bryant and musical maestro Mathew Frank have produced a show that pays homage to the blondes of musical theatre and what better performer to bring to life this cabaret than accomplished triple threat Christie Whelan Browne.

Mother Courage and Her Children

By Bertolt Brecht. Translation by Michael Gow. Belvoir, Upstairs Theatre. June 6 – July 26, 2015.

A rectangle painted in the corner of the performance space and a few props, costumes and musical instruments set a bleak scene for this austere production of Brecht’s episodic play about wartime carnage and profiteering. So minimalist is the set, that Mother Courage’s wagon – a bright red modern mobile roadside street stall complete with coloured lights and a roll down counter – seems almost anachronistic.

Drowning in Veronica Lake

Phil Ormsby. Directed by Simon Coleman. Presented by Purple Stage in association with Gasworks Arts Park and Flaxworks Theatre. Touring in 2015.

Alex Ellis is a compelling actress. Her flair, strength and emotional range draw the audience into the world of Veronica Lake from the very first moment that one enters the theatre. Alex Ellis presents as the archetypal screen siren clad in a version of her famous pale satin dress in The Glass Key, a shapely silhouette facing the back of the stage.  She turns, and invites us to join her on a sad, mad and exhilarating romp through Miss Lake’s life journey.

Fool for Love

By Sam Shepard. Directed by Gabriella Rose-Carter. Q44 Theatre Richmond (Vic). June 10th -28th, 2015

Once again I find myself singing the praises of a small independent theatre company with impeccable taste and a thirst for excellence. Sam Shepard’s play on the nature of love is not an easy one to handle. It deals with concepts of love/hate, obsession, guilt, dysfunction, abandonment, shame and betrayal (all within a real-time framework of  70 minutes), and yet manages to find comedy and some lightness within the context. It’s deceptive, and so multi-layered that you need time to think about it afterwards.

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