Reviews

Blue/Orange

By Joe Penhall. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). October 29 – November 29, 2014.

Considering that this play takes a sardonic look at race, mental illness, ambition and the inadequacies of medical systems, you might expect it to be fairly heavy, which in parts it is – but it is laced with wit and humour that skillfully diffuses the otherwise seriousness of the themes.

Gasp!

By Ben Elton. Directed by Wesley Enoch. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Northbridge WA. Oct 25 - Nov 9, 2014

Black Swan State Theatre Company and Queensland State Theatre Company's co-production ofGasp! is a fascinating production with an intriguing story-line. Gorgeously presented, it is a celebration of the brilliant mind of Ben Elton.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. Mainstage Theatre Society. Peacock Theatre, Hobart. Director: Don Gay . 23 Oct. – 2 Nov. 2014

A musical play based on the popular and long-running comic strip “Peanuts” is a good vehicle for adults to enjoy being children again. Mainstage Theatre Company enjoyed presenting the delightful musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the Peacock Theatre in Hobart. The famous rock wall of the Peacock Theatre was obscured by scrim, behind which sat four band members playing percussion, bass, piano and flute, under the musical direction of Amanda Harper, who played flute and set the pace for two hours of energetic action.

Potted Potter

Writers and Creators - Daniel Clarkson and Jeferson Turner. Directed by Richard Hurst. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Oct 28th – Nov 2nd, 2014

You may well be asking, as a theatre-goer, what is Potted Potter? Well, it’s a load of corny old gags, slapstick comedy, audience participation, pantomime, schoolboy Fringe humour and Tommy Cooper’s wig changing shtick melded together loosely (very) with a send up of all JK Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books…nothing we haven’t seen before. Why then, you might ask, is it bringing down the house…or at least the Playhouse, in our esteemed Arts Centre?

Totem

Conceived and directed by Robert Lepage. Cirque du Soleil. Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney. 28 September 2014 – 4 January 2015

There are no elephants, tigers or performing dogs in Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, and no red-nosed, slapstick clowns, either. That kind of circus has gone forever. Totem is the latest, top-end example of modern circusing: highly theatrical gymnastics.

The ‘specialty acts’ that once allowed time for the clowns to clear the lions before bringing on the dancing horses are now the undisputed stars of the show.

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. Kay & McLean Productions and Theatre Royal Bath Productions. Director: Lindsay Posner. Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane, 23 October – 8 November 2014; Regal Theatre, Perth, 13-29 November; Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, 3-7 December 2014

Noël Coward never dates as this splendid production of Hay Fever proves. His 90-year-old play is as fresh, frothy, and as frivolous as when he first wrote it, and this ensemble of actors, headed by the insouciant and delightful Felicity Kendal, deliver each witty riposte with finesse.

Otello

By Giuseppe Verdi. State Opera of South Australia. Adelaide Festival Theatre. October 25 – November 1, 2014

Top marks to State Opera of South Australia for yet another programming milestone.  Never afraid to schedule little-known or challenging works – witness Dead Man Walking, and this year's Philip Glass Trilogy – they are now giving Adelaide opera-lovers the rare chance to see a seldom-performed late masterwork by Giuseppe Verdi.

Cats

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics: Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Nova Music Theatre (Vic). Director: Noel Browne. Musical Director: John Clancy. Choreographer: Wayne Robinson. October 24 – November 9, 2014.

For anyone not familiar with this massive international hit, Cats is an unusual musical. Based on a series of children’s poems by T.S Eliot, there is no clear story line, so it is difficult to get involved with the characters. However, Nova made a strong case for this unique show.

Home Grown

Various Musical Theatre Composers and artists. Chapel off Chapel. 26th Oct and then Dec 7th, 2014

Six months ago Home Grown was started in the back room of a pub. It was designed to give a platform to new Musical Theatre composers to showcase their work. Since then it has garnered audiences and volunteer performances from some of our finest musical performers.

Kryptonite

By Sue Smith. A State Theatre Company SA and Sydney Theatre Company production. The Space Theatre, Festival Centre, Adelaide. October 22-November 9, 2014

Kryptonite is a brilliant new work by celebrated playwright, screenwriter and script editor Sue Smith. Produced in Sydney by Sydney Theatre Company and now in Adelaide by State Theatre SA, the play is nothing short of stunning in every respect, including its production.

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