Reviews

Hello, Dolly!

Book by Michael Stewart. Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. The Production Company. Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne. 27 May to 11 June, 2017

Hello, Dolly! is one of Broadways most successful musicals and, not surprisingly, the music by Jerry Herman is delightful and the story adapted by Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker is full of humanity and lovely witty lines.

This simple story about finding love in New York is universal, heartwarming and presented in a wholly engaging, fluid way by The Production Company.

Only Heaven Knows

Music, Book and Lyrics by Alex Harding. Luckiest Productions and Hayes Theatre Company. May 30 - July 1, 2017

It is impossible to conceive of any company staging this work with any more passion and heart than this production team and cast. The atmosphere on opening night, in Kings Cross where the musical is set, was not just of a company putting on a show – but more like a group on a mission.

The Kingfisher

By William Douglas Hume. Javeenbah Theatre Co, Nerang, Gold Coast.. Director: Nathan Schulz. May 26th - June 10th, 2017.

“How long would you wait for a second chance?” is the question asked of the audience by Javeenbah’s current production.

The answer is fifty years for the cast of The Kingfisher. This three-handed romantic comedy stars Chris Hawkins and Vivian Gian (pictured) with Graham Scott as the long serving / long suffering butler to Sir Cecil. When, after fifty years, Sir Cecil’s first love, Evelyn, unexpectedly contacts him and arranges a visit, strong emotions come to the fore all round.

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical.

Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Director: Ben Todd. Musical Director: Ben Stefanoff. Choreographer: Rebekah Stonelake. Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 26 May – June 3, 2017.

‘Tis certainly the season in Adelaide for releasing our dark sides onto the musical stage! MCMT’s production of the classic R.L. Stevenson tale is an example of musical theatre that takes us back in time while attempting to both touch our emotions and jangle our nerves, rather than simply push our nostalgia buttons. Boasting a brilliant central portrayal, some strong supporting performances, a talented ensemble, and generally impressive musical/technical qualities, this Jekyll & Hyde is a winner.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

By Jeffrey Archer. 1812 Theatre (Vic). 25th May to 17th June, 2017.

In Jeffrey Archer’s play Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Sir David Metcalf finds himself accused of the willful murder of his terminally ill wife. After an overwrought courtroom scene, we see Sir Metcalf locked in an extensive legal struggle with his adversary, Anthony Blair-Booth QC. The audience is lead to believe that this is the end for Sir Metcalfe, as his former housekeeper claims to have witnessed the fatal act, and testifies against him.

Rumors

By Neil Simon. WWLT. Directed by Shea Wicks. The Peninsula Theatre Woy Woy. May 26-June 11, 2017

''I was going through some difficult times,'' Neil Simon says. ''This marriage I was in was breaking up. My daughter's husband was killed in an automobile accident. It seemed like rough going. And I said I wanted to work, because work is always a cathartic process for me, and I thought it would be really good just to get into a comedy.''

Doubt: A Parable

By John Patrick Shanley. Apocalypse Theatre Company, in association with Red Line Productions. Directed and produced by Dino Dimitriadis. Old Fitz Theatre. May 10 – June 3, 2017.

A fascinating, compelling production by Apocalypse Theatre Company - 90 minutes of dramatic explosions of inner turmoils and emotions by an excellent cast.

Shrine

By Tim Winton. Kin Collective. Fortyfivedownstairs. 24 May – 18 June 2017

Tim Winton’s Shrine is a play about grief.  How grief is experienced differently by different people; how grief can mask guilt or be poisoned by it; how grief can be driven by anger and blame; and how grief can be simply an aching emptiness. 

2071

By Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley. The Seymour Centre, Sydney, in association with the Australian Theatre for Young People. Director: Tim Jones. 27 May – 10 June 2017

We were expecting a good ‘talking to’, a resume of the facts of climate change, and how the year 2071 was going to be The Big One. Only 54 years to go! Lawks, we huddled together in the Everest Theatre and prepared for the worst.

Instead, here was the excellent John Gaden in the role of Professor Chris Rapley delivering a 72-minute lecture on the subject, carefully tiptoeing through a maze of detail. Ever alert to the dangers of overstating his case, the Professor couched his words carefully. 

Slap Talk

By Action Hero. Arts House, North Melbourne. 11 am to 5 pm, Sunday 28 May (only) 2017

Two performers (Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse) are six hours on stage.  They speak at each other – and often past each other – but not to each other.  They speak into cameras and they read from auto-cues (so they don’t have to remember six hours of text).  We can see them, on stools or advancing toward or retreating from their cameras, stage right and stage left.  We can see their faces in Close-Up or Extra-Close-Up on monitors down stage.  Their ‘dialogue’ begins as a heightened version of two boxers, pre-fight, attempting

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