Reviews

Almost Face to Face

Written & performed by Stephen House. Directed by Peter Green. The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne CBD. 8 – 12 May 2018

There’s no doubt – and it’s not saying anything new – that Stephen House is a superb raconteur.  With a subtle change of voice or tone, a flick of the eyes, an inclination of the head, an unsteady step or a rapid move across the bare stage he conjures up characters and places vividly.  They are the characters and places of the Dublin demi-monde – addicts, prostitutes, rent boys, dealers and drifters. 

Cinderella and Scheherazade

Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Richard Davis. Host: Guy Noble. Piano: Calvin Abdiel. Concert Hall, QPAC. 6 May 2018

Fairytales have been the inspiration for some of the world’s most beloved ballets, musicals and films - Disney built a franchise on them - so when the QSO decided to theme their Music on Sundays program around music that was inspired by them, there was no shortage of material. This 90-minute program, which offered the work of eight composers, was not only diverse in its selection but populist.

The Aspie Hour

The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. May 3 – 5, 2018

Two people sharing their experiences of Asperger’s Syndrome through cabaret. The show was so popular in the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, they added three extra performances at The Butterfly Club after the festival finished. Originally developed for the Ballarat Cabaret Festival in 2017, Aspie Hour creators and performers Sophie Smyth and Ryan Smedley open our minds and hearts to what it’s like to live with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Big Fish

Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by John August. Phoenix Ensemble (Qld). April 27 – May 19, 2018.

A folksy fairy tale about the importance of not being earnest, Daniel Wallace’s 1998 best-seller Big Fish has swum upriver from page to screen to stage, first inspiring a 2003 Tim Burton movie, then a 2013 Broadway musical and now playing at Phoenix Ensemble as the Queensland premiere, directed by Tammy Linde. 

Camelot

By Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music). Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. Directed by Neroli Sweetman. May 4-12, 2018

Old Mill Theatre is reviving the classic musical Camelot by Lerner and Loewe, in South Perth, in a beautiful looking production that feels good and sounds lovely.

George Boyd creates a vast Camelot on the pocket size stage, his beautiful sets supplemented by stunning projections co-ordinated by Blake Jenkins. Michelle Sharp’s costumes are picture-book polished and pretty - especially the gorgeous gowns on Guinevere.

Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and America

By Stephen Sewell. University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Little Theatre, University of Adelaide. 5 - 19 May, 2018

As part of their 80th Anniversary program, the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild has produced Stephen Sewell’s acclaimed 2003 play Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and America. This is the South Australian premiere of this play, which is rather surprising considering the success of the play fifteen years ago.

Hungry Ghosts

By Jean Tong. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. 3 – 19 May 2018

Three strands combine and interweave here, never sacrificing clarity and demonstrating powerfully that the personal is political – and vice versa.  This is highly articulate, intelligent, driven writing – and the whole, just under an hour, takes on the quality of a prose poem or music with theme and variations.

Seer

Based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story Shadow. House of Vnholy. 2018 Next Wave Festival at Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Main Theatre, Darebin Arts Centre. May 4 – 8, 2018

Seer is a bold and solo death experience!

House of Vnholy has developed a high concept production on the subject of death.  Death is always a sad and frightening thought, but when you are forced to contemplate the subject in the form of an art installation, this immersive ordeal can be a challenging and somewhat spine-chilling encounter.

Best of British

Queensland Pops Orchestra. Conductor: Patrick Pickett. Resonance of Birralee, Toowoomba Contemporary Chorale, BBC Pipes and Drums, Watkins Academy of Dance. Guest Artists: Elizabeth Lewis & Sam Hartley. Concert Hall, QPAC. 5 May 2018

A clutch of stirring Empire songs, some G&S, a touch of Riverdance and a splash of the Edinburgh Tattoo were the ingredients for Queensland Pops Orchestra’s annual Best of British concert. Based on London’s famous Last Night of the Proms concerts which began in 1895, the local version has notched up 30 years since being established by Colin Harper in the 80s.

Rent The Musical

Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Original Concept and Additional Lyrics by Billy Aronson. Directed by Tim Hill. Presented by QPAC & Matt Ward Entertainment. Cremorne Theatre. 2 – 20 May, 2018

This beloved musical that exploded on Broadway in the mid nineties to redefine the genre is back, playing for a limited season in Brisbane. While some of the libretto is definitely showing its age, the opening-night audience at the Cremorne still connected with the themes of love, art and La Vie Bohème.

Director Tim Hill is clearly one of those people for whom the musical holds special significance. He’s approached the production with meticulous attention to detail and palpable passion. As such, he’s drawn out some outstanding work from his cast and crew.

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