Thoroughly Modern Millie

Music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan, and a book by Richard Morris and Scanlan. G and S Society of South Australia. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 28th September - 8th October 2016

It was with some trepidation that this reviewer ventured to the Arts Theatre, on a post- apocalyptic storm night, to see Thoroughly Modern Millie. Pre- show, director David Sinclair came to the stage to remind the audience that the show had missed its Technical Dress Rehearsal and official opening night due to the storms. We were asked to be understanding of this should it not go to plan. Well! If the plan was to explode onto the stage with joy and colour and lift the spirits of waterlogged Adelaide, it was a smash!

Rent The Musical

By Jonathon Larson. Blackout Theatre Company. The Joan, Penrith. September 28 – October 1, 2016

Blackout Theatre Co's production of Jonathon Larson's musical Rent is a real tribute to the shows themes of Love, Adversity and Community.

Twenty years after the Off Broadway Premiere, Director Jordan Anderson and his cast and crew have produced a real in-your-face and at times very moving night of theatre.

The cast of 36 (unusually large for this show) is strong vocally when they are all on stage together. The principal cast, together, form a very believable group of friends, though individually struggling with nerves and harmonies on opening night.

Croquiky Brothers

Oz Asia Festival. Saturday 1 October 2016 -Sunday 2 October, 2016.

The Croquiky Brothers are billed as “A hilarious comedy that includes live drawing of audience members, famous paintings and iconic objects. These two brothers from Korea can dance, draw and play air guitar, often all at the same time.” On a warm sunny afternoon at the Oz-Asia Festival, this reviewer joyfully experienced what can only be described as the eclectic and quirky talents of the brothers. From the moment the show began with bouncy music and crazy mime antics, the audience (and particularly the younger members) were hooked.

Vertigo 20

Vertigo Dance Company. OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. 30 Sep – 1 Oct, 2016

Our bodies have the ability to communicate emotion without saying a single word and that, teamed with inspiring choreography can be a very potent combination.  Vertigo Dance Company are based in Jerusalem and have been teaching and performing for 20 years. Their latest offering is a culmination of their works from the past two decades. Choreographer and co-founder Noa Wertheim takes us on a journey of self-discovery with stunning results.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

By Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater and Doug Wright. Phoenix Ensemble. Pavilion Theatre at Beenleigh, SE QLD. 30 September - 22 October, 2016.

The magic of Disney is not always easy to recreate, but Phoenix Ensemble seems to manage it again and again, and with the talent and direction of Morgan Garrity, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is indeed magical.

Beauty and the Beast

Composer: Alan Menken. Lyricists: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice. Book by Linda Woolverton. Wyong Musical Theatre Company. Directed by Amanda Daniel; Musical Director, Suzanne Stein and choreography by Karen Ophel. 23 September - October 1, 2016

Back in 1992, a full nine years before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created the "Best Animated Feature" category, the animated movie version of this classic fairytale had the audacity to be nominated for "Best Picture" - alongside arguably the most diverse group of nominees in Oscars history:  JFK, Bugsy, Prince of Tides and the winner, Silence of the Lambs.

The Young King

By Oscar Wilde, adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom. Slingsby. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. 29 September – 1 October, 2016.

Holding cards designating them as subjects from the extremities of the kingdom, the young audience enters through a series of dimly lit passages where they are offered chocolate and make paper crowns. One representative from each ‘region’ is given a gift to present when they meet the Young Prince. Bemused, they wait, the only sound their curious whispering and the constant ticking of a clock.

Pedal.Peddle & Castles

Double bill presented as part of the Boardwalk Republic by House of Sand. Created and performed by Eliza Sanders. Melbourne Fringe Festival. Gasworks, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. 27 & 30 September (Pedal) 27 September -1 October 2016 (Castles).

These shows work well as a double bill as the nature of the highly innovative and ground-breaking work of Eliza Sanders is unusual and heavily stylised, and this can require some acclimatising. Sanders merges a variety of art forms including dance, cabaret, theatre and visual and performance art. All of these forms are fully explored and their boundaries are often pushed to their limits. The abstract qualities of the show can present a challenge when trying to engage with the themes that are occurring, but the performance is always visually striking and aesthetically arresting.

Buried at Sea

Written & performed by Mark Salvestro. A Second Breakfast production. Melbourne Fringe. Directed by Phoebe Anne Taylor. Accompanied by Daniele Buatti. Belleville, Globe Alley, Melbourne CBD. 26 September – 1 October 2016.

Mark Salvestro tells an ostensibly true story about his Great Great Uncle George Bradford - and about himself.  Is it really true?  It doesn’t really matter: ‘true’ – merely true - can be a trap.  The question is, what does the playwright make of his ‘true’ story? 

Super Amazing Giant Girl

Devised by Anna Lumb. Performed by Anna Lumb and Gabi Barton. Melbourne Fringe Festival. La Mama Courthouse. 27 September – 1 October 2016.

Unlike her predecessor, the 50 Foot Woman from the 1958 schlock movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Anna Lumb is about as wholesome as you can get.  She’s bright-eyed, fresh-faced, athletic and she has a great big grin.  Nor was her Super Amazing Giant Girl transformed by aliens: she just somehow… grew to giant size and had to leave her country town – after, it’s true, demolishing some of it - and came to the city.  But a Giant Girl doesn’t fit in in the city either… 

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