Reviews

Fiddler on The Roof

Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Book by Joseph Stein. Directed by Roger Hodgman. Princess Theatre Melbourne, January 5, 2015 until end of Feb, 2016, the Capitol Theatre, Sydney from March 24, 2016.

When Tevye and the villagers open the show with a rousing rendition of “Tradition” at The Princess Theatre, they are singing, not just about history, but about the production itself. There’s nothing wrong with this new Fiddler, but there’s nothing new, exciting or innovative either. It’s traditional. If you like your theatre with a little bit of edge (and certainly the story lends itself to drama and edge) then you will be disappointed; ‘on the other hand’ if you’ve never seen Fiddler live before, you will probably love it.

Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa

Directed by Michael Barlow. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle, WA. Jan 4-30, 2016

Although I have had the pleasure of seeing Miss Lily's Fabulous Feather Boa before, this incarnation is perhaps even more magical, a gorgeous production aimed at kids, presented and received with joy.

Miss Lily is an exuberant and friendly crocodile, who runs a tropical holiday house. Among the guests are cricket-loving koalas and footy playing wombats, but most in need of Miss Lily's company is 'The Last Poteroo' who is lonely and feeling lost.

But Wait… There’s More

Circus Oz. Under the Big Top, Moore Park, Sydney. Dec 30 2015 – Jan 24, 2016

When you enter the foyer of the Circus Oz big top, there’s a man loudly selling programs, promising that if you buy, you can learn to read, become even smarter and pick up invaluable information to help “understand the show”. At interval, the same man is selling choc tops, again an over-the-top salesman, promising products that will change your life.

Mary Poppins

Music and lyrics by The Sherman Brothers and George Stiles and Anthony Drew. Book by Julian Fellowes. PLOS (Vic). Directed by Karl McNamara. Frankston Arts Centre. December 31st 2015 –January 9th 2016.

It’s becoming a tradition on the Mornington Peninsula….end the old year with a spectacular PLOS production, and Mary Poppins is certainly that – a delightful musical that offers the best of the 1964 Disney film married with additional music (not quite up to the standard of The Sherman Brothers) and with a book by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes. Essentially it’s the story of the Banks Family, which may be why the PLOS family tells it so beautifully.

Club Swizzle

Adelaide Festival Centre. The Space Theatre. 29 December 2015 – 17 January 2016

A combination of talent, originality and pizazz awaits you as you enter the world that is Club Swizzle. Four handsome and buff lads greet you with enthusiasm, promising you a wonderful evening ahead and with the help of an extraordinary company of performers, they deliver with aplomb.

Pinocchio

Writer: Les Winspear. Big Monkey Theatre. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart. Director: Les Winspear. 30 December 2015 – 24 January 2016

The timeless tale of Pinocchio, the puppet who wanted to be a boy, has been given fresh life by Big Monkey Theatre and the writing of Les Winspear, in the delightful setting of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This summer’s presentation is the 22nd family show at the gardens, and the beginning of this year’s public season. The actors - Will Pridmore,

Sport for Jove Summer Season 7

Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare, directed by Damien Ryan, Shakespearealism by Josh Lawson, directed by Lizzie Schebesta and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by Damien Ryan. Bella Vista Farm, Baulkham Hills, Dec 11 – 30, 2015 and The Everglades Garden, Leura, Jan 10 – 25, 2016

The presentation of these two renowned works at Bella Vista Farm is a remarkable achievement, a phenomenal experience for the audience and likely also for the cast and crew. Picnicing in the grass amphitheater in front of the new pavilion takes us on a journey back to the roots of theatre as a community pursuit and of the pageantry, drama and laughs it has delivered to humankind for many thousands of years. Sport for Jove do this so well. They are likely the best theatre company in Sydney and Damien Ryan is definitely the best director.

Cats

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. From TS Elliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Additional lyrics Trevor Nunn and Robert Stilgoe. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises and BASE Entertainment Asia in association with The Really Useful Group. Associate Director/ Choreographer Joanne Robinson. Regent Theatre, Melbourne until the end of January, 2016, and touring.

Cats as a show does not need anyone’s approval. It has already had life around the world for 34 years. It has the seal of approval from over a million theatre-goers. So when I hear a reviewer carrying on in a foyer about what a dreadful load of old rubbish it is, without redeeming features, and how much he hated it (yet he took the tickets), I am forced to re-iterate that a critic’s job is to review the PRODUCTION, not the source. As a production, this new version is a success and highly entertaining.

Georgy Girl

The Seekers Musical. By Patrick Edgeworth with script consultant Graham Simpson. Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: Stephen Amos. Choreographer: Michael Ralph. World Premiere - Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne: December 22, 2015.

Generally one’s musical tastes develop in the teenage years, so The Seekers are in my DNA. They were an aberration in the sixties, a clean-cut folk quartet in a sea of drugs, sex and Rock'n'Roll. I was looking forward to this bio-musical.

I was not disappointed.

Much of the music I remember was included and very well sung with exquisite harmonies, some a capella and the rest with the distinctive Seekers accompaniment. A number of songs I was unfamiliar with had been written by Judith Durham, and there were other songs from the period.

Waiting in the Wings

By Noël Coward. The Mount Players. Director: Chery Servis. 13 November – 5 December 2015

The Mount Players have just closed another very successful reworking of a significant, beautifully produced theatre classic.  It is wonderful to have the opportunity to enjoy the mores of theatre’s traditional cannon in the beautiful rural setting of Macedon.  Full marks must go to this highly regarded theatre company for not shying away from producing works with large older casts.  In fact The Mount Players has embraced that concept with this final production for the year with a high degree of success.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.