Reviews

The Breakfast Club

Written by John Hughes. Adapted for the Stage and Directed by Jillian Logan. Presented by Endless Night Theatre Co Inc Don Craig Room, Laycock Street Community Theatre. May 5-8, 2016

When the “Laycock Street Community Theatre” first opened its doors in 1988, it was a shot in the arm for the local performing arts community. Several local independent theatre companies were formed, and staged highly creditable productions throughout the next decade. Then, with sharply rising theatre fees and continual changes in management, just as suddenly the commissioning of local productions diminished and production companies folded (or went into eternal hiatus) along with it.

Bonnie & Clyde The Musical

Music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and book by Ivan Menchell. Shire Music Theatre. Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. April 29 – May 8, 2016.

Walking into the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts on Sunday, to see the NSW Premiere of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical, I had no expectation of what I was about to see.

This was very refreshing and exciting, compared to seeing many of the same musicals playing at Amateur Musical Societies at the moment.

Director Jamie Lee Kemp and the company have taken a gamble on a lesser-known show. I was disappointed for the cast and crew to see such a small audience for a Sunday matinee.

Gorgon

By Elena Carapetis. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. 3-7 May, 2016.

Gorgon is a relatively rare example of a one-hour show that manages to cover rich terrain without feeling abbreviated or short changed; writer Elena Carapetis makes every moment count, and director Nescha Jelk - together with an exceptional team of performers and technicians - has presented us with a play that is full of both laughter and poignancy, while managing to make it all feel true to life.

The River

By Jez Butterworth. Red Stitch. Directed by John Kachoyan. 29th April – 28th May, 2016.

Much like the river itself after dark, Butterworth’s newest play is deep, mysterious and mesmerising. The restlessness of peripatetic flow is explored through those things we see on the surface, often minutiae and deceptive – the movement of the furniture, the gutting of a fish – but submerged at unfathomable depths there is menace, and secrets, and possibly even danger. And, like the river, the playwright only hints at how deep that menace lies.

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn. Beenleigh Theatre Group. Crete Street Theatre. April 29 – May 7, 2016.

The quintessential theatre-lover’s play, Noises Off arrives at Beenleigh Theatre Group, directed by Roslyn Johnson and Samuel Gregory. It is loaded with F’s…frantic, frolicking, and farcical. It was touted by many as the most hilarious show ever put onstage. Yet, with an amazing script come large expectations and the need for top talent.

Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Baldock. APRIL 29 - May 14, 2016.

Some may question the validity of another revival of Rose’s classic 1950s play about prejudice and  persistence. Those people really need to see this production, and their question will be answered for all time.

Rose’s claustrophobic drama is set in a jury room, and the problem has largely been, for stage, that the audience is too removed to feel truly connected to what is happening. It’s one of the reasons why the film was more successful; it allowed us to get in close, to see the beads of sweat on a top lip – to see the doubt in a man’s eyes.

The Last Romance

By Joe DiPietro. Toowoomba Repertory Theatre. Direction: Mike Taylor. 29 April – 14 May 2016

Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance is a charming, sweet play about love in your twilight years. Set in New Jersey, Ralph, an 80-year-old widower, whose passion is opera and who at one-time auditioned for the Met, unexpectedly meets Carol, a former executive secretary in a dog park where’s she’s walking her Chihuahua, Peaches.

Disney's Aladdin Jr.

Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice. Book adapted & additional lyrics by Jim Luigs. Music adapted and arranged by Brian Louiselle. Based on the screenplay by Ron Clements and John Musker, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Adelaide Youth Theatre. Arts Theatre. 28-30 April, 2016.

Can a wild and wonderful animated movie musical translate successfully to the stage? You bet it can; in the hands of Adelaide Youth Theatre, Disney’s Aladdin becomes a genuine treat.

Dad's Army

By Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Launceston Players. Directed by Jeff Hockley, co-directed by Mark Horner. Earl Arts Centre, Launceston. 26th April – 7th May 2016

Recreating the popular BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army could be risky business, unless you have a large pool of males to draw on. For Launceston Players director Jeff Hockley, there was a good choice and casting was spot-on. Dad’s Army is a much-loved production, with the crowds enjoying the fun and nostalgia.

Pennsylvania Avenue

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Starring Bernadette Robinson. Directed by Simon Phillips. Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. April 28 – May 22, 2016

Bernadette Robinson’s one-woman show Songs for Nobodies turned her into a theatrical star, with critics searching for superlatives, wondering where she’d been hiding all these years. So the next idea had to be a good one.

It’s a risky idea too: she and her Australian creative team devised a particularly American show, drawing inevitable comparisons to Broadway and off-Broadway performers, who are, after all, rather good at this kind of thing.

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