Reviews

Li’l Abner

Music by Gene de Paul. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Directed by Martin Croft. VCA GRADUATING STUDENTS. Space 28. VCA. 18 - 28 September 2014.

What a terrific fun show Li’l Abner is, even though it is so seldom performed. The VCA Music Theatre Graduating Students give us a zippy and colourful production, expertly directed by the marvellous Martin Croft with a terrific set by  Adam Gardnir and dozens of colourful costumes  by Harriet Oxley.

 

Black Diggers

By Tom Wright. Queensland Theatre Company, Sydney Festival and Brisbane Festival, in association with QPAC and The Balnaves Foundation. 24 September - 12 October, 2014

I went along to this with false expectations. I loved Joan Littlewood’s satirical Oh What a Lovely War! Later,I directed a production of it. I guess I expected a black Ozzie version.

 

Scotch and Soda

Starring Company 2 (Performer/directors David Carberry and Chelsea McGuffin) and The Crusty Suitcase Band (Director/Composer Ben Walsh). Judith Wright Centre and Brisbane Festival;  23-27 September 2014

Want a night out without being bombarded by idle chatter and verbal display? Want to be transfixed for over an hour?

 

Company 2 is a Brisbane based multi-disciplinary company who uses the circus, dance and live music as their platform and who on this occasion was accompanied by a raunchy selection of on-stage musicians/characters formed from the backbone of the Sydney jazz underworld.

7

National Institute of Circus Arts. Director: Meredith Kitchen. Production Manager & Lighting Design: Eduard Ingles. Sound Designer: Angelique Ross. NICA, Prahran. 24-27 September and 1-4 October, 2014

In an exciting display second year students from NICA constructed and performed three ensemble pieces exploring their responses to, and their interpretations of, “7”.

 

This was a satisfying demonstration of the lessons of collaboration, performance focus, physical theatre and a broad range of circus skills. There were moments of danger and humour.

 

Anything Goes

Music and Lyrics by:Cole Porter. New Book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. Musical Theatre Crew. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. Director: Leiz Moore. 12 -27 September 2014

Hobart’s Musical Theatre Crew’s Senior Ensemble gave this reviewer an interesting experience when they presented Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. With a ready supply of talented young musical theatre students to choose from, producers Allan Jeffery and Leiz Moore, also the director, rehearsed the vibrant musical with an alternating cast. Producer Jeffrey suggested that I should “see both casts, because they are both good.” 

The Riders

By Iain Grandage, based on the Tim Winton novel. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Richard Mills. Director: Marion Potts. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse. September 23 - October 4, 2014

Victorian Opera was back to their usual fare with a world premiere of a commissioned opera by composer Iain Grandage. The Riders was based on the Tim Winton novel of the same name and was a dark piece. 

 

The Motherf**ker with the Hat

By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Adam Cook. Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Sept 19th – Oct 19th, 2014

American writer Stephen Adly Guirgis can’t be accused of false advertising – he clearly signals the extreme nature of his play in its title. That title may often be censored – it’s previously been called The ________ With the Hat and even The Mother with the Hat – but no punches are pulled on stage. It’s an intense work, violent in both its language and the actions the characters pursue.

Bombshells

By Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by David Bell. Coopers Malthouse, Melbourne, 23-28 September, 2014.

A one-woman show by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, Bombshells is a series of six monologues, each showcasing a different character and performed in this production by Christen O’Leary.

Tres Miserables

Melbourne Fringe 2014. Seemingly Evil Productions. September 19 – 26, 2014

I was frustrated to miss this show at the Comedy Festival and pleased to find it repeated here. It did not disappoint.

If you were looking for an abbreviated version of “Les Mis” to make it easier to follow the plot, you were in the wrong place! This was a delightful romp based loosely on the original, taking every chance to poke fun at current targets.

Parade

Music and lyrics Jason Robert Brown. Book by Alfred Uhry. Directed by James Cutler. The Collective. 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. Sept 18th - 28th, 2014

In one remarkable night of theatre last week we cried, were horrified, grew angry and outraged, had our hearts broken, marvelled and finally stood and cheered to toast the birth of a new theatre company – The Collective – and its remarkable gift to us all – Jason Robert Brown’s and Alfred Uhry’s sensational multi award (including Tonys for book and score) winning Parade.

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