Reviews

Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas. Axis of Awesome

Part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Famous Spiegeltent at Federation Square, 8 Apr – 20 Apr.

Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas is the latest show from Axis of Awesome, a comedy rock and roll trio who are regulars at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Well known for their YouTube clips, Axis of Awesome parody popular music styles with original material poking fun at generic song structures, along with mashups of existing numbers.

The State of the Tasmanian Economy

By Jonathan Biggins. Blue Cow Theatre Company (World Premiere). Director: Robert Jarman. Theatre Royal, Hobart. 10–12 April 2014

The State of the Tasmanian Economy, written by Jonathan Biggins for Blue Cow Theatre, is a comedy marriage made in heaven, set in Tasmania. Playwright and political satirist Biggins was commissioned to write a new comedy play for profit-share theatre company Blue Cow Theatre. The result was a funny, fast laugh-fest for the world premiere production, ideal for an experienced collection of actors.

Interplay

Sydney Dance Company. Canberra Theatre Centre, 10–12 April. Southbank Theatre, Melbourne, 30 April – 10 May, 2014

Interplay is a collection of three modern dance works by contemporary choreographers.  The first, 2 in D minor, choreographer (and SDC director) Rafael Bonachela set to excerpts from J.S.

Dreamsong

Music by Robert Tripolino. Book and lyrics by Hugo Chiarella. Directed by Dean Bryant. Theatreworks, St Kilda. 9th-20th April, 2014

The wealth of talent currently in Musical Theatre – in Melbourne alone – is truly staggering. When you put wunderkinds Tripolino and Chiarella together with a fabulous cast and current “flavour of the month” director Dean Bryant, in a brand new Australian musical that is a biting satire on organised churches, you can expect it to be something very special indeed.

Love's Labour's Lost

By William Shakespeare. A Company of Strangers. Directed by Geoffrey Dawes. Star Theatres, Hilton (SA). April 4 - April 12, 2014.

There are those who consider Shakespearean theatre to be a pure pleasure, and those who would classify it as pure torture. This particular critic does not subscribe to either extreme, finding the language of the times an admitted challenge, but the kind of challenge that a skilled group of theatre practitioners can turn into a golden experience that enriches the viewer in a way that few other writers can.

Waiting For My Real Life...

Colin Hay. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre, Melbourne. April 10,11 and 12, 2014

Colin Hay says he’s a singer/songwriter -the guitar playing is implied -and as such has no skills to survive in a post- apocalyptic world. Personally I don’t know that a man with one of the most unique, rich, and warm voices in music needs much more. “Waiting For My Real Life…” is a wonderfully intimate show of personal stories and, of course, beautiful music.

The Gigli Concert

By Tom Murphy. Darlinghurst Theatre Company and O’Punksky’s Theatre. April 4 – May 4, 2014.

This play explores the pursuit of personal and psychological fulfilment through a series of meetings between a troubled builder and his “dynamatologist” (read: quack psychologist). The builder won’t reveal his name but says he wants to “sing”, preferably like the Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli.

Tartan About

Craig Hill. Chapel off Chapel. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. April 9th-17th, 2014

If Craig Hill’s monumental comic talent gets any bigger, he’ll have to change his name to Craig Mountain. Hill is the flamboyantly gay comic who makes straights deliriously happy. Maybe it’s the natural charm, or the delivery, or the fact that he’s just plain bloody funny, but the straight audience adores him as much as his gay following. While Hill can cut down audience members – or even just banter bitchily with them, there is a puppy dog “please like me” appeal which is neither confrontational nor threatening sexually.

The Addams Family

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Stage Artz (Sydney). Zenith Theatre, Chatswood. April 4 – 12, 2014.

Just over twelve months since a stylish professional production opened and closed prematurely in Sydney, community theatres are getting their chance to take a bite from the Addams apple.

In many ways this sort of musical is more suitable for community theatre than the professional scene in Australia.

Relatively easy tunes to master, an assortment of different shapes and sizes and ages in the cast, in a production that has familiar TV characters in it, makes this a show which is fun to rehearse and perform.

Next to Normal

By Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Rockdale Musical Society. Director: Elle Zattera. Musical Director: Joshua Ransom. Choreography: Craig Nhobbs. Rockdale Town Hall. April 4 – 12, 2014.

Compelling Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical Next to Normal engages its audience with the life of Diana, a woman with a rapidly escalating bipolar disorder, and the impact on the family of this mother and wife’s illness. It’s an unrelenting journey haunted by the spectral presence of her son, embodied as the young man he never lived to become, after dying as an infant.

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