Reviews

Midsummer

By David Greig. Music by Gordon McIntyre. Red Stitch (VIC). Red Stitch Actors Theatre. Director: John Kachoyan. November 16 – December 15, 2012

Life can be like a poker game in the world of Midsummer. Turn the card over and you may be lucky and win; or turn it over and you may not get what you hoped for.

Helena and Bob, the unlikely couple in Scottish playwright David Greig’s romantic comedy performed by Red Stitch, play the game of yes, no or maybe, leaving destiny hanging - they may end up together or they may not, it depends on the choices they make, choices that seem inconsequential at the time but could alter the future.

Fast + Fresh Dance 2012

Presented by Form Dance Projects and Riverside. Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta (NSW). Heats 14 & 15 Nov, Final 17 Nov 2012.

More than a hundred young choreographers and dancers competed in this year’s installment of Fast + Fresh Dance, resulting in 15 short dance pieces being performed at Saturday night’s Gala Final. Artists aged under 21 travelled from as far as Inner Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast to be a part of this exciting project in it’s fifth year.

The Music Man

By Meredith Willson. Beenleigh Theatre Group. 26 Oct -10 Nov 2012

This show contained some of the finest work I have seen from this group in recent years. That is to say, it had many magic moments when everything fell together. Credit for this lay mostly with Sally Daly’s astute casting and thorough rehearsal, and Christopher King’s effective choreography.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Music and Lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman. Adapated for the stage by Jeremy Sams and Ray Roderick. Based on a story by Ian Fleming. Producer: Tim Lawson. Director: Roger Hodgman. Capitol Theatre, Sydney from November 17, 2012. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from January 30, 2013.

Sometimes an off-the-production-line vehicle needs a few kilometres under its belt to iron out those new car bugs. Such was the case with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was mildly afflicted by audio gremlins and a lack of pace in the first act on opening night.

No doubt as the production flies around Australia, these will be ironed out and Chitty will be purring like a well-oiled Jaguar.

The audience was determined to have a good time. Clapping  (and perhaps a few also humming) along to the familiar tune even during the overture.

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante. Director: Baayork Lee. Musical Director: Paul White. Tim Lawson Production. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. From 16 Nov 2012

After playing sell-out seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Singapore, this new production of A Chorus Line finally arrived in Brisbane. I was apprehensive about seeing it, having fond memories of the original Broadway production which I’d seen in 1975, early in its record-breaking 15 year run, and of the original Australian cast in 1977 (the only times I have ever seen the show), but as it turned out I need not have worried. Producer Tim Lawson had done the work proud. Not only is it exhilarating, but exciting musical theatre.

Glimpse

Devised and performed by Michala Banas, Tom Barton, Keith Brockett, Mark Diaco, Marg Downey, Dan Hamill, Linc Hasler and Laura Maitland. Kin Collective (VIC) Fortyfivedownstairs. Directed by Laura Maitland with Associate Director Noni Hazlehurst. November 14 – December 2, 2012

Glimpse has morphed out of what actors love to do; that is, meet together, improvise, and wait for art to be born.

Kin Collective, a new and independent theatre company, boasting an eminent ensemble of Australian actors and collaborators, originated out of the idea of coming together to try things out; and what has resulted is an absorbing production that is mature and intelligent, and at times truly heartbreaking.

Sally! A Musical

Music by Jerome Kern, Lyrics by Clifford Grey. Book by Guy Bolton. Director: Celeste Cody. Musical Director: David Bramble. The Own and the Pussycat, Richmond (Vic). Nov 13 – 17, 2012.

Lively, fun and funny, this production of ‘Sally!’ A Musical is a light and delightful ‘rags to riches’ story.

The Venetian Twins

By Nick Enright and Terence Clarke. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). November 13 – December 15, 2012.

There’s a zippy band, strong voices, good harmony! There are zany characters, white faces, colourful costumes, quirky choreography, a bit of slapstick, a few pratfalls and fast scene changes! In fact, there are all the components of a good musical and good commedia. Perhaps a ‘musical commedia’?

CIRCA

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane. November 13 – 24, 2012.

Bare white stage surrounded by black drapes. Music. Lights pick up a group forming. Nimble imaginations spark, bodies coalesce, magic happens. They transport us.

Not all our dreams are beautiful, lyrical or erotic. Sometimes there is confrontation, provocation: bodies flung across the stage land thunk! spread-eagled. Our bodies might not survive such abuse but these artists roll up, or arch and spring back into action.

IT STARTED OUT LIKE A SONG

Savoyards. Co-Directors: Kaitlin Bell & Mathew Nutley. Musical Director: Mathew Nutley. Star Theatre, Manly, Brisbane, 10 November 2012

Savoyards finished their year with It Started out like a Song, a strong cabaret-concert whose proceeds went towards the purchase of a new grand piano at the Star Theatre. The show featured a cast of nine female singers, a Steinway grand, and songs which celebrated the piano and songwriters with material culled from the catalogues of Billy Joel, Peter Allen, Jason Robert Brown and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Aside from solos, there were duets, trios, lots of medleys, plus counterpoint and some a-capella. Best performances came from Emma Tavianni, Kimi Tsukakoshi and Kelli Ireland.

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