Reviews

Cunning Little Vixen

By Leoš Janácek. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Jack Symonds. Director: Stuart Maunder. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. June 22 – July 1, 2017

This charming Czech opera is another in a season with a strong emphasis on younger opera fans. It also involved younger opera singers, and it was a marvellous opportunity for the children to join the adults on stage and hear those mature voices at close range. It was a good move to sing it in English and the surtitles were useful when some of the children had solo lines, though there were a couple of glitches on opening night.

 

The Psychic

By Sam Bobrick. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. The Arts Theatre Adelaide. June 22-July 1, 2017

Absorbed in Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s current production of Sam Bobrick’s The Psychic I found myself back in my teens and remembering how much I had loved the wonderful and very funny characters in the Damon Runyon fictional stories that my father introduced to me. Full of detailed imagery about the hustlers and gangsters of the big cities of prohibition-era America, the characters were larger-than-life, with their distinctive vernacular style being a signature part of the writing.

Mattaphorically Speaking

Devised by Matthew Dear with accompanist and director Christopher Thomson. New Globe Theatre. June 20-21, 2017.

Mattaphorically Speaking is billed as "A dyslexic guide to dating, love and everything in twebeen". Devised by the two performers, Matthew Dear and Christopher Thomson, it takes the audience through a mock dating seminar in which Matt gives you his tips for success. The advice is interspersed with well-known show tunes, some of which have been re-written slightly for the sake of parody, while others retain their original lyrics.

The 39 Steps

Adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Jarrad West. Theatre 3, Acton, A.C.T. 16 June – 1 July 2017

A century after its origin as a John Buchan novel and eight decades after Hitchcock’s adapation to film, The 39 Steps has, with Patrick Barlow’s stage adaptation, metamophosed from a tense thriller into a period comedy adventure of timeless appeal.

 

Black

Le Gateau Chocolat. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. June 22nd-23rd, 2017.

The man behind the lycra and long lashes is George Ikediashi, aka Le Gateau Chocolat, who has brought his autobiographical story Black to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Nigerian born Ikediashi graces the stage with his deeply personal story of his journey through life belonging to a minority. Being black, gay, overweight and battling depression has meant a life filled with judgement and squashed dreams, but what has remained is his humanity and compassion.

Poetic License

Written and assembled by the cast with additional text by Komninos Zervos, Ebony MonCrief & Mahmoud Samoun; director & dramaturg Irine Vela. Outer Urban Projects. Fortyfivedownstairs. 20-24 June 2017.

Irine Vela, Artistic Director of Outer Urban Projects, works with young rappers, singers and beat boxers in the outer suburbs of northern Melbourne.  She remembered a play from Greek antiquity, The Frogs by Aristophanes.  It gave her an idea.  In The Frogs, Dionysus, as Ms Vela puts it in her program note, is ‘frustrated with the diminishing community spirit, culture and literature of Athens and decides to undertake a journey to the Underworld to find [poet and dramatist] Euripides… to bring him back life with the hope that his words can inspire

Opening Gala

Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2017. Chapel off Chapel. 20 June to 2 July, 2017

Back for its eighth year, the Melbourne Cabaret Festival opened with a glamourous gala evening on Tuesday June 20. Emceed by artistic director Dolly Diamond, and featuring seven performances from the festival, including Dolly herself, it was a tantalising taste of what this year’s festival has to offer.

Present Laughter

By Noël Coward. WAAPA Third Year Acting Students. Directed by Vivian Munn. The Roundhouse Theatre, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Mt Lawley, WA. 16-22 June, 2017

WAAPA’s Third Year Acting Students present Noël Coward's Present Laughter, in a gorgeous looking, charming production, that is clever and engaging.

Kelly Fragon has designed an attractive pre-war set that is lavish and luxurious, with beautiful attention to detail. Costuming (a team led by Katy Rasaiah and J. Orman) perfectly sets the era, and we are transported to 1939 to a world that is somehow devoid of rising war concerns and tensions - a world that probably never existed - escapist and elite.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. Candlelight Productions/Mirth Hall. Metanoia Theatre at The Mechanics Institute, Brunswick (Vic). June 8 – 18, 2017.

This production claims to perform all of Shakespeare's 37 plays (well, technically) in an evening by only three actors.  Bouncing into the spotlight, David Todman, Shane Henry and Trelawny Kean (playing themselves in superb ensemble) threw themselves into the challenge like a trio of superbly-talented kids in a playground.  

42nd Street

Music by Harry Warren. Lyrics by Al Dubin. Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble. Directed by Jason Langley. The Regal Theatre, Subiaco, WA. June 17-24, 2017

The Western Australian Academy of Performing Art’s annual ‘big’ musical at The Regal Theatre is many people’s only contact with WAAPA students before they graduate. This very impressive, very tight production of 42nd Street showcases WAAPA talents beautifully, and is a wonderful public relations exercise as well as being a top-notch production.

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