Reviews

Oklahoma!

By Rodgers and Hammerstein. Manly Musical Society. Director: Dave Izzard. Musical Director: Chris Bennie. Choreographer: Jess Grimmond. Star of the Sea Theatre, Manly. May 18 – 26, 2012.

Manly Musical Society is an enthusiastic youthful community company, presenting a small-scale production of Oklahoma! with a company of just 22 performers.

Some talented principals provide the highlights of this bare bones staging, with the training and professional experience of a quartet of the leads coming to the fore.

In the evening’s most engaging performance, Charles Sturt graduate Danielle Anthony-Goodwin nails the naïve coquetry and comedy of Ado Annie in a bright, sassy performance.

West Side Story

Music: Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents S.Q.U.I.D.S Theatrical Inc. Redcliffe Cultural Centre. Director: Mike Lollback. Musical Director: Michael DiMauro. Choreographer: Bridget Ewart. 17 May 2012.

West Side Story is not an easy show to produce, requiring as it does triple-threat performers who can sing with an operatic range, dance as in the classical repertoire, and act. Professional companies have a hard time delivering on all these requirements, and for community theatre groups it’s even harder. It was a valiant try by SQUIDS but the youth and inexperience of the company defeated it.

Angela’s Kitchen

By Paul Capsis and Julian Meyrick. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre. May 15 – June 19, 2012.

After its successful debut in November 2010, Griffin Theatre has restaged Paul Capsis’ one man show Angela’s Kitchen and it is obvious why.

This is a beautifully drawn homage to Capsis’ grandmother and his Maltese heritage. There is no doubt that Capsis is an extremely talented performer, but what is so refreshing about this production is that the audience are allowed to know his story. We are given an insight into how he became the person he is, the challenges he has known and the simple pleasures he experienced growing up in a very big multi-cultural family.

Bad Girls the Musical

By Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, with music and lyrics by Kath Gotts. Devonport Entertainment Centre. Devonport Choral Society (Tas). May 18 -June 2, 2012.

Bad Girls the Musical is not bad at all, but great and thoroughly entertaining.

In the wake of Urinetown, Devonport Choral Society, and Director Sid Sidebottom, has delivered us another musical that many of us may not have heard of before. One should not let that hold them back.

Bad Girls is based on the U.K. hit cult-television drama series of the same name, set in a fictional women’s prison.

THE BEST (AND WORST) OF QUEENIE VAN DE ZANDT

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane, 18 May 2012

Queenie Van De Zandt’s new cabaret show The Best (and Worst) of Queenie Van De Zandt was a salute to her 20-years survival in musical theatre. It was a funny walk down her memory lane which an enthusiastic audience embraced wholeheartedly.

Perve

By Stacey Gregg. Centenary Theatre Group (Qld). 5-26 May, 2012.

This is a coup for CTG ─ the world amateur première of Perve, which opened at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in May 2011.

A highly charged piece, it is a cautionary tale for every young adult – or, in fact, for anyone with a computer. It captures our modern lifestyle, in particular our obsession with sex and more specifically the hysteria surrounding any whiff of paedophilia.

The Miser

By Molière. Growl Theatre (Qld). Windsor State School Auditorium, Brisbane, 18, 19, 25 & 26 May, 2012

This was an ambitious undertaking for Growl Theatre’s second production but a wise one. I can’t recall another local performance of the French satirist’s work in the past decade.

With one set and borrowed lights the cast of ten entertained us royally. The company is blessed with an inspired costumier, Anne Grant. Her period creations added a stamp of professionalism.

Strange Interlude

By Simon Stone ‘after Eugene O’Neill’. Belvoir Theatre, Sydney. Director: Simon Stone. 9 May – 17 June, 2012.

One of dramatic history’s most famous yet least produced plays, Eugene O’Neill’s 1928 Pulitzer Prize winning Strange Interlude, nearly gets a rare showing at the Belvoir. The bones of the modernistic milestone are there, but the original post-Great-War characters can only be perceived through a filter of laptops, smartphones and obscenity-laden Aussie language. For this is Simon Stone’s Strange Encounter, not O’Neill’s.

An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical.

Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen. Music and Lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner. Based on the movie written by Douglas Day Stewart. Director: Simon Phillips. Lyric Theatre, The Star. World Premiere: May 18, 2012.

It opens with the sound of a jet fighter screaming overhead. We were strapped in for a night of musical theatre quite unlike any other. If the production was an aircraft carrier I’d say the first act was steady as she goes  – but the second act roared into action, pressing all the right entertainment buttons.

The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later

By Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Red Stitch Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne (Vic). Fairfax Studio. Director: Gary Abrahams. Set Designer: Peter Mumford. Costume Designer: Yunuen Perez. 16 – 26 May, 2012.

Nine actors take on 60 characters in an expertely-paced and intensely compact theatrical experience lasting just over 100 minutes, without interval, in The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later.

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