Reviews

The Advisors

Writer / Director: Gita Bezard. Writers and Performers Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Frieda Lee, Mararo Wangai. The Last Great Hunt. Rehearsal Room 1, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Northbridge, WA. 31 May - 10 Jun, 2017

In The Last Great Hunt’s The Advisors, a group of young people, whom if you squint could be the new Power Rangers, or perhaps an incarnation of Hi 5, throw a relentless slew of advice at the audience for 70 minutes. As a premise, this sounds questionable, but this is a really exciting and engaging piece of theatre.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Griffin Theatre Company. SUNPAC. May 25 and 26, 2017.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company, and directed by Lucas Jervies, Christian Charisiou brings this wicked Roald Dahl tale to life as a one-man show. Playing a total of nine characters, intertwined with perfectly timed sound effects and lighting cues – this was a 50-minute show that required your full attention and for all the right reasons. Being a solo performer with minimal props and scenery is difficult enough but to bring to life each character almost instantly and with perfect execution is a tribute to the incredible skill of Christian’s craft.

Book of Exodus Part 1

Created by Adena Jacobs & Aaron Orzech; directed by Adena Jacobs. Fraught Outfit and Theatre Works. Theatre Works, Acland Street, St Kilda VIC. 31 May – 18 June 2017

Book of Exodus is the third part of the ‘innocence trilogy’, following On the Bodily Education of Young Girls and The Bacchae.  It presents the second book of the Hebrew Bible, almost without speech, using images and two child performers.  (There are two pairs of performers: Sol Feldman & Tarana Verma, and Ezra Justin & Malik Keegan, who will alternate.)

Wrecking Ball

By Action Hero (Gemma Painton, James Stenhouse; Dramaturg Deborah Pearson). Arts House, North Melbourne. 31 May – 3 June 2017

The ‘wrecking ball’ of the title refers to the controversial – if that’s the word – 2013 music video by Miley Cyrus, directed by the Terry Richardson.  In the video, in case you’ve not seen it, Ms Cyrus sings in her underwear, hefts and licks a sledgehammer and swings naked on a wrecking ball.  She has since said she regrets it, but, hey, it did get her a lot of attention (as did her ‘twerking’ - and more, in her underwear – at the MTV music awards), and whose idea was it?  Was she a victim manipulated by the apparently no

Rent

Book, Music, and Lyrics: Jonathon Larson. Rockdale Musical Society. Director: Kate Berger, Musical Director: David Lang. Choreographer: Joel Duffy. Rockdale Town Hall. May 31 – June 4, 2017.

Rockdale’s Rent is far more colourful and moving than its grim black and white promotional material suggests.  This update of La Boheme to turn-of-millennium New York hasn’t dated and retains much of its punch.

Of the principals, Marcus Hurley as Mark, Charles McComb as Roger, and Sherry-Anne Hayes as Joanne stood out for me. They were always in character, in “the moment”, and had good command of their roles and projection.

Endgame

By Samuel Beckett. Black Swan (WA). Directed by Andrew Ross. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth, WA. 27 May - 11 June, 2017

Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, is in many ways an interesting choice for Black Swan State Theatre Company. Certainly not a commercial selection, Black Swan brought a unique perspective to the play, which made it a strong and watchable production.

While this is not an ‘easy’ night at the theatre, strong directorial choices, perceptive design and outstanding acting make this, without doubt, the best “Beckett” I have seen.

Hello, Dolly!

Book by Michael Stewart. Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. The Production Company. Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne. 27 May to 11 June, 2017

Hello, Dolly! is one of Broadways most successful musicals and, not surprisingly, the music by Jerry Herman is delightful and the story adapted by Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker is full of humanity and lovely witty lines.

This simple story about finding love in New York is universal, heartwarming and presented in a wholly engaging, fluid way by The Production Company.

Only Heaven Knows

Music, Book and Lyrics by Alex Harding. Luckiest Productions and Hayes Theatre Company. May 30 - July 1, 2017

It is impossible to conceive of any company staging this work with any more passion and heart than this production team and cast. The atmosphere on opening night, in Kings Cross where the musical is set, was not just of a company putting on a show – but more like a group on a mission.

The Kingfisher

By William Douglas Hume. Javeenbah Theatre Co, Nerang, Gold Coast.. Director: Nathan Schulz. May 26th - June 10th, 2017.

“How long would you wait for a second chance?” is the question asked of the audience by Javeenbah’s current production.

The answer is fifty years for the cast of The Kingfisher. This three-handed romantic comedy stars Chris Hawkins and Vivian Gian (pictured) with Graham Scott as the long serving / long suffering butler to Sir Cecil. When, after fifty years, Sir Cecil’s first love, Evelyn, unexpectedly contacts him and arranges a visit, strong emotions come to the fore all round.

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical.

Book and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Director: Ben Todd. Musical Director: Ben Stefanoff. Choreographer: Rebekah Stonelake. Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. 26 May – June 3, 2017.

‘Tis certainly the season in Adelaide for releasing our dark sides onto the musical stage! MCMT’s production of the classic R.L. Stevenson tale is an example of musical theatre that takes us back in time while attempting to both touch our emotions and jangle our nerves, rather than simply push our nostalgia buttons. Boasting a brilliant central portrayal, some strong supporting performances, a talented ensemble, and generally impressive musical/technical qualities, this Jekyll & Hyde is a winner.

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