Reviews

Wintersong – a Concert Version

Composer: Scott Cameron. Librettist: Kathleen McLennan. Kyneton Theatre Company. Venue: Bluestone Theatre, Kyneton. March 26, 2017

Wintersong is a new musical which is apparently still evolving, and this concert performance for an invited audience was to give feedback to the creative team. There were no sets or costumes, and the performers read from their scores.

The Pajama Game

Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell. Music and Lyrics: Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. Northern Light Theatre Company. Director: Max Rayner. The Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth, SA. 24 March-8 April, 2017.

Any show that sends you out smiling is not to be sniffed at. The Pajama Game, as staged by Northern Light, delivers an evening of generally pleasant entertainment, with a more-than-solid cast working hard to overcome unfortunate opening night issues with the sound system that rendered the performance less satisfying than it might have been.

Sweet Road

By Debra Oswald. Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Gold Coast. Director Gaye Gay. 24th March – 8th April, 2017.

Debra Oswald will be better known to many of you as the scriptwriter for the TV hits Offspring and The Secret Life of Us.

That may explain why Sweet Road is a collection of short scenes tracing the adventures of an odd assortment of characters, some travelling with a purpose and some just drifting along this Sweet Road.

Happily married Jo (Kaela Gray) is planning a surprise birthday for her husband when she is surprised to see him kissing her best friend: so she takes off!

Boyband

Conceived by Peter Quilter. Spotlight Basement Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directed by Katie Steuart-Robins. 24th March – 9th April, 2017

Boyband follows the trials and tribulations of a group of young guys assembled to be the next Pop sensation, summed up in a few words; Sex, Drugs and all the trappings of the eighties pop scene.

The Band: Matt – Phillip Maas, Sean – Lachlan Beck, Jay – Justin Wise, Adam – Ethan Beck and Danny – Clay Carlaw come together with the promise of good times with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, guided by Alan Beck, their unethical promoter – Wayland and his plan to take the money and run.

Carmen

By Georges Bizet. Opera Australia / HANDA Opera on Sydney Harbour. 27 March to 26 April 2015.

This epic telling of Carmen, staged on Sydney Harbour, in surely the world’s most spectacular outdoor setting, is the first OA Handa production to be revived.  And with good reason.  The Gale Edwards 2013 production may be an edited version of Bizet’s original but it conjures all the fireworks, colour and vivid impact you expect of an Event Opera. 

The Bold, The Young and the Murdered

By Don Zolidis. Bankstown Theatre Company. Bankstown Arts Centre. March 24 - April 2, 2017.

It is often good to see new works, and credit must be given to Bankstown Theatre Company for staging The Bold, The Young and the Murdered, new to me and I suspect other community theatre groups and audiences.

The reputation of the author suggested we were not about to see a literary masterpiece. My research tells me that he specialises in writing spoofs, mostly staged by high school and college groups in the USA.

It therefore becomes an interesting choice by BTC to stage this work. They really have turned a sow’s ear into almost a silk purse.

As Told By The Boys Who Fed Me Apples

By R. Johns. Directed by Greg Caroll. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton. 22 March – 2 April 2017.

This is a sensational show in all its aspects. The text is beautifully written and is rich with the historical details of the horrors of serving as a light-horseman. All the pathos of the incredible strength of the bond between humans and animals is fully explored in this piece. The play tells the story of the misadventures of the only surviving Australian light horse from WWI, Sandy. The extremely evocative set captures the dangers and the mystique of the battlefield effectively with a realism that has cinematic quality. The lighting and staging techniques are simple, yet striking.

A Comedy of Errors

By William Shakespeare. Melbourne Shakespeare Company. 25 March – 2 April 2017.

Shakespeare’s beloved tale of Egeon, the Merchant of Syracuse, who has arrived illegally in Ephesus in search of his long-lost son. He has two sons, twins both named Antipholus. When they were born, he bought another set of twins, both named Dromio, to be their slaves. But Egeon lost half his family in a ship-wreck when the boys were still babies. Unbeknown to him and the rest of the cast, one Antipholus and one Dromio survived in Ephesus. Hilarity ensues when the family is reunited, but it takes an entire day for everyone to realise the double-up.

The Princess and the Pea

By Ernst Toch. Victorian Opera. Arts Centre Mellbourne, Playhouse. 25th March 2017

In choosing this particular retelling of the famous fairytale, and aiming it squarely at families, Victorian Opera seemed to have succeeded audience-wise – excited children of all ages abounded through the foyer in the Arts Centre, and filled the Playhouse for the 40-minute one-act opera.

Divercity

By Mariaa Randall. Dance Massive 2017. Arts House Melbourne. 22 – 26 March, 2017

A moving exploration of contemporary Aboriginal life, celebrating women and culture, this performance combined dance, language and visual art to share their stories.

To begin the show, Randall invites female-identifying audience members into the performance space. We learn some simple steps and words meaning “woman” in different Aboriginal languages. Moving, speaking together, a collective feeling of pride and empowerment fills the room.

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