Reviews

UnHOWsed

By Tashmada and Voices Of The South Side. Theatre Works. 23 October – 3 November 2019

UnHOWsed is the sharing of experiences of homelessness by eight older women.  It commences with the strikingly powerful singing by Karen Corbett of “Some Say (I Got Devil)” by Melanie Safka. Corbett’s voice reaches out and richly fills the St Kilda air around Theatre Works with a sense of defiance and liberation.

Ladies in Black

Book by Carolyn Burns from the novel by Madeleine St John. Music and Lyrics by Tim Finn. Directed by Leo Bradley and Elizabeth Morris. Presented by Villanova Players. Ron Hurley Theatre, 26 October – 10 November, 2019

The Australian musical Ladies in Black has fast become a favourite of audiences around the nation for its heart-warming story, wonderful music and fabulous fashion. This delightful coming of age story set in 1950s Sydney is now being produced by one of Brisbane’s longest-standing independent theatre groups, Villanova Players.

Second Coming

Writer: Andrew R Kelly. Swan Hill Theatre Group. Memorial Hall, Swan Hill. October 20 – 26, 2019.

Second Coming has taken Swan Hill by storm.  It is a great little show and word has it that the last three performances were fully booked out.  It’s a passionate and truly entertaining production that is full of puns, laughs and chuckles that reference our Australian Culture.   Created by a strong multi-talented team of theatre makers, many of whom double up in performing as well as creative roles, this show really packs a punch.

White Pearl

By Anchuli Felicia King. Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta and Sydney Theatre Company. Lennox Theatre, Riverside, Parramatta. Oct 24 – Nov 9, 2019

The cast of White Pearl seizes the stage in a rush of words, energy andattitude in a ‘go girls’ performance that they sustain for 90 fast-paced minutes. There is no room for laxity in Anchuli Felicia King’s fiercely modern play.

Once Upon a Mattress

Music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. Marie Clark Musical Theatre (SA). The Goodwood Institute. October 25th – November 2nd, 2019.

This old-fashioned musical has lost none of its charm. Based on the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen and later inspired by the book Once Upon a Mattress, it first opened off Broadway in 1959. 

It is refreshing when companies are willing to produce lesser known musicals. Director Lauren Scarfe and Musical Director Katie Packer were made aware of it by a mutual friend and so their love affair and journey with this tale began.

The Glass Menagerie

By Tennessee Williams. Directed by Brenda White. Brisbane Arts Theatre. October 19 – November 9, 2019.

Tennessee Williams’ famous memory play The Glass Menagerie, his first great hit, premiered in Chicago in 1944 before transferring to Broadway. The story is told directly to the audience by Tom Wingfield, the son of the battling family living on the edge in St. Louis. It is his memory of his battling life while supporting his mother Amanda, a southern belle in her youth, and his super shy, physically handicapped sister Laura who builds her glass menagerie. The problem is to find a beau for Laura.

The Village

Stan Lai and Performance Workshop In collaboration with Wang Wei-Chung (Taiwan). Oz Asia Festival. Festival Theatre Adelaide. 25 – 26 Oct 2019

The Oz Asia Festival reminds me that we are an increasingly globalised nation and world. I felt somewhat remiss about my understanding of the struggles that befell the displaced refugees and ‘military dependants’ who created the democratic nation of Taiwan, but The Village changed all that.

Vessel

Damien Jalet and Kohei Nawa. OzAsia Festival. Dunstan Playhouse Adelaide Festival Centre. 26-27 October 2019

With Vessel, Belgian choreographer, Damien Jalet, and renowned Japanese visual artist, Kohei Nawa, have produced a disturbing yet compelling, profound, fantastical and visually arresting work that tends more toward the performance art installation realm than dance genre; and yet, only dancers could perform this work given the extreme range of physical demands placed on the performers’ bodies by the concept, choreography and design.

Jekyll & Hyde

Music: Frank Wildhorn. Book & Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1896 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Phoenix Ensemble, Beenleigh. Director: Elodie Boal. Musical Director: Trenton Dunstan. Choreography: Lauren Conway. 18 October – 9 November 2019

When Jekyll & Hyde was released as a concept album in 1990 the pop-opera musical form reached its zenith with its power-ballad score. Never had so many songs been crammed into a musical before or since; “This is the Moment”, “Someone Like You”, “In His Eyes”, “Once Upon A Dream” and “A New Life”. Since then of course the songs have gone on to become enduring favourites and on everybody’s bucket list to sing on stage.

Cats

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber/Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Queensland Musical Theatre. Director: Kade O’Rourke. Musical Director: Julie Whiting. Choreographer: Jo Badenhorst. Schonell Theatre, St Lucia. 25 October – 3 November 2019

The only things that matters in a production of Cats is can Grisabella sing “Memory” and does the choreography stack up. Queensland Musical Theatre ticked both boxes in a production that was ablaze with energy, dance gymnastics, and vocal expertise.

First kudos must to go to Jo Badenhorst and her well-drilled choreography, not easy moving a forty-bodied ensemble. Next up let’s salute Renee Milton and Cat Schwarten for costumes and wigs. Take a bow ladies they were fantastic.

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