Reviews

I’ll Be Back Before Midnight

By Peter Colley. St Jude’s Players (SA). St Jude’s Hall. April 4th – 13th, 2019

If you like ghostly tales with a twist and don’t mind jumping out of your chair at the theatre, then St Jude’s Players’ latest offering will be right up your alley. Canadian playwright Peter Colley wrote this Hitchcock-styled psychological thriller over 20 years ago and it has lost none of its spine-tingling charm.

Vladimir The Crow

Created and performed by Paul Bourke. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Melba Spiegeltent Studio, Collingwood. April 4 – 20, 2019

Vladimir The Crow is currently performing at the small and intimate space of the Melba Studio, located somewhere between the Spiegeltent and meandering corridors at Circus school on Johnston Street in Collingwood as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Dark Voyager

By John Misto. Castle Hill Players. Pavilion Theatre, Doran Drive Castle Hill. April 5 – 27, 2019

As the premiere community theatre production of John Misto’s play, this is another coup for a theatre company that is prepared to give its directors and actors ‘some meat’ – and challenge its audience with something a little bit different.

The Miracle Worker

By William Gibson. Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Arts Theatre. 4 – 13 April 2019

William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker was first performed in 1959, winning the Tony Award for Best Play for the Broadway season1959-60. This season is notable for the number of plays and musicals that centred on strong and formidable matriarchal female characters. This includes Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth, as well as Gypsy by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents.

The Last Five Years The Musical

Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). March 29 - April 27, 2019.

Christian Charisiou and Elise McCann didn’t so much perform their roles in this musical – more like they drank every last syllable and catchy songs with ecstatic reverence. You could see and feel how much they love the work.

In the two handed musical, Jamie Wellerstein is a Jewish writer who becomes smitten with the non-Jewish actress Catherine Hiatt. She starts the musical at the end of their relationship, he at the beginning and they meet somewhere in the middle.

Life: The Show

The Spiegeltent - Canberra Theatre Forecourt. March 30-April 21, 2019

It’s the Spiegeltent. You know you’re in for world class slick cabaret, raunchy dance, clowning, costumes, but for me the most spectacular parts of Life: The Show were the surprises.  When they attach a couple of grappling hooks to the belt loops Violent Femmes’ session sax player and hoist him into the air, and he continues to play while spinning and summersaulting around, it’s jaw-dropping. (His name is Blaize Garza and he doesn’t miss a beat of Madness’ "One Step Beyond", even when upside down).

Dénouement!

By James Hazelden & Nicholas Rasche. Directed by James Hazelden. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street Carlton. 3-7 April, 2019.

This amusing whodunnit is set in an elegant and stately English home. This is beautifully suggested with a simple but extremely effective stage design which is inviting and evocative. All the elements of the genre are present: an amateur detective, a missing will, a bloody knife and numerous suspects. However, the characters behave in highly unexpected ways and this generates a great deal of the good-natured fun imbued in the script. The text has numerous comic gems with references to contemporary life and technology.

Every Brilliant Thing

By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta. April 3 – 6, 2019

The ‘brilliant thing’ about Every Brilliant Thing is that is could be anybody’s story, as Steve Rodgers has proved in taking over the role from Kate Mulvany in this Belvoir production at Parramatta Riverside Theatre. Rodgers is a consummate actor of stage and screen, and a playwright of note – as those who have seen his plays Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam and King of Pigs will attest – and he has stepped into this unusual role with typical dedication … and the deep sense of responsibility that it demands.

Saturday Night Fever

Based on the Paramount/RSO movie and the story by Nik Cohn, adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood and Bill Oakes, new version arranged and edited by Ryan McBryde. Music and lyrics are by artists including the Bee Gees. John Frost production. Sydney Lyric Theatre. Opening Night – April 2, 2019

It’s a turbocharged disco leap back to the funky 70’s with this show, fuelled by an inferno of lights, beams into the audience and deep 3D projections. 

With the language sanitised and the sexual violence less explicit in this latest stage version, we could well have overshot and reached the 50’s – but who cares about the story!

A Flowering Tree

Opera by John Adams. Libretto: John Adams and Peter Sellars. Based on a South Indian folktale and poems translated by A.K. Ramanujan. Opera Queensland and Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Natalie Murray Beale. Director: Patrick Nolan. Concert Hall, QPAC. 2-6 April 2019

Opera Queensland’s new artistic director Patrick Nolan brings his Helpmann award-winning production of American John Adams’ A Flowering Tree to Brisbane. His Australian premiere staging of the work was for the Perth Festival in 2009. It’s not the first time Brisbane has seen a work by Adams, Opera Q having previously produced his Nixon in China as a co-production with the Brisbane Festival in 2009.

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