Reviews

Tarantara! Tarantara!

By Ian Taylor, using songs by Gilbert and Sullivan. Malvern Theatre. Director: Andrew Ferguson. Musical Director: Jan Hall. October 26 – November 10, 2018

Malvern Theatre’s Tarantara! Tarantara! was a most enjoyable experience. I caught one of the shows towards the end of the run, and it was a slick, well-oiled production.

The small stage was well used, with three trucks being rolled out swiftly to change the scene and keep the action moving. As one piece of dialogue or song finished, other cast members were in place to move the show forward.

La Bohème

By Puccini. Opera Australia. Director: Gale Edwards. Revival Director: Hugh Halliday. Conductor: Pietro Rizzo. Arts Centre Melbourne. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. November 7 – 24, 2018.

There was much to like about this old war-horse. Updated to the 1930s, the set was half an octagon and the sides spun around for different scenes, allowing for smooth transitions.

The opera was very colourful with a great variety of disparate characters inhabiting the chorus. There was a lot of activity in the second act, with an upper level in the café.

Hello My Name Is…

OzAsia Festival. Co-produced by Biennial of Contemporary Arts. Using text by Edward Bond from Choruses After the Assassinations. Directed by Paolo Castro. Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide. 7-9 Nov, 2018.

It is a compliment to be able to say of any show that it inspires a reviewer to delve further into personally researching and investigating the events it depicts and the issues it raises, even if the show in question fails to fully satisfy as a complete dramatic experience.

Don Quixote

Music: Ludwig Minkus. Orchestration & Arrangements: John Lanchberry. Teatro Alla Scala Ballet Company. Choreography: Rudolf Nureyev. Choreographic Supervision: Florence Clere. Director: Frederic Olivieri. Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: David Coleman. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 7-18 November 2018

On their first ever visit to Australia, Teatro Alla Scala Ballet Companycouldn’t have had a better showpiece than Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, long a favourite with Australian audiences ever since he danced it with the Australian Ballet in 1970 and later immortalized on film in 1972. With its swirling caped matadors, castanet clicking gypsies, and a succession of spectacular diverissements it’s a feast of classical dance which this company execute with a grand bravura style.

Say No More

Presented by Tutti Arts. OzAsia Festival. The Meeting Hall, Adelaide Town Hall. 7-10 November 2018.

To create Say No More, a unique cross-artform work, over sixty women of all ages from Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia came together in 2017 to talk about what is happening for them right now as women. Guided by Tutti Arts from Adelaide, ACS Stepping Stone in Penang and Perspektif Kommunitas in Yogyakarta, they developed art, film and live performance within the setting of a wedding reception, which is how we’re greeted when we arrive at The Meeting Hall in Adelaide.

We Will Rock You

Music and Lyrics by Queen. Story and Script by Ben Elton. Peewee Productions. AIS Arena, Canberra. 7-10 November, 2018

We Will Rock You takes place in a future where all communication is by social media, all music is digital, and all dance is pre-programmed by an evil video game boss come to life. Enter Galileo Figaro, a school senior who has visions of an analogue world; Scaramouche, his sceptical, feminist love interest; and the Bohemians—rebels with a dream of a time when people could make their own music.

War Sum Up

OzAsia Festival. Hotel Pro Forma. Featuring the Latvian Radio Choir. Direction: Kirsten Dehlholm. Conductor: Sigvards Klava. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. 5-6 Nov, 2018

Among the greatest privileges in attending a festival such as OzAsia is the opportunity to witness works of bold artistic adventure and daring, combining elements and showcasing ideas that likely wouldn’t be conceived, let alone staged, by a local theatre company. War Sum Up is one such production with a commendably adventurous spirit.

The Rug

Created and performed by Ben Grant. La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (VIC). Oct 31 – Nov 11, 2018

The Rug is the new show by the stalwart performer and composer Ben Grant. This is a satirical - operatic performance that delves into his ongoing middle- class-white-man crisis.

The sur-titles run across a middle-eastern hallway rug high above the stage. He stands to the side in a rather dapper yet disheveled beige suit. He blubbers in an operatic atonal voice as he recalls his childhood days at the corner milk bar, gazing at the lollies through the thick curved glass counter.

Hello, Dolly!

Music & Lyrics: Jerry Herman. Book: Michael Stewart. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Kate Peters. Nov 3 to Dec 1, 2018.

Following on from their success with Kiss Me, Kate, G.C.L.T. is presenting another golden lldie. Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway in 1964 winning ten Tony Awards and playing for 2,844 performances, receiving three Oscars when the movie was released in 1969.

Australia first met Dolly Gallagher Levi in 1965, when the Australian tour opened in Melbourne.

In this production, the title role is being played by Amy McDonald with all the wiley charms befitting the lady. As the long-suffering Horace Vandergelder is Gold Coast regular Grant Ebeling.

Astroman

By Albert Belz. Melbourne Theatre Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio. 27 October – 8 December 2018

Here’s a show in primary colours, chocka with exuberance, energy and comedy set in 1980s Geelong.  Director Sarah Goodes’ comic flair is demonstrated as she keeps the show racing along with seamless transitions, spirited performances and missing no opportunity for another sight gag.  At the same time, Associate Director Tony Briggs keeps the show grounded in the experience of an indigenous family.

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