Reviews

Company

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: George Furth. Griffith Musical Theatre. Director: Jacqui Somerville. Musical Director: Heidi Loveland. Choreographer: Joseph Simons. Powerhouse, Brisbane. 28 Jul – 4 Aug 2018

Although Stephen Sondheim’s ‘concept musical’ Company was groundbreaking in its time there have been few professional productions of it in Australia, so it was a bold choice for Griffith Music Theatre third-year students to produce it as one of their showcase musicals of 2018.

My Fair Lady

Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and Music by Fredrick Lowe. Based on George Bernard Shaw's “Pygmalion”. Gosford Musical Society. Directed by Daniel Craig. Musical Direction by Roslyn English. Choreography by Scott Webster. Costume Designer – Narelle Wotton. Set Designer – Daryl Kirkness. Lighting – Damien Rice. Laycock Street Theatre. July 27-August 11, 2018

Just when you think you know enough about a musical (having performed in it once) it's genuinely refreshing to sit amongst the audience 16 years later (and 16 years wiser) and really take it in. In writing this review, I found myself doing more research regarding the source material than I had anticipated. Did you know, for instance, that the original version which previewed in 1956 contained seven more songs than it does now?

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Bankstown Theatre Company. Director, Glenda Kenyon, Musical Director Ian Buchanan. Bryan Brown Theatre, Bankstown. July 27 – August 5, 2018

I must be upfront in presenting this review of the music theatre classic, The Sound of Music.

I have known Glenda Kenyon for a long time, indeed directing her as Maria many years ago. I also admit to designing and creating the scenery for this production. Both the direction and design of this production is unashamedly traditional, not a T shirt in sight, or a milk crate or ladder. This production is Glenda’s directorial debut, fitting, as she knows this show so well, having performed the role of Maria on several occasions.

Marjorie Prime

By Jordon Harrison Ensemble Theatre Production & Noosa Alive! Director: Mitchell Butel. J Theatre, Noosa. Qld. 24-25 July 2018

Noosa Alive!, or as it used to known, Noosa Long Weekend, is the Sunshine Coast’s celebration of Arts and Culture and has been a highlight of the area for a phenomenal 17 years. It’s usually jam-packed with events and artists including premieres, and this year is no exception. In between the contemporary a-capella group The Idea of North, and Blake Bowden’s Lorenz Hart tribute Straight From the Hart, there was Jordan Harrison’s (Orange is the New Black) little gem of a play Marjorie Prime.

Contest

By Emilie Collyer. Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Directed by Prue Clark; produced by Erin Milne. Northcote Town Hall, Main Hall. 25 July – 4 August 2018

The nexus of Emilie Collyer’s play is netball – a game you can see being played any night of the week in any city and a lot of country towns across Australia.  Under lights, all seasons, mostly women – and women of all ages.  A lot of fun, a lot of bonding – and a lot of commitment – to be there, to give up something else, to work hard, to be fit and to compete.  Besides, the exercise, the physical demands, the game, the playing to win, means you can switch off for an hour from all your troubles and life’s myriad dissatisfactions.  The

Cry-Baby

Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Songs by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. Based on the film by John Waters. LPD in association with Hayes Theatre Co. Hayes Theatre, Potts Point. July 20 - August 19, 2018

What can fizzle on Broadway can sizzle on other stages. Cry-Baby only lasted 68 performances when it premiered in New York in 2008. At the Hayes Theatre - with its intimate staging - the musical is a delicious treat.

In an echo of GreaseCry-Baby is set in the early golden era of the 1950’s – where the Cold War is at its most terrifying and bad boys wore leather jackets.  It’s about teenagers from two different tribes who fall in love in the flavour of Romeo and Juliet.

The Long Forgotten Dream

By H Lawrence Sumner. Sydney Theatre Company. Director: Neil Armfield. The Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. 23 July – 25 August, 2018

This first play by Aboriginal writer H Lawrence Sumner has been given the full Sydney Theatre Company works by star director Neil Armfield – including scenic magic and brilliant on-stage musicianship. The crème of Sydney theatregoers stood and cheered him, surely a life-changing moment.

Godspell

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Harbour Theatre and Studio2Stage. Directed by Jodie Innes. Camelot Theatre, Mosman Park, WA. 20 - 29 July, 2018

Harbour Theatre and Studio2Stage present the 2012 revival version of Godspell with enthusiasm and a sense of fun. Godspell, based on the Gospel of St Matthew is often remembered for its “hippie” vibe and seen as very much a product of the 1970s. This version is made for the millennial with contemporary references and a clean, present day vibe. 

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

By Kurt Vonnegut. Canberra Repertory, directed by Cate Clelland. Theatre 3, Canberra. 19 July – 4 August 2018.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June amusingly juxtaposes and caricatures disparate people with contrasting attitudes, clearly setting out to highlight our collective human foibles.  But, rather than reveal the contradictions in the sociopolitical environment of 1960s and 1970s America, the play delivers somewhat blunt conclusions.  It deals heavy-handedly with notions of war, ownership of others, naïve idealism, and killing for pleasure and sta

A Taste of Honey

By Shelagh Delaney. Upstairs Theatre, Belvoir. July 21 – Aug 19, 2018

There seems initially little honey to taste in the slum lives of this young mother and her teenage daughter in 1950’s working class England.  Shelagh Delaney wrote the hit play (and later film) when she was just 19.

Yet the honey is in the women’s underlying exuberance, the humour in their flawed males and a 50’s soundtrack which blows away cobwebs.

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