Reviews

Little Shop of Horrors.

Book and Lyrics Howard Ashman. Music: Alan Menkin. Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport. Director: Brady Watkins. Nov 11th – Dec 9th, 2017                                                            

Audrey ll, the blood thirsty, flesh eating plant stars in this staging of the popular cult musical Little Shop of Horrors. The plant’s continual growth throughout the show has pizzazz, making the cast work hard to keep up with its outrageous antics (Audrey ll was created by the North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre and took a year to conceive and construct by Chris Ahern and Damien Jackson).

Stepping Out

By Richard Harris. Directed by Geoffrey Leeder. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. Nov 10-25, 2017

This fabulous, joyful production is bursting with energy at the Koorliny Arts Centre. A wonderful collection of characters come to life, in a well-directed show with outstanding production values.

This well-known play centres around an adult tap dancing class, led by teacher Mavis (Hannah Harn - a wonderful choice for the role), who nurtures their talents. Koorliny’s incarnation of this show works particularly well because the characters are so expertly created, and the audience become invested in each and every one.

Flaws and All – The Musical

Music & Lyrics: Lucas D. Lynch. Book & Lyrics: Angela Monteagle. Angela Monteagle Production. Director/Choreographer: Maureen Bowra. Orchestrations & Musical Director: Lucas D. Lynch. Princess Theatre, Brisbane. 11 Nov 2017

Flaws and All – the Musical is a dichotomy – a new Australian musical played with American accents, yet there’s nothing intrinsically American about the concept – the unrealistic dating expectations of modern women. Conceived and written by 30-something marketing professional Angela Monteagle (who also wrote the lyrics), this vanity production comes direct from a season at the Adelaide Festival Fringe. All creatives are Brisbane based including the cast who have been culled from performers who usually work for Savoyards and Prima.

Roberto Devereux

By Gaetano Donizetti. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athenaeum Theatre. November 11 – 18, 2017.

Donizetti’s opera Roberto Devereux is rarely performed, mainly due to the demanding soprano role. This was more than adequately met by local girl made good, Helena Dix, whose international career is on the rise.

A born comedienne, Helena presented a quirky Queen in the first act, with small movements being quite telling. Later she was quite furious when Roberto made it obvious she was no longer his main concern. Her pathos after his death was touching.

Leading Ladies

By Ken Ludwig. Mordialloc Theatre Company Inc. Shirley Burke Theatre, Parkdale. 10 – 25 Nov, 2017

Ken Ludwig’s American farce Leading Ladies is Mordialloc Theatre Company’s final season of the year.

Taking place over a month in the Spring of 1952, the plot revolves around two British actors in York, Pennsylvania who are down on their luck. After reading about a dying heiress who is searching for long-lost relatives from England, they decide to impersonate the men, only to frantically discover that the missing nephews… are actually nieces!

Playing the Palace

By June Walker Rogers. Hobart Repertory Theatre Company. Directed by Mark Morgan. Playhouse Theatre. November 3-18 2017

There are those who believe musical theatre should be vacuous and undemanding and then there are the rest of us. Yet, Playing the Palace is a flummery that makes significant demands of its audience. It requires an unusual degree of suspension of disbelief, principally, to accept that a play about a theatre is set on a stage partly dressed as a theatre. Ghosts are presaged by the augury of a flickering light and their presence accepted. Every line is a tenuous cue to a song and sometimes the songs just appear like the ghosts.

The 27 Club

The Basement (Sideshow). Arts Centre Gold Coast. 10th-11th November 2017, and touring.

Is it just synchronicity that five musical legends all died (mostly by their own hand) at the age of 27? Is that the age at which we have to own who we are and quit hiding behind the mask of being a “kid”? For some that transition to adulthood, seriousness, responsibility, is just too hard to make. On the ‘plus’ side, an early death brings a kind of immortality to performers who might otherwise have been swept up in the juggernaut of fame and ultimately replaced and forgotten.

Spamalot

Book and Lyrics By Eric Idle. Music by John Du Prez. Bankstown Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Fry. Musical Direction by Ian Buchanan. Choreography by Lauren Butler. Bankstown Arts Centre. November 10 – 19, 2017

What can one say about Spamalot, except that it is totally ridiculous, as one would expect from a Monty Python idea. This musical, “lovingly ripped off” from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, does great justice to the craziness of the genre, and this production by Bankstown Theatre Company lovingly embraces the whole idea.

The Carnival of Lost Souls

Presented by Platonic Music. The Space: Dunstan Playhouse (SA). Friday 10 November To Saturday 11 November, 2017.

The Carnival of Lost Souls is a macabre yet rather engaging piece of ‘circus theatre’ in the spirit, if not scale of Cirque du Soliel. The setting for the rather loose narrative that involves desire, betrayal and revenge, is an old gothic 19th Century Music Hall.

Season's Greetings

By Alan Ayckbourn. Galleon Theatre Group. Domain Theatre Marion. November 1-11, 2017

The lead-up to Christmas is a time of mixed feelings. Depending on one’s circumstances, a blend of delight and dread can be the prevailing mood.

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