Reviews

Namatjira

By Scott Rankin. Belvoir and Big hART. Co-Directors: Scott Rankin and Wayne Blair. Belvoir Street Theatre (NSW). Sept 29 to Nov 7, 2010. Malthouse, Melbourne - Aug10 - 28, 2011

Namatjira is storytelling theatre at its best, Australian storytelling, which every Australian should hear and see.

It tells the rich, complex, mostly unknown story, joyous at times, sad and tragic at others, of indigenous watercolourist Albert Namatjira, told with the co-operation and support of his Aranda people.

Hairspray

Book by Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Based on the film written and directed by John Waters. Princess Theatre (VIC). Director: David Atkins. Musical Director: Stephen Amos. Choreographer: Jason Coleman. Designer: Eamon D'Arcy. Paul Dainty, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment & Joel Pearlman, Roadshow Live. Opening Night: October 2, 2010. Lyric Theatre, Star Theatre, Sydney - Openng Night, June 23, 2011.

Before the show even began, the audience were met with a stage-width LED screen playing reels of popular TV shows from the era such as I Love Lucy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Lone Ranger, The Beverley Hillbillies, and more. Here we are folks, welcome to the 60s.

We first meet our heroine, Tracy Turnblad (Jaz Flowers), as she is flown in on a vertical bed during the opening bars of “Good Morning Baltimore.” Her entrance was met with excited applause from the audience but what happened next truly has to be seen to be believed.

Don Quixote

Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Music: Leon Minkus. Choreography: Alicia Alonso, Marta Garcia & Maria Elena Llorente. After the original by Marius Petipa and the version by Alexander Gorsky. Opened: Lyric Theatre, QPAC, 24 Sept 2010.

Don Quixote could not have been a more appropriate choice for the Ballet Nacional de Cuba on their latest visit to Australia. The critically-acclaimed production, deeply-rooted in the Hispanic culture, was the ideal work to show off the young company’s prodigious talent. The unmistakable passion and soul on display was spectacular. Particularly outstanding was Premier Dancer Sadaise Arencibia as Kitri. With breathtaking technique, time after time she wowed the audience who responded with thunderous applause.

Status Update

By Peta Brady. Director: Sue Jones. Performed by Peta Brady and Danielle Carter. Sound: Pete Goodwin. Lighting: Bec Etchell. Design: Belinda Wiltshire/Nick Casey. Dramaturg: Catherine Hill. La Mama (Vic) Sept 23 – Oct 10.

LOL – heaps! This is La Mama at its best - supporting, helping to develop, and producing good writing in performance. On an unassuming set with two computers side by side, Status Update opens with a wheelchair bound person engaged at a computer. When the door opens and slams one expects a greeting to be made, as another person enters the space and hurriedly connects to their - ‘on-line life’. The greeting is made through Facebook.

Sugar

State Theatre, Arts Centre (VIC). The Production Company. September 29 – October 3

After multiple film incarnations, Sugar (Some Like it Hot) hit the stage in 1972 with a book by Peter Stone, music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, and direction by Gower Champion. The height of camp, there isn’t much funnier than a case of mistaken identities - especially when it involves men in drag.

Total Football

Written and performed by Ridiculusmus: David Woods and Jon Haynes. Devising contributions from Fiona O’Roake, Paul Goddard, Paul Bongiorno and Renee Palmer. La Mama (Vic). Sept 22 to Oct 10.

David Woods and Jon Haynes are London based actors who have a string of Australian comedy credits to their name, ‘Ridiculusmus’. These include a two-hander of The Importance of Being Earnest staged at Malthouse Theatre in 2006.

Basically this work is two consummate actors portraying a number of stereotypes of English characters with real aplomb and great comic timing. Even though, on the second night of the season they did seem a little under rehearsed, they were still very funny.

Seussical The Musical

By Stephen Flaherty and Lyn Ahrens. Stage Artz. Glen Street Theatre (NSW). Until October 2.

This production of Seussical, and producer, Stage Artz, are both performing arts hybrids. Established as a performing arts school in 2001, with a separate theatre company emerging in 2006, in response to the needs of older students, the school and theatre company join forces each year for a charity musical. The venture has, thus far, raised $50,000 for the Children’s Hospital, in memory of a young Stage Artz student who died from cancer.

For the uninitiated, Seussical is a charming family musical based on the stories of Dr. Seuss.

God of Carnage

By Yasmina Reza. Translated by Christopher Hampton. State Theatre Company of SA. Dunstan Playhouse. 17 September to 10 October.

The play written by Yasmina Reza and translated from French to English by Christopher Hampton, is a beautiful piece of writing which places four actors in a room with one small piece of conflict and a mountain of subtext! Starring Brant Eustice and Caroline Mignone as husband and wife couple Michael and Veronica Vallon, and Kim Gyngell and Lizzy Falkland as Alan and Annette Reille, the production was wonderfully cast and beautifully acted.

Man of La Mancha

By Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh. CLOC. (VIC). National Theatre, St. Kilda. September 17 – October 2

Man of La Mancha confuses me in such a delightful way because… well, it just shouldn’t work. Dale Wasserman’s book takes great liberties in its interpretation of the life of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, and requires such a suspension of disbelief it is surprising that the audience agree to go along for the ride. Not only do Cervantes’ fellow prisoners allow him to save his novel by presenting them with a play, they agree to help out and join in, playing anything from prostitutes to ponies!

Oz Asia Festival.

Paul Rodda and Nicole Russo Review Adelaide's Oz Asia Festval productions

The Dhol Foundation Festival Theatre, October 2nd In their first Adelaide performance since headlining Womadelaide in 2004, The Dhol Foundation returned to our fair shores as part of this year’s OzAsia Festival. Despite the long break, local support for the drumming outfit and their addictive blend of electronic Punjabi funk clearly hasn’t cooled, with palpable audience excitement from the get-go.

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