Reviews

Xanadu

Book by Douglas Carter Beane; Music & Lyrics by Jeff Lynne & John Farrrar. The Mount Players, Macedon, Victoria. Directed by Julie Paice. Musical Director – Jem Sherwill.. Choreographer – Donna Johnston. Producer - Amanda Watson. Mountview Theatre. May 13 - June 4, 2016

Xanaduis surprisingly cheeky, full of jokes and has an edge of witty irony.  This production, featuring a vibrant cast of mixed ages and talents, has been skillfully brought together by Director Julie Paice.   There is never a dull moment. 

It is based on the 1980s film that was a box office flop but the memorable soundtrack was understandably a big success with songs such as ‘Magic’, ‘Suddenly’ and ‘Xanadu’ that were performed by Olivia Newton-John and The Electric Light Orchestra. 

Catch Me If You Can

Music by Marc Shaiman. Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman. Book by Terence McNally. Marie Clark Musical Theatre (SA). Directed by Charissa McCluskey-Garcia. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. May 27 – June 4, 2016

On the opening night of the Marie Clark Musical Theatre group’s latest show, an audience member suffered from a near-fatal seizure and the performance came to a halt partway through act one, so that the company could call an ambulance and paramedics could see to the unfortunate patron. This is a situation that would’ve rattled the nerves of seasoned pros, but the amateur cast and crew handled things with commendable calm, empathy and promptness.

Switzerland

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Directed by Paige Rattray. Queensland Theatre Company. Bille Brown Studio. 20th May-26th June, 2016

Ever thought of including a famous writer in a plot similar in style to the same author; perhaps a close encounter with your own creation complete with antagonistic algorithms and a series of eerie twists and turns.

Herein lies this kind of intrigue in this suspenseful play surrounding the final period of famous mystery thriller novelist Patricia Highsmith's life. She is a complicated character and the various developmental outcomes that stem from this fact are not always for the faint hearted.

Countermove

Sydney Dance Company. Two Ballets – “Cacti”, choreographed by Alexander Ekman, and “Lux Tenebris”, choreographed by Rafael Bonachela. Southbank Theatre, Melbourne, May 25 – June 4, 2016, and touring.

Sydney Dance Company is back in Melbourne to prove once more that they are a major international force in contemporary dance (as if any proof were needed).

Showing all of the amazing athleticism and strident physicality melded with flexibility and grace that have made them famous, the dancers enthralled stalwart fans and newcomers alike.

Cacti

Play On!

By Rick Abbot. Presented by The Queanbeyan City Council. Directed by Jarrad West. The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. 10-21 May 2016.

Play On! is an endearing comedy in the mould of Dinner For One, about an amateur theatre production that goes off the rails. It’s just three days before the opening night of Murder Most Foul and director Gerry Dunbar (Liz Bradley) is anxious. They’ve only chosen this play to get out of paying royalties, but it’s turgid, derivative twaddle, and worse, the playwright keeps amending the script—not that the edits improve it at all. The players vary from having way too much ego or none whatsoever.

Senior Moments

By Angus FitzSimons and Kevin Brumpton. Return Fire Productions. Glen Street Theatre. From May 26, 2016.

Writers Angus FitzSimons and Kevin Brumpton have compiled a charming little revue that picks up on many of the topics that plague, annoy and, strangely, seem to fascinate the ‘senior’ generations. Everything old from radio programs to Brylcreem is revered; everything modern from mobile phones to Lady Ga Ga is reviled.

Resident Alien

By Tim Fountain. Directed by Gary Abrahams and presented by Cameron Lukey. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 25 May – 12 June, 2016.

Paul Capsis as the legendary and iconic Quentin Crisp is nothing short of brilliant. His magnificent performance is equally matched by the direction and the staging of Fountain’s sharp and opulent script. Crisp’s acerbic and wry humour, as well as his uncompromising controversial opinions, are sumptuously recreated in this play.

Songs and Sexcapades

Written & performed by Fifi La Boom. The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne. 24-29 May 2016.

‘Fifi La Boom’ appears alone on stage in a full-length peach coloured evening gown, which drapes rather than clings to her buxom figure, long white evening gloves and a rather mumsy hairstyle.  Respectable.  Keeping Herself Nice.  It’s her opening irony: her first gutsy song tells us she loves boys – all of them! 

Follies In Concert

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Goldman. Directed by Tyran Parke. Melbourne Recital Centre. 24th-25th May, 2016.

There is only one Stephen Sondheim. Though not the most popular, he is arguably the best ever composer for Musical Theatre. That, in itself, is enough reason to beg borrow or steal a ticket to this very special event. But there is also only one Nancye Hayes, whose star quality is dazzling, and one Phillip Quast (why has it taken so long for us to see him interpret Sondheim so exquisitely?); and one Lisa McCune (too young for Sally but who cares…she is divine) and one……well…

A Chorus Line

Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics: Edward Kleban. Book: James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante. Manly Musical Society. Star of the Sea Theatre, Manly. May 20 – 28, 2016.

A Chorus Line is one of my favourite musicals of all time. All performers having to be triple threats - great singers fantastic dancers and good actors - excites me.