Reviews

Exit the King

By Eugene Ionesco. Translation by Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Emma Sproule. Dionysus Theatre Company. McClelland Performing Arts Centre (Vic). Oct 5th – 13th, 2012. – Fridays and Saturdays Only.

Last night I was present at the birth of a new theatre company. Many are born, but some are sickly and die in infancy. Dionysus, however, is a strong, healthy and beautiful baby – conceived in love and passion for theatre. Its mother is Emma Sproule, an exciting young director and winner of last year’s Victorian Drama League award for Best Director of a Comedy, and the birth was an exciting and joyous occasion.

A Picasso

By Jeffrey Hatcher. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Sept 28 – Oct 20, 2012.

It’s Paris in 1941, the day before Pablo Picasso’s 60th birthday, during the Nazi Occupation.

The Emperor’s New Clothes A New Musical

Music and Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler. Book by David Holstein. Stage Artz Theatre. Glen Street Theatre, Sydney. September 28 - October 6, 2012. Australian Premiere.

This was a treat for the eyes, the ears and the belly.

Seamstresses and set designers whipped up lavish costumes and a cute set including an adorable closet laden with shoes.

For the ears there were delicious tunes in this production written only a few years back for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

The composer even flew out from the US to listen to some extra songs written especially for a large cast and seen on stage for the first time.

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugo Wheeler. Direction: Dean Mitchelmore. Musical Direction: Ian Nisbet. Altona City Theatre. 21st September to 6th October, 2012.

This is an epic show that traditionally pivots around a dark brooding menace in the form of Sweeney Todd, seething because of years of injustice, and with an unswerving desire for revenge. This is not the Sweeney that Altona City Theatre gave us. This Sweeney (Dave Barclay) presented a man who was cold, aloof and seemed dislocated from the world around him.  

Legally Blonde The Musical

Book by Heather Hach. Music and Lyrics by Lawrence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Opening Night: October 4, 2012. Lyric Theatre, QPAC from March 14, 2013.

It has shopping, a cute Chihuahua, lots of pink and plenty of hunks on display.

Legally Blonde The Musicalpresses all the right buttons for a demographic which is overwhelmingly female.

It’s based of course on the movie about a blonde who enters Harvard Law School in a bid to win her snobbish boyfriend back.

The question is does this adaptation work as a musical? The answer is Omigod this is a hit!

Promises, Promises

Book by Neil Simon. Music and Lyrics by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Directed by Nadia Tass. The Production Company. State Theatre Melbourne. October 3 – 7, 2012.

They say if you remember The Sixties you weren’t really there. Well I was there, and I do remember every year. I remember Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond’s  The Apartment inspiring me to be a writer; and falling in love with Jack Lemmon. I remember every Burt Bacharach and Hal David song and wore out Aretha’s version of “Say a Little Prayer”. I remember every Neil Simon play, starting with Come Blow your Horn. It was a magical decade, and the stuff that Promises, Promises is made of.

Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger

By Steven Dawson. Out Cast Theatre. Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre (Vic). Director: Steven Dawson. 2 – 13 October, 2012.

Out Cast Theatre, Australia’s longest running theatre collective for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender audiences is presenting Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Butt Boy and Tigger meet online and begin sharing sexual fantasies in imagined settings ranging from soccer change rooms, a navy ship, 19th century stables and WW1 trenches. When Butt Boy suggests a physical meeting, he destabilisesthe ‘good thing’ on which their connection is based.

Blind Tasting

Written and directed by Paul Gilchrist. Starring Sylvia Keays. Produced by subtlenuance. Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Loft, Lithuanian Club, North Melbourne. Sept 28th to Oct 5th 2012.

Go up the stairs, past the hundreds of posters for other fringe performances and into a small dark room and take a peek into the life of Sophie, and “discovering truth hidden in each glass” of wine.

Part performance, part wine tasting, this witty, insightful performance was well crafted by Paul Gilchrist and delivered with confidence and a delightful balance of light and shade by Sylvia Keays. I think the script would make a great short story.  

Side by Side by Sondheim

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Canberra Theatre Centre and Enda Markey. Canberra Theatre. 21–22 September 2012 and touring.

Side by Side by Sondheim recaptured the wit and songwriting talent of Stephen Sondheim with old-fashioned flair and style but also included a modern-day narration of the context of the songs, courtesy of master of ceremonies and narrator Jessica Rowe.  Rowe's own elegance and beautiful speaking voice contributed hugely to the audience's relaxation throughout.  Rachel Beck and Geraldine Turner nicely played off the straight-man persona that Michael Falzon mostly projected, all three singing

Lei Hideaway

Created by the cast. Clockfire Theatre Company. Old 505 Theatre, Surry Hills (NSW). 25 Sept to 30 Sept 2012

I reviewed Clockfire’s last show, The Grief Parlour, back in June and it was one of the best theatre performances I’d seen in Sydney for a long time. Lei Hideaway is a worthy successor.