Reviews

Caroline Nin: Songs & Stories of the Paris Lido.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. 6-7 June 2014.

A show with such a title promised slightly more than was ultimately delivered. While Caroline Nin's vocal talents are undeniable, and her sense of humour (when it emerges) can be delightful, her narratives are not quite engaging or striking enough for the performance to be considered an all-around brilliant one. Not to mention that, for this writer at least, her persona and repertoire felt slightly closer to that of the German, rather than French, tradition. Nevertheless, Nin's show is a solid bet for an hour well-spent.

Here Comes Everybody

Written & performed by John Paul Hussey. Metanoia Theatre @The Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick (Vic). From 5 – 15 June, 2014.

John Paul Hussey is a ‘round’ man – totally bald head, round torso, strong, stocky legs – but he uses this body with grace, agility and expressiveness.  He’s a performer with presence; he commands the stage and he does so for close to 90 minutes, all by himself.  Well, not really by himself: and he is rarely ‘himself’ anyway.  Having a brief word with him afterward, I met a man I didn’t see on stage (a nice man I hasten to add), but that’s hardly surprising.  Instead, he crams his show with a series of characters &nda

The Speechmaker

Written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch. MTC. Directed by Sam Strong. Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne. May 31 – July 5, 2014.

Hallelujah! After an erratic season and a half, MTC has on its hands a “World Premiere” smash hit production, which will undoubtedly travel to the UK and USA. The Speechmaker is 90 minutes of sheer entertainment geared perfectly for the core of both the MTC audience, and the new theatre-goer. It may not please some critics who are looking for something deep and meaningful (in what is essentially a satirical farce), but Cilauro, Gleisner and Sitch know their audience and have generously provided them with enough laughs to keep them warm through winter.

She Loves Me

By Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Therry Dramatic Society. Directed by Patsy Thomas. The Arts Theatre, Adelaide. February 17-22, 2014

The Therry Dramatic Society presents a shamelessly old-fashioned musical comedy with She Loves Me. Featuring catchy songs by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (of Fiddler On The Roof fame), She Loves Me is set in a small Hungarian parfumerie in the 1930s. The main plot is focused on the antagonism between two employees Georg (James Reed) and Amalia (Lauren Potter). Each of them has a secret pen-pal that they met through a lonely hearts column, with whom they can share their dreams and vent their frustrations with the stress of work.

Everybody Loves Lucy

By Elise McCann and Richard Carroll. Hayes Theatre Co., Sydney. June 4 – 6, 2014.

TV’s best-loved comedienne of the 1950s, Lucille Ball, is a delightful fit for Elise McCann in a tribute that feels more like a short play with music than a cabaret in the conventional sense.

Beforehand I wondered what inspired a triple threat performer with a stunning voice to base her cabaret show around Lucille Ball, a wonderful zany comic, notorious for her vocal range of just three notes.

Oliver!

By Lionel Bart. Mandurah Little Theatre. Directed by Karen Francis, Music Direction by David Hicks, Vocal Direction by Kristie Gray. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. 5-8 Jun, 2014

It would be hard not to like Mandurah Little Theatre's production of Oliver!, as it has a lot of heart. With a cast of over seventy (over forty of whom are children) and an orchestra of twenty - there are a lot of people working hard to get this one right, and for the most part, they do.

It’s Dark Outside

By Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, and Tim Watts. Perth Theatre Company. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 3–8 June 2014 and touring nationally

It’s Dark Outside presents an allegory of the experience of permanent memory loss, particularly in the formation of new memories, as commonly occurs in dementia.  Three writer–actors create an almost surreal, often surprising, insight into such an experience, showing us something of the experience of the one directly affected.

 

F*ck Decaf

By Tyler Jacob Jones. The Cutting Room Floor. Directed by Scott Corbett. Mary Street Bakery, Highgate, WA. 29 May - 14 June 2014

F*ck Decaf is an hilarious play in a fun setting.

For the most part a swift two-hander (aside from a gorgeous cameo by Jack Walker), F*ck Decaf follows a series of coffee dates between idealistic and conservative Ruby (Amanda Watson) and her wilder best and oldest friend Kate (Ann-Marie Biagioni). Superb and highly energetic performances from the performers kept the pace flowing in a captivating show.

CRIBBIE

By Margery & Michael Forde. Presented by 4MBS Classic FM. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 4 - 7 June 2014

CRIBBIE has more heart than other stage plays with music. It is real: about life and destruction of a suburb of Brisbane without warning. There is no protagonist. This play is about a community, isolated, disenfranchised, parodied by the media. Proud, close-knit community, Cribb Island was shattered by the news that the entire town was going to be resumed to accommodate an extended landing strip for international planes at Brisbane airport.

Supergirly – Return of The Pop Princess

Written by Lulu McClatchy. Directed by Lulu McClatchy and Lyall Brooks. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). Until June 8th, 2014

When you have two spectacular talents with great voices, a brilliant script (including the parodies of some iconic songs) and arguably more laughs than the whole of this year’s comedy festival put together, you are bound to be packed to the rafters night after night. Right? Well…no actually. And that’s a tragedy, because this is quite simply one of the funniest shows of the decade, if not the century. (Yes, I know we’re only 14 years in!)