Reviews

Boy Out of the Country

By Felix Nobis. Directors Felix Nobis and Fleur Kilpatrick. Designer Rob Sowinski. Composer Bang Mango Cools. Presented by Larrikin Ensemble Theatre at 45 Downstairs until December 8, 2013. (Vic).

There is an age-old debate that floats around in theatre circles – and the topic is playwrights directing their own plays. Directorial instinct is entirely different to a writer’s, an actor’s and a designer’s. It’s like the difference between a parent and a guardian; well might you behave like a parent, but the child will never truly be yours. It doesn’t change the nature of the extent of your ability to nurture, protect and care, but it certainly changes the circumstances – of which truth, honesty and respect are paramount.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Manly Musical Society. November 22 – 30, 2013.

Carnivorous plant Audrey II is munching its way through another terrific Sydney community musical theatre cast; this time digesting talented tasty treats from Manly and the northern beaches.

Director Matt Cater’s lively take on this rock’n’roll musical comedy pastiche of B Grade Horror movies for Manly Musical Society is laced with pleasant surprises for return visitors to Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist shop.

Dying For It

By Moya Buffini. New Theatre, Newtown (NSW). November 19 – December 21, 2013.

Whilst director Peter Talmacs writes of this play as a farce, there is little farcical style in the direction or the acting in this production. In fact, because much of the vocal work is exclamatory and the action postured; because there are recognisable “stock” characters and several tableaus and because the hero survives, it presents much more as a melodrama!

Heaven & Earth

By Will Gayre, aka Don Gay. Mainstage Theatre Company. Director: Don Gay. Peacock Theatre, Salamanca Place, Hobart. 22–30 November 2013.

Will Gayre, writer of Heaven & Earth, should produce a “how-to-write-a-play” book on the strength of his latest production. Start with a good idea: a real but inexplicable experience; add interesting characters; give them some action; throw in good reasons for their actions and behaviours; set the play against an interesting location, Italy; apply universal themes, such as the essence of reality, enduring love and the small gap between sane and insane behaviour.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Conductor: Mariss Jansons. Concert Hall, QPAC, Brisbane. 24-25 Nov 2013

What can I say that has not been said before? The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was simply superb. It is one thing to listen to them on CD or watch them on DVD but you cannot grasp the full-picture of how good they really are until hearing them play live. I have rarely been so moved as much as I was last night with the sound conductor Mariss Janson produced from this venerable and legendary orchestra. It was a night to celebrate.

Albert Nobbs

By Gordon Steel. Javeenbah Theatre Co., Nerang, Gold Coast. Director: Jim Dickson. 23rd Nov to 7th Dec, 2013.

You just can’t keep a good man down! Mr Gold Coast Theatre (octogenarian Joel Beskin) is currently appearing in the title role in Jim Dickson’s production of Albert Nobbs.

Alone It Stands

By John Breen. Villanova Players. Director: Leo Bradley. The Theatre, Morningside TAFE, Brisbane, 22 Nov-7 Dec 2013

I loved this play - a true story of the 1978 rugby union match between the local Irish side, Munster, and the New Zealand All Blacks which found the local side winning. It was the only match the All Blacks lost that season. A professional Irish company toured Australia with the play about eight years ago, but this was the first community theatre production. The cast of seven played 62 characters during the course of the piece; everything from children, to the Irish and Kiwi teams, the fans, the referee, a dog and even the football itself.

The Star Child

Adapted from Oscar Wilde’s short story. Book and Lyrics by Roger Gimblett. Music by Nicholas Edwards. Genesian Theatre, Sydney. World Premiere. November 24 – December 14, 2013.

Sixteen years ago Roger Gimblett and Nicholas Edwards first started composing and writing their adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s fable, but never got a chance to finish it, as both were on different sides of the planet.

Little Shop of Horrors

Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Brisbane Arts Theatre’s 15 Nov-21 Dec 2013

To cap what has been an ambitious and inspired season, BAT are proving that black is the new comedy.

Little Shop was written for an intimate off-Broadway theatre and earned multiple US awards there, so fits into Arts Theatre like a hand into a glove. Its plot is deliciously grotesque, the songs are many and melodic, the actors, singers and dancers are pearls in the crown. An eight-piece offstage band under the confident control of Luke Volker (also a co-director) sets a spanking pace and excellent backing for the singers.

NSFW

By Lucy Kirkwood. Directed by Tanya Dickson. Red Stitch Theatre, St Kilda (Vic). Nov 22 - Dec 21, 2013

Red Stitch have done it again; married a well written and controversial new play with a stellar cast for an exhilarating production.