Reviews

The Will To Be

Written & performed by Mark Salvestro. Co-produced with BCauseARTS. Midsumma Festival. La Mama Courthouse. 19 – 23 April 2021

William O’Halloran (Mark Salvestro) has just received a letter from his Head of Department.  He is forthwith dismissed from his position as lecturer in the English department for an ‘act of gross indecency’.  It’s the 1960s – not that long ago – and it’s a different world.

The Gospel According to Paul

By Jonathan Biggins. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse. April 19 – May 1, 2021

The Gospel According to Paul, written and performed by Jonathan Biggins and directed by Aarne Neeme, is, as the publicity blurb states, ‘Politics as Performance – The Art of Political Satire’ and it is a truly deliciously wickedly funny and often poignant night in the theatre.

Ben Elton Live 2021

Canberra Theatre Centre. 20 April 2021 and touring Australia and New Zealand till the end of May.

 

The Pirates of Penzance

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Director: Michael Nunn. Musical Director: Lucas D. Lynch. Lynch and Paterson production. Twelfth Night Theatre Brisbane. Apr 15 – 18, 2021.

The orchestral introduction warned me that what was to follow was not the standard version of Pirates as from my past. This was very true, as this adaption brought much of the content up to the present while still based on the original story line. When it was first produced in America in 1879, America did not recognize international copyright laws and there have been many interpretations over the years. This is another – and a good one. Apprentice Frederic was to leave the pirates, a collection of orphans, but cannot because of his birth on 29th February.

The Cane

By Mark Ravenhill. Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre. 7 April – 9 May 2021

The cane of the title is that tool of discipline employed by schoolteachers.  That bendy stick of cane or bamboo that stung, sometimes bruised, sometimes broke the skin, and left a numb ache.

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

Adapted by Richard George. Art in Motion Theatre (AIM). Directed by Hannah-Jade Keppler and Blair Louis. City of Gosnells Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Thornlie WA. Apr 15-17, 2021

Art in Motion Theatre (AIM) billed this sweet little show as “a play for kids by kids”, and this school holiday entertainment not only featured a cast of only kids, but was directed and crewed by children and teens. While we have seen productions in YouthFest do this (and do very well), to my knowledge this is the first time we have seen kids do this in a ‘main-stage’ production.

Unsorted

By Wesley Middleton. Midsumma. Bluestone Church Arts Space. April 10 – 25, 2021

Unsorted, playing as part of the Midsumma Festival, is a play for children between the ages of 4-12. Written by LA based playwright Wesley Middleton in 2014, some three years before the passing of the Gender Equality Bill in the USA, it aims at addressing acceptance of gender diversity and freedom of choice. Director Tara Daniel felt the message is as relevant today as it was before the passing of our own legislation.

Legally Blonde

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Book by Heather Hach. HAMA Productions. Directed by John O’Hara. Crown Theatre, Perth, WA. Apr 16-25, 2021

HAMA Productions burst into Crown Theatre with this beautiful, big pink production, that is delighting huge audiences. HAMA’s first full-scale production in this venue is pushing boundaries, with great production values and a gorgeously polished show.

While HAMA presented Legally Blonde at The Regal three years ago, with a number of performers reprising their roles, this is not really a remount, with a new director, some fresh sets, new costumes and a different vibe.

The Wedding Singer – the Musical

By Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, Music by Matthew Sklar, Lyrics by Chad Beguelin, based on the New Line Cinema film written by Tim Herlihy. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, April 9 – 24, 2021, and touring

‘Love is what I do,’ croons Robbie Hart, the titular character of The Wedding Singer in the big opening number of this new stage production of the Tony Award nominated show, based on the Adam Sandler movie of the same name. And once your strip back the bold colours of the costumes and neon lights, this is the mantra of this simple story.

Robbie is New Jersey’s number one wedding singer. That is until his own fiancée strands him at the altar. His broken heart is only saved by a kind waitress, engaged to a Wall Street trader.

Mamma Mia!

Book by Catherine Johnson.  Music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.  Free-Rain Theatre. Directed by Jarrad West.  The Q, Queanbeyan.  15 April – 8 May 2021.