Reviews

Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Festival Theatre, 19 June 2024 (touring to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane)

One could be forgiven for thinking this was a teenage crowd, such was the screaming welcome to Patti LuPone to the Festival Theatre stage. Whoops and cries of recognition did not let up throughout the next two hours in the company of one of the world’s most talented musical theatre performers.

The Last Train to Madeline

By Callum Mackay. Fever 103 Theatre. The Meat Market, North Melbourne. Jun 18 – 29, 2024

Produced by theatre company Fever103, the play ‘The Last Train to Madeline’, written by Callum Mackay, directed by Hayden Tonazzi, produced by Harry Dowling, was staged at The Meat Market in North Melbourne. What instantly drew me to this play was that it’s a love story. As a poet and writer who writes politically through the lens of love, I had to see what this is all about. 

Cost of Living

Written by Martyna Majok. Co-directed by Priscilla Jackman and Dan Daw. A Queensland Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company Co-Production. Bille Brown Theatre, 20 June – 13 July, 2024.

Martyna Majok’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning play Cost of Living had the opening-night audience at Billie Brown Theatre in fits of laughter from the get-go. It wasn’t long however before this play about the many ways in which people physically and emotionally need people was also breaking our hearts.

Lift Off For Leslie

In memory of Leslie Brown. A Ulysses Production. Directed by Jane Pirani with work by eight choreographers. Townsville Civic Theatre. 20 – 22 June 2024.

I NEVER KNEW Townsville dancer, Leslie Brown, who sadly passed away on Christmas Day last year, but if the overwhelming sense of perception and emotional celebration that imbued this entire production is anything to go by, then he must have been really extraordinary.

Leslie Brown was a dancer with Ulysses for some years, and for the past 17 years this company has been staging an annual production with dancers drawn chiefly from the Ann Roberts School of Dance, proving again just what can be – and continues to be – achieved in the Townsville community. 

Kirill Gerstein The Art of the Impossible

Musica Viva. Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide. June 20, 2024 and touring

There is nothing better on a cold Winter’s night than a piano recital at the Adelaide Town Hall by a superstar of the keyboard, and who better than the amazing Kirill Gerstein!

Gerstein has rapidly earned his place in classical music’s highest ranks. His early training and experience in jazz have contributed to his interpretive style, creating a dynamic and intelligent approach that distinguishes his playing.

[YOUR NAME]

Written by Kate Bubalo. Directed by Lily Hayman. KXT on Broadway. Purple Tape Productions in Association with Bakehouse Theatre. 14 to 29 June, 2024.

[Your Name] is an original play that offers a refreshing and heartfelt exploration of teenage friendship and the allure of fanfiction. The play is about three teen girls who are working together to write a reader-insert Harry Potter spoof fanfiction. One of the young ladies, Petra (played by Evelina Singh), decides that it is vital to their story to write a steamy scene between the love interest, Larry (Andrew Fraser), and their main character, [Your Name].

Shrapnel

By Natalie Gamsu and Ash Flanders. Performed by Natalie Gamsu. Kadimah Yiddish Theatre. Fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane. 18 – 23 June 2024

The thread that runs all through Shrapnel, Natalie Gamsu’s one-woman show, is frustrated regret that she is not Spanish.  Every now and again, she exhibits a flamboyant flamenco dancer gesture, contrasting that with the far tamer expressions of esprit, emotion and identity that she feels have been forced upon her.  Sephardi Jews were expelled from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century and became part of the scattered diaspora.  Long, long before Gamu’s birth of course, but she knows.  For her ancestors, it mean

Master Class

By Terrence McNally. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Directed by Liesel Badorrek. 14 June – 20 July, 2024

The Ensemble Theatre is certainly ‘on a roll’. First night audiences have been leaping to their feet right, left and centre. The last few productions have indeed featured some exceptional acting and, though Master Class may not hit the heights as a play, it has plenty of great theatrical moments played to the absolute hilt by Lucia Mastrantone as Greek opera singer Maria Callas.

Eurovisionary

By Joe Louis Robinson, Perth International Cabaret Festival. His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, WA. Jun 16, 2024

Joe Louis Robinson performed Eurovisionary, a love letter of sorts to Eurovision, to a packed house as part of the Perth International Cabaret Festival. The audience, a mix of Eurovision Super Fans, and some who’d never seen a Eurovision Final, were enthralled throughout, with this talented, relaxed and very comfortable performer.

Elvis: A Musical Revolution

Book by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti. Directed by Alister Smith. Produced by David Venn Enterprises. HOTA, Gold Coast from June 14 to July 7, 2024, then Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne from July 27.

Put another nickel in the jukebox and let’s groove to the cool - and hot - vibe of the mid 20th Century, chicks and dudes.

It’s hard to believe that Elvis Presley was born nearly 90 years ago and most of the audience at this juke box musical only know of him through their parents or Youtube archives.

Nevertheless, Elvis was an icon who shaped the music world of yesteryear and this jukebox musical packs more of a punch than most.