Reviews

The Colours

Written and Performed by Peter Houghton. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director Anne Browning; Set and Costume Designer Shaun Gurton; Lighting Designer Richard Vabre; Composer David Chesworth. Lawler Studio, Melbourne until 12 September.

It is a brave man who will write and perform a one-man show about War. In fact, preparing to attend this performance, I must confess to wondering what more could (or perhaps needs to) be said about this too often recycled, reinterpreted and common-sense defying human endeavour. I have very fond memories of Alan Seymour's influential Australian War drama The One Day of the Year (banned by the Adelaide Festival in 1960) and English playwright Peter Nichols' musical farce Privates on Parade (produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company in 1980). And the list goes on.

Bugger the Polar Bears This Is Serious

Live comedy by Rod Quantock. The Street (ACT) 25 to 30 August 2009

Bugger the Polar Bears This Is Serious is surprisingly educational entertainment. But even better is its good news. Rod Quantock's genius lies in painting a picture that incorporates more than doom and gloom, more even than science education, to show that, no longer at the mercy of under-the-counter coal and nuclear kickbacks, we can be part of a global campaign.

Get Gary

Newtown Theatre. Phantom Productions.

Sydney playwright Rachel Musgrove's play, Get Gary, put on by Phantom Productions and directed by Henry Jennings, looks at the bizarre goings of a bunch of hapless, bumbling criminals.

Intent To Murder

Genesian Theatre, Sydney

Sydney's unique little inner city community theatre, the Genesian Theatre, is currently presenting a production of the British playwright Leslie Sands's lively thriller, Intent To Murder, directed by veteran director, Joyce Birch.

The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Gosford Musical Society. Director: Darryl Davis. Musical Director: Josh Hochkins. Choreographers: Janadine Hart, Carolyn McNamara, Karen Snook

The posters and program proclaimed ‘A New Mel Brooks Musical’ but it wasn’t Young Frankenstein, it was a splendid production of the 2001 Broadway blockbuster The Producers. Never quite shaking off the blissfully manic 1968 Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder movie from which it was derived, Brooks’ brassy-farcey musical nevertheless won 12 Tonys and ran for years.

Rockabye by Joanna Murray-Smith

Melbourne Theatre Company. Directed by Simon Phillips; Set Design by Brian Thomson; Costume Design by Esther Marie Hayes; Lighting Design by Philip Lethlean; Composer/Sound Design by Peter Farnan. With Kate Atkinson, Betty Bobbitt, Daniel Frederikson, Pacharo Mzembe, Zahra Newman, Richard Piper and Nicki Wendt. Sumner Theatre, Melbourne until 20 September.

Theatre, like sex – or in the case of Joanna Murray-Smith's Rockabye, the lack of it – can be a profoundly disenchanting and one-way affair.

Nine by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston

Shire Music Theatre (Sydney)

Shire Music performs up to four musicals a year – and is not afraid to dive into a repertoire of more eclectic works. This deserves commendation. Their production of Nine, based on the life of Italian film Director Federico Fellini, was well timed. The musical by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston won a Tony in 1992 but has faded from the amateur circuit in recent years. All that will change soon when Nine is released as a feature movie (by the Director of Chicago) starring Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman.

Slava's Snowshow

Presented by Ross Mollison and David J Foster. Directed by Viktor Kramer; Designed by Viktor Plotnikov and Slava Polunin; with Jef Johnson, Derek Scott, Nikolai Terentiev, Yury Musatov, Gigi Vega Morales and Aeilta Vest; Sound by Roma Dubinnikov; Lighting by Sofia Kostyleva; Stage Technicians: Francesco Bifano, Dmitry Sereda and Vitaly Galich. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Until August 30, then touring

Sometimes in the theatre, albeit all too rarely, magic can happen. Sometimes, when each and every theatrical element combines, the result is a perfect, fleeting moment of pure theatrical ecstasy. We recognise it instinctively – compelled to make sense of such welcome, but unusual, wonder. But never in my theatre-going experience, has magic happened as purely and simply (or as often) as it does within every riveting moment of Slava's Snowshow.

And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon by Mark Kilmurry

Ensemble Theatre, Sydney

Mark Kilmurry has gone for an out of the ordinary approach to creating new work with his latest play, And The Cow Jumped Over The Moon.

With this play Kilmurry has used the British auteur Mike Leigh approach to theatre making. This involves the writer/director working closely with the actors on developing the script whilst still maintaining his authorial stamp on the work.

The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson

State Theatre, The Arts Centre, Melbourne (Vic). Director: Gary Young. Musical Director: David Piper. Choreographer: Andrew Hallsworth.

I had not seen a live performance of The Boy Friend and looked forward to this production. This was a bit different as it was set as a play within a play, the centre stage being the performing area with the dressing rooms on either side. Although you could see the actors moving in and out of dressing rooms while the main action was on stage, I didn’t find this distracting.

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