Reviews

SpongeBob SquarePants

Music & Lyrics: David Bowie, Cindi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic at the Disco, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Yolanda Adams, Lady Antebellum, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Plain White T’s, Tom Kitt and others. Book: Kyle Jarrow. Director: Tina Landau. Musical Director: Tom Kitt. Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli. Amazon Prime Video

This sensory and psychedelic overload of Nickelodeon’s monster hit animated cartoon series is a playful and imaginative romp through the underwater world of Bikini Bottom.

Designer David Zinn, who created the sets and costumes, splashes the stage with color to create the most fabulous watery three dimensional and theatrical wonderland, with pink plastic umbrella jelly-fish and dozens of lime green pool noodles that approximate sea kelp, amongst other ingenious inventions.

NIDA Digital Theatre Festival

Tuesday 4 August - Sunday 9 August, 2020.

In response to the devastating effects of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on live performances, NIDA has pivoted to a digital theatrical response. The festival includes a collection of original works designed especially for a digital context and are all performed by 2020 NIDA graduates.

The Bodyguard

Adapted from the screenplay by Alexander Dinelaris. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Directed by Clem and Shelly Halpin. 31st July to 22nd August, 2020

Spotlight is the first Gold Coast community theatre to reopen and what a great production with which to greet their patrons.

The Halpins have gathered an incredible cast and crew together for a thoroughly entertaining piece of modern musical theatre.

Brighton Beach Memoirs

By Neil Simon. Canberra Repertory. Directed by Karen Vickery. Canberra REP Theatre, Acton. 30 July – 15 August 2020.

What an ingenious observer Neil Simon was of human foibles, the trouble we get ourselves into, and, especially, the complex negotiations we undertake in meaningful conversation.  And how apt, with its characters boxed in together without let, both its performers and its audience found the play to our times.

Decameron 2.0 (Episode One: Those Who Make Sacrifices).

State Theatre Company South Australia. ActNow Theatre. Streaming from 10 July 2020.

The original Decameron was a series of one-hundred novellas, structured as if being told from a secluded villa, in order to distract both its tellers and its listeners from the reality of the Black Death that was ravaging nearby Florence at the time. A most apt analogy for life at the present time.

Minefields and Miniskirts

Adapted by Terence O’Connell from book by Siobhan McHugh. Redcliffe Musical Theatre. Directed by Richard Rubendra. July 24 to August 2, 2020.

RMT has re-opened following the Covid-19 lockdown with a play that challenges audience members in so many ways. The Vietnam War seems an eternity ago but our understanding of what occurred in the battle zone  and the effects that had on those who were there and their families is made so much clearer in this production. What is so different in this play is that the emphasis is on four women who were in the battle area, and a military wife.

The Credeaux Canvas

By Keith Bunin. Lambert House Enterprises. El Rocco Café and Theatre, 154 Brougham Street, Kings Cross. July 25 – August 23, 2020.

The Credeaux Canvas is a play about longing for success, connection and affirmation.

Three young people live together in New York’s East Village. Two long for artistic triumph, the other to fill the gap his long dead mother and recently departed, but estranged father, have made.  None are gaining traction and they’re struggling to pay the bills, so hatch a plan to forge a famous painting and get rich off the proceeds.

She Loves Me

Music: Jerry Bock. Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick, Book: Joe Masteroff based on Miklos Laszlos “Parfumerie” (1937). Direction: Scott Ellis. Musical Director: Paul Gemignani. Choreographer: Warren Carlyle. PBS Broadway At Home. 24 July 2020 (also Broadway HD)

For years She Loves Me was on every musical theatre buffs bucket list of ‘must see’ musicals. Melbourne’s Production Company presented the first Australian production of it in 1999 and recently Sydney’s Hayes Theatre did a highly acclaimed version as well.

Friday Night Live

The Reservoir Room – Virtual Cabaret. Online from June 2020.

I emailed the publicist for The Reservoir Room asking if I could appear on the show to spruik the latest print edition of Stage Whispers Magazine, which we had triumphantly published during the pandemic. I expected the answer to be no, as they already had a brilliant line up of guests for their variety show broadcast which was on the next day.

Carousel

Music: Richard Rodgers. Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein ll. Stage Director: John Rando. TV Director: Glenn Weiss. Choreography: Warren Carlyle. Musical Director: Rob Fisher. Lincoln Center at Home Streamed Live 10 July – 8 September 2020

This version of Carousel springs from a performance on April 26, 2013, when PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center presented the New York Philharmonic’s concert-staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic musical.

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