Reviews

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens. Adapted and created by Shake & Stir. Director: Michael Futcher. Shake & Stir Theatre Co and QPAC. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 16-24 December 2020

Shake & Stir’s acclaimed production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the perfect show to welcome audiences back into QPAC’s largest theater, the Lyric. Previously seen at the Playhouse, this grand little show has now been blown up to fit onto the Lyric stage. As it turns out, it has just been opened up a bit and  sits quite comfortably on it. That means that Craig Wilkinson’s brilliant state-of-the-art video projections now play an even bigger role in the production, as does Jason Glenright’s moody and appropriate lighting.

Merrily We Roll Along

By George Furth and Stephen Sondheim. WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students and Music Students. Directed by Brent Hill. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley. Dec 15-17, 2020

Merrily We Roll Along, the final ‘big' production for WAAPA for 2020, was performed by WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students and Music Students, and was designed, built and crewed by students studying Production and Design.

Still performing to a very restricted, non-public audience and with a very limited season - this show still had the feel, production values and panache that we expect from departing performers in their final production. 

Spring Awakening

By Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. WAAPA Second Year Music Theatre and Music Students. Directed by Crispin Taylor. WAAPA Amphitheatre, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. 14-17 Dec, 2020

WAAPA Second Year Music Theatre students and Music students are finishing the year in style with this outdoor production of Spring Awakening. A vibrant, high energy production that has a rock concert vibe - this is still a very restricted production, with capped audiences and shortened season - which is being performed well after when students normally would have finished for the year.

Beanstalk

By Sam Longley. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Short St, Fremantle, WA. Directed by Phillip Mitchell. Jan 11-30, 2021

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will open 2021 with the World Premiere of Beanstalk, a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, from the Giant’s perspective. Having played a short schools' season, and a single, media and friends’ performance - it will open properly to restricted audiences in January.

Gypsy

Music: Jule Styne. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Director: Jonathan Kent. Musical Director; Nicholas Skilbeck. Choreography: Stephen Mear. 2014 London Savoy Theatre, production streaming on The Shows Must Go On/Amazon Prime in November 2020.

Imelda Staunton is sensational as Mama Rose! It’s simply one of the great performances of this Mother Courage of musical theatre roles, and she has a Best Actress Olivier Award to prove it. Determined, strident, but vulnerable, not only does every line-reading have character, but also every song-lyric. She’s the best Mama Rose I’ve ever seen on stage. Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece could not be in better hands.

42nd Street

Book: Michael Stewart and Mark Brambie. Music: Harry Warren, Lyrics: Al Dubin. Senior Music Theatre Class, Spotlight Theatre, Benowa. Director: Hannah Crowther. Musical Director: Matt Pearson. December 10 – 12, 2020.

Spotlight Theatre, on the Gold Coast, is celebrating its 65th birthday this year and its Youth Theatre Classes have been training young people in the many phases of live performance for many of those years.

For the past month, the various classes have had the opportunity to perform their various plays on the main stage at the theatre’s Benowa premises.

The Prom

Music: Matthew Sklar. Lyrics: Chad Beguelin. Screenplay: Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin. Director: Ryan Murphy. Streaming on Netflix, 11 December 2020

The Prom is a ‘B’ grade Broadway musical with an ‘A’ list cast. Headed by Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, and Andrew Rannells, it’s another production in the Ryan Murphy juggernaut that has elements of Glee and High School Musical with its set of heightened happy song-and-dance film-cliches, which the cast devour and deliver with pin-sharp accuracy.

A Christmas Wish

Written and directed by Noel O’Neil. Irish Theatre Players. Townshend Theatre, Irish Club of WA, Subiaco, WA. Dec 10-20, 2020

The Irish Theatre Players are a long established theatre club, but their current production, A Christmas Wish, is their first time doing a pantomime. Written and directed by Noel O’Neil, A Christmas Wish is a pantomime and a parable for our times. Very much written with 2020 in mind, it features lovely songs, a whole heap of “dad jokes” and pantomime groaners and a very likeable collection of characters - brought to life by a talented, hardworking cast.

Frozen

Music & Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Book by Jennifer Lee. Disney Theatrical Productions. Capitol Theatre Sydney. Opening Night – December 10, 2020.

When the original movie swept the world like an out-of-control blizzard, Disney raced to adapt the hugely popular film into a musical, from script to stage, in just 18 months.

On the technical side it has done wonders – turning animation into theatrical alchemy.

It begins with sparks flying across the stage, when the sisters Elsa and Anna (as children) come to terms with the princess’s supernatural powers to turn things into ice.

When the sisters are cast out in the wilderness, all manner of visual tricks adorn the stage.

The Rivals

By Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Angus Street, Adelaide. 3-5 Dec, 2020

"'Tis safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion." A malapropism from Mrs. Malaprop herself which seems to sum up the play, The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

The Rivals is the Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s last offering for the year and their first performance returning to a live audience.

A satisfying end of the year for the ‘Rep’ who have been stoically soldiering on through Covid-19, providing audiences with virtual plays online.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.