Reviews

Half A Person: My Life as Told by The Smiths

By Alex Broun. Fly-On-The-Wall Theatre. Chapel off Chapel, Prahran. RETURN SEASON. AUGUST 4 - 15

Half A Person, written by Alex Broun, is the 110-minute story of William’s life, performed solely by Mark Taylor. If the length of the show wasn’t amazing enough, Taylor also had to stop and sing The Smiths songs throughout the show.

Silence by Hoa Pham

La Mama Courthouse, Carlton (Vic). Until June 6.

Silence demonstrates the power of faith, family and memory through the story of three Vietnamese/Australian women and was written by Vietnamese author and psychologist Hoa Pham (http://www.hoapham.net).

Burnt by Stefo Nantson and Tom Lycos.

ZEAL Theatre and STC ED. Wharf 2 Theatre, Sydney and touring.

Country high school students helped Zeal Theatre develop Burnt, a touring storytelling play about the impact of drought, commissioned by the Sydney Theatre Company. Zeal’s three performers deftly switch between a whole community of characters to tell a story of country teenagers, their parents, friends and community, under stress. Despite this dark theme, it’s mostly quite a lively romp.

Tempest by William Shakespeare

Mixed Salad Productions. Director: Sally Putnam. Star Theatre One. (S.A.). Until 5 June.

The opening to this version of Tempest takes place before the first flash of strobe lighting and long-delayed crack of thunder. Director Sally Putnam visited Bali last year and her travels got her thinking about interpreting Tempest. The original was set somewhere in the 'New World'. Why not make that new world look a lot like Bali?

Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell

Pymble Players. Director: Racquel Boyd. May 5 - 29.

Speaking in Tongues is a tricky piece of theatre by anyone's standards. Four actors (Bobby Babbin, Glenn Hermann, Judy Jankovics and Vanessa Merewether) play four characters (two married couples) in the first act, and then portray five entirely different characters in the second act, with only one character from Act One returning in the second half. Act One consists of several distinct chapters, while Act Two is basically a re-enactment of the two stories which were related in two monologues delivered by two characters in Act One.

Curtains

By Rupert Holmes, John Kander and Fred Ebb (original book and concept Peter Stone). Hornsby Musical Society. Hornsby RSL Club. May 20 to 29.

Curtains is an odd coda to the great Kander and Ebb partnership, usually far grittier in choice of themes (Cabaret and Chicago) than this musical comedy and Agatha Christie whodunit spoof. It’s a show that lost not one, but two original creatives, in lyricist Fred Ebb and librettist Peter Stone, over its 10 year development.

That Face.

By Polly Stenham. Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda. Director: Sarah Giles. 30 April to 29 May.

That Face takes a small slice of life and turns it into an entire world.

Dusty – The Original Pop Diva

By John-Michael Howson, David Mitchell and Melvyn Morrow. CLOC Musical Theatre Inc. The National Theatre, St Kilda. Friday, 21 May 2010 (Until June 5)

Dusty is CLOC’s first show at The National Theatre, a venue that seats 250 more than CLOC’s old home at the Alexander Theatre, Monash Uni. Clayton. The National is great, but if you’re coming to see the show take public transport because parking around the theatre is terrible.

Rain Man

Updated and adapted for the Stage by Dan Gordon. Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: Sandra Bates. May 4 – July 24. (Touring to Canberra, Penrith, Belrose and Wollongong)

As iconic, quintessentially poignant American films go, they don’t really get much more significant. Tom Cruise broke through as a serious actor (albeit spasmodically) with his powerful turn as the guileful and selfish Charlie Babbit, the term ‘autistic savant’ entered the common vernacular, Australia discovered it was the home of the world’s safest airline and Dustin Hoffman waltzed off with Oscar at possibly the shortest odds ever in his career. A goofy-footed surfer on the recent wave of film-to-stage adaptations? Certainly.

Cats

By Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Lunchbox Productions / David Atkins Enterprises. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. May 16 – June 1.

Is it really 25 years – almost half a lifetime – since I first saw Cats?

Like so many other Aussie musical theatre fans of my generation, I absorbed the original London recording for four years after the show’s West End premiere, anticipating a unique musical theatre experience.

When Cats finally arrived in 1985, with its stellar original Australian cast, performing on a rubbish tip extending into the auditorium of Sydney’s Theatre Royal, I was hooked.

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