Reviews

Bombshell In Concert

Music: Marc Shaiman. Lyrics: Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman. Director: Michael Mayer. Musical Director: Marc Shaiman. Choreographer: Joshua Bergasse. People.com free live-stream. Wednesday 20 May 2020

When Bombshell In Concert aired last Wednesday it was manna from heaven for musical theatre geeks who worship at the shrine of Smash, the beloved NBC series which aired for two seasons 2012-13.

Funny Girl

Music: Jule Styne. Lyrics: Bob Merrill. Book: Isobel Lennart from an original story by Miss Lennart. Revised Book: Harvey Fierstein. Director: Michael Mayer. Vision Director: Robert Delamere/ Musical Director: Alan Williams . Choreographer: Lynne Paige. Recorded Live Manchester Palace Theatre, August 2017. Digital Theatre. Cost: £7.99

What is it about the English and American musicals? They seem to be able to revive them and bring dollops of lustre to even the most jaded of musical forms – for instance the backstage musical. Just look at Imelda Staunton’s groundbreaking performance as the definitive Mama Rose in Gypsy.

Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Producer/Narrator: Raul Esparza. Director: Paul Wontorek. Musical Director: Mary-Mitchell Campbell. Streamed 27 April 2020, and available on broadway.com/YouTube

Technical hitches mired the first six minutes of this celebration which began half an hour after its advertised curtain time, but the edited version which can now be picked up on the net is a musical theatre aficionado’s delight. Musical geeks will salivate over the roster of Broadway stars who deliver their most intimate performances in their living rooms, studies and kitchens.

Gaslight

By Patrick Hamilton. State Theatre Company SA. Directed by Catherine Fitzgerald. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. 4 – 19 September 2020

From the moment we join the socially distanced queue, we can feel an air of excitement that, for most of us, has been missing for the last six months. Not only is it a night out at the theatre, but at a newly rebuilt one: Her Majesty’s Theatre is a splendid reinvention of the original building. The façade remains but nearly everything behind it is new, with an almost-1,500 seat auditorium on three levels (though in these times, only every other seat was used) and it is furnished with rich reds and a forest of curved wood.

Come To Where I Am – Australia, Volume 2

Presented by Critical Stages Touring in conjunction with Paines Plough. A live Facebook premiere event. Wednesday, 2nd September 2020.

This is the second instalment of the series which livestreams original works by writers exploring their experience of life under COVID-19 restrictions in a range of remote and exotic locations around Australia. The snapshot of the disturbance of the virus into these peaceful and idyllic locations highlights the immense beauty of each place and the ways in which Corona has infiltrated our lives physically and, most importantly, psychologically. The pieces are recorded and read by the writers and makes for some sombre yet enormously uplifting performances.

Southern Baptist Sissies

By Del Shores. Director/Screenwriter: Del Shores. Streaming BroadwayHD/Amazon prime

Del Shores’ play Southern Baptist Sissies premiered in 2000 and has since gone on to become widely produced in regional theatres in the U.S. and even in London. Shores, an LGBT+ writer with credits such as Sordid Lives and Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will, filmed a recent Los Angeles production of Southern Baptist Sissies, incorporating footage shot in front of live audiences and without. The result is a technically proficient, enjoyable, and at times explosively funny movie of the live performance.

Sixty Dancers, Sixty Stories

Queensland Ballet. HOTA, Gold Coast. August 29th, 2020.

Oh, the bliss of going to see a live show once again. My heart sang with joy when I saw the audience all dressed up for something special. And special it was. The Lakeside Room of Home of the Arts was bathed in dappled light, with tables socially distanced and set with candles. There was a great air of anticipation as people waved to each other but avoided hugging and other intimacy. These are different times indeed. Nevertheless, we were HERE and we were part of a defining moment that reassured us that live performance could not be beaten down, Covid or not.

The Viewing Room

By Mark Smith. Joondalup Encore Theatre Society (JETS). Directed by Tim Reissen. Padbury Community Hall, WA. August 21-28, 2020

Joondalup Encore Theatre Society (JETS) performed the Australian premiere of new American play The Viewing Room, after a Covid delay, at Padbury Community Hall. Set in the viewing room at a funeral parlour in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the deceased, Chester, wakes up to greet his family.

The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare. Streamed Shakespeare www.streamedshakespeare.com August 21 – 23, 2020

As Coronavirus struck Australia, closing theatres all around the country and in the process darkening the lives of all those involved in arts, actors, directors, creatives, technicians and administrators were suddenly out of work and facing an uncertain future. But hope and the possibilities of technology soon stirred creative minds, and a small wealth of theatrical ideas emerged.

Welcome to The Masque

Genevieve Lemmon and Max Lambert. Riverside Theatres Digital. August 23, 2020

Genevieve Lemon is our unsung National Treasure. There is very little she cannot do. People who know her from TV shows like Prisoner know she is a fine comic talent. If you’ve seen the film Sweetie you’ll see her amazing range as a film actress, and who could forget her great performance on stage in Billy Elliot.

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