Reviews

A Monster Unfinished

Written and Performed by Empire Youth Arts’ 2020 Senior IMPACT Ensemble. Review by Madeleine Tiller Toowoomba Empire Theatres, Toowoomba. October 23 and 24, 2020.

More than two hundred years after its publication, the story of Frankenstein still has much to offer theatre audiences, particularly in macabre 2020. In May, we streamed London’s National Theatre Live Frankenstein and found ourselves captivated by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller as they alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creature.

Footloose

Book and Lyrics: Dean Pitchford. Music: Tom Snow. Spotlight Theatre, Benowa, Gold Coast. Director: Nathan French. October 23 – November 14, 2020

Leading the return of live entertainment on the Gold Coast, Spotlight’s third show since July is Footloose, based on the movie by Dean Pitchford.

This is Nathan French’s first venture into mainstream theatre and for a young director, together with Shari Willner (Musical Director) and Martina French and Jamie Watt (co-Choreographers) has created a fabulous production.

A View From the Park

By Noel O’Neill. Maverick Theatre Productions and Old Mill Theatre. Directed by Noel O’Neill. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth WA. Oct 23 - Nov 1, 2020

A View From the Park, a co-production between Maverick Theatre Productions and Old Mill Theatre, is a collection of six short plays, written and directed by local author Noel O’Neill. All two handers, set on a park bench, there is a lovely variety to the stories, and they are being well received by Covid capacity audiences.

The set consists of a rather attractive park bench, with hints of the park and the time of day being provided by subtle lighting design by John Woolrych.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of War Of The Worlds – The New Generation: Alive On Stage!

Music & Lyrics: Jeff Wayne. Additional Lyrics: Gary Osborne. Black Smoke Band, ULLAdubULLA Strings, Conductor: Jeff Wayne. O2 Arena, London, 2012. The Shows Must Go On. Live streaming on YouTube 23-25 October, 2020

Jeff Wayne’s monumental progressive rock version of H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel War of the Worlds was originally released as a two album set in 1978. It went on to become a best-seller around the world, spawned video games, DVDs and live tours.

Kate Kelly

By Merrill Findlay and Ross James Carey. Musical direction by Patrick Burns, directed by Linda Thompson. Presented by Gertrude Opera (online opera festival). 16-25 October, 2020.

This opera is a contemplative and melancholy exploration of Kate Kelly (Emily Burke, soprano) and her tumultuous relationship with the land, men and the authorities. The show opens with ‘Bricky’ Foster (Andrew Moran, baritone) whose deep tones effectively capture the hypermasculinity of his character and the regrettable actions that it cultivates. There is both a bitterness and a charm to this character and this reveals an interesting complexity to his persona.

The Backstage Sessions Live

Adelaide Guitar Festival. Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide. 23 October, 2020.

As with many artists and artistic ventures in 2020, Slava Grigoryan’s Adelaide Guitar Festival was halted by the impact of Covid19.  They did, however, conceive of and produce The Backstage Sessions, presented as a series of virtual concerts and broadcast from the wings of The Adelaide Festival Theatre featuring a stellar cast of Adelaide’s guitar legends - you can still catch the recordings online. 

Together, Apart

Composed by Nicholas Gentile. Lyrics by Lincoln Hall. Musical direction by Patrick Burns. Directed by Linda Thompson. Presented by Gertrude Opera (online opera festival). 16-25 October, 2020.

The theme of this opera is especially apt for the current circumstances in Victoria and the story captures many themes around the way contemporary romantic relationships are developed and sustained. The “to camera” format is ingenious and produces a powerful atmosphere of intimacy. The four outstanding performers Georgia Wilkinson (soprano), Morgan Carter (soprano), Nigel Huckle (tenor) and Sam Ward (baritone) appear on the screen in Caravaggio like fashion: dramatically set against a dark background.

A Promenade of Shorts: A Mini Festival of Tiny Plays

Red Phoenix Theatre and Holden Street Theatres. Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh, SA. 22 - 31 Oct, 2020

It feels exciting to finally be attending live theatre as it now somewhat gingerly emerges from the COVID hibernation chrysalis. Indefatigable actor and Arts promoter Martha Lott is predictably leading the charge, in partnership with award winning Red Phoenix Theatre and a cavalcade of well known, loved and respected Adelaide community theatre actors and technicians.

The Man Who Wrote Shakespeare

By David Cronin. Back2Back Short Play Festival. Star Theatres, Hilton, SA. October 23 to November 1, 2020

‘To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature’ – a line from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing that sums up the play The Man Who Wrote Shakespeare, but did the Bard really write it?

Playwright David Cronin has devoted an amazing amount of time to delving into the premise that Shakespeare was not solely the author of his own works. While this play is a combination of fictional dialogue combined with fact, he has kept, as accurately as possible, to documented evidence.

The Other Place

By Sharr White. Fremantle Theatre Company. Directed by Chris Edmund. Victoria Hall, Fremantle. Oct 17 - Nov 8, 2020

The Other Place is the debut production of Fremantle Theatre Company, which has taken residence in Fremantle’s Victoria Hall. A stunning introduction to this new company, The Other Place is a stellar production which is playing to rapt, capacity audiences.

Victoria Hall is looking fresh and vibrant, with front of house, essentially a trendy laneway bar, a great place for a pre-show drink. A great atmosphere - and you may be lucky enough to meet Front Of House Dog Audrey, who takes her public relations job very seriously. 

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