The Boy From Oz.

Music and Lyrics by Peter Allen. Book by Nick Enright. The Production Company, State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne until August 22. Return seasons 5 to 16 January, and February 9 to 13, 2011 at The Arts Centre. March 2 to 17. Capitol Theatre, Sydney.

Having seen and loved the superb original Australian production of The Boy From Oz, I am still thoroughly entertained by the latest, somewhat scaled down version. There are, indeed, moments of absolute surprise and delight among the joys of revisiting an old favourite.

The Dream

deepblue orchestra. Canberra Theatre Centre, 13 August 2010

Deepblue promised to look like an orchestra, act like a band, feel like a movie. But it understated.

Enriching every piece were surprisingly well-synchronised visuals. And throughout moved the musicians: rarely in traditional poses, usually afoot, often dancing steps difficult even without an instrument occupying both hands. Deepblue capably sustained Barber's Adagio at a pace that treated the audience's sonic palate to the aural equivalent of golden syrup, butter, and wild blackberry.

An Enemy of the People

ActNow Theatre for Social Change – Ayers House Museum (SA)

Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s version of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People was charmingly set in the Ayers House Museum, amongst memorabilia, paintings, artifacts and architecture of a time gone by, and excepting for a few choice garments not particularly representative of the play’s era, was a convincing backdrop to the piece by ActNow Theatre for Social Change, directed by Edwin Kemp Atrill.

Kitty Flanagan - Charming & Alarming

The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House. August 13 - 21

What a gem, an absolute hoot, a woman with big hair who’s witty - That’s Kitty.

Normally I find I’m not a fan of the stand-up fem comedienne. I generally find that I just don’t find them as funny as men. Why? I don’t know. It’s not a sexist thing it’s just about what makes me laugh and what doesn’t.

Kitty Flanagan, however, has changed all that - she’s turned the tables for me and shifted my thinking. I’ve now become a ‘raving fan’ - I’ve touted, posted and twittered about how good Kitty is.

Menopause: The Musical

By Jeanie Linders. HIT Productions. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. August 17 – 29

“Most women know intuitively that every other woman is experiencing memory loss, night sweats, or hot flushes, but when they are in a theatre with hundreds of women – not just a few sympathetic friends - and all are laughing and shouting “that’s me!” then they know what they are experiencing is normal. They aren’t crazy. It becomes a sisterhood.” - Jeanie Linders, author of Menopause: The Musical.

From Chekhov With Love

Steam Productions. Newtown Theatre. August 13th - Sept 4th

Love, lust, anger, attraction, confusion and more. From Chekhov with Love’consists of three short plays by Anton Chekhov. Having three plays on offer in one production is refreshing and delightful for audiences, as there is no time to get bored as a new story is always unfolding. This is a show for anyone who enjoys the tension and mild frustration of compromising situations, pantomimic elements and a touch of farce.

Winter’s Discontent

Written and Performed by William Zappa. Darlinghurst Theatre (NSW). August 10 - 22

‘You are the sum of all you’ve been and done.’ What then for an actor who has played numerous parts from villains to heroes? Do they know who they’ve really been and what they’ve really done when they have been playing other people? As well as playing other people they’ve had to play themselves with all the trials and tribulations of being one of many in a flooded industry, wondering what will happen next, struggling for parts and countless rejections.

Fraudulent Behaviour and 2 Dimensional Life of Her

Arts House. The Meat Market. (Vic.) Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 August

Fraudulent Behaviour is a funny and lively, delightfully quirky piece of storytelling. Rosie Dennis, as raconteur, surprises as she charms. Firstly she works through a long list of dishonest claims made by people she knows that, strangely, we all seem to know or have met. Then she dances with invigorating swirling movements.Quaintly Rosie talks to an imaginary friend, and her other companion, a decoy duck, which, seemingly by way of response, bobs slightly in his bowl of water - all the while looking very smart and worldly.

Boy oh Boy oh Boy From Oz.

Music by Peter Allen. Book by Nick Enright

David Spicer reviews three productions staged by The Gosford Musical Society, The Metropolitan Players Newcastle and The Canberra Philharmonic Society.

If I see one more shaking maraca I might burst, but I still get a kick out of seeing The Boy From Oz, which this month is almost every weekend.

The Gosford Musical Society sure knows how to excite its community. Their 16 performance season sold out before opening night, and extra performancess sold out in hours.

Daisy Chain

By Eryn and Alan Skinner. Rouse House Theatre Company. Theatre Works, St Kilda (VIC). August 12 – 21

Daisy Chain tells the story of two children?/ teenagers? who find themselves in hell after picnicking in the forest. Unfortunately, the audience also found themselves in hell for the duration of the grueling two-and-a-quarter hour run time.

Writers Eryn and Alan Skinner were operating within an absurdist framework and they hit the nail on the head. Everything about Daisy Chain was so utterly absurd that it successfully distanced and alienated the entire audience.

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