The Heretic

By Richard Bean. Melbourne Theatre Company. Director: Matt Scholten. Sumner Theatre, MTC. May 12 – June 23, 2012.

When Doctor Diane Cassell (Noni Hazlehurst) publicly questions fellow academics’ data on climate change she loses her job, and even her life is threatened. Scepticism is a threat to political correctness. Add to that her department head who loves her, an anorexic and disturbed daughter, and a gormless but brilliant super-green student who wants to kill himself rather than pollute the world, and you have the recipe for a highly palatable night’s entertainment.

Teach Me to Cry

Written and directed by Mohammed Hashem. Owl and the Pussycat, Richmond, Melbourne. May 8 – 19, 2012.

Sweet Charity

By Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon. The Regals Musical Society. St George Auditorium, Kogarah. May 15 – 19, 2012.

Downsizing was the only real option, but what an excellent choice it has proven for Sweet Charity.

The renovation saga of the asbestos plagued Rockdale Town Hall drags on, with another show planned, cast and designed for the venue, needing to be re-thought for a small stage with miniscule backstage facilities.

Pared back to a stylish single setting, using minimal carry-on props, incorporating effective use of projections, director Ste Casimiro and The Regals Musical Society have come up with a pacy, high-energy production.

Carmen The Musical

By Georges Bizet. Adapted and Arranged by Bobbie Field. Book and Lyrics by David Badger. Warragul Theatre Company (Vic). Director: Michelle Carigy. West Gippsland Arts Centre. May 18 – 26, 2012.

The first thing that strikes you is the excitement and the passion that embraces everyone. No, not from the audience, which was small (but enthusiastic) at the preview I attended, but from the company itself. This is the heart of Community theatre – they give their all; not for the money; not for the glory; but for the sheer exhilaration and love of performing.


The Glass Menagerie

By Tennessee Williams. State Theatre Company of South Australia. Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Theatre. 4-26 May, 2012

What a stunning opening gambit! I imagine it was the brainchild of Director Adam Cook and his Designer Victoria Lamb. The smoke and Mark Pennington’s magic lighting effects, while set pieces rose or fell into place (not quite fitting together – deliberately, to remind us this is a memory play and memory is fallible) to Composer Stuart Day’s haunting sounds of the era,  remain fast in my memory.

Midnight Son

By Gordon Kerry. Victorian Opera. Conductor: Ollivier Philippe Cunéo. Director: Nicki Wendt. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse. May 16 – 23, 2012

I was one of a privileged crowd to experience the World Premiere of Gordon Kerry’s latest opera, Midnight Son. Based on the murder of Maria Korp in 2005, the names were changed and there was probably some licence taken with the story line, but it was a powerful drama.

I was blown away.

Blood Brothers

By Willy Russell. NUCMS (Normanhurst Uniting Church Musical Society, NSW). Co-Directors: Francis Voon and David Russell. Musical Director: Jeff Fisher. May 4 – 19, 2012.

There’s an aura of Greek Tragedy about Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers and its tale of twin brothers, Mickey and Edward, split at birth, raised in respective poverty and wealth, becoming best friends (unaware of their connection), before dying as a consequence of a tragic love triangle.

With basic resources and facilities, NUCMS presents a clear, creditable interpretation with a strong narrative sense, making a virtue of enforced simplicity. It’s a small show, well-matched to its presentation and venue.

Chess – The Musical.

Lyrics By Tim Rice. Music by Benny Andersson And Bjorn Ulvaeus. Auckland Music Theatre inc. Westpoint Performing Arts Centre, Westmere, Auckland. NZ, May 12 – 26, 2012

Three games – Chess, The Cold War and a love story are the base upon which the 1984 rock opera Chess The Musical rests; competition in politics, love and sport all in one story, told in true 80’s rock style, with big songs, big hair and big egos. One could say the musical has enjoyed checkered success since its first performance in 1986, yet in the past two or so years Chess has been enjoying a worldwide revival with some success.

A Hoax

By Rick Viede. La Boite and Griffin Theatre Company. 5 - 26 May at The Roundhouse, Brisbane and 20 July – 1 September, 2012 at The SBW Stables, Sydney.

Author Rick Viede achieved a rapid ride to stardom among playwrights: 2008 Griffin Award for his first play, Whore, which also won the 2010 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award; then A Hoax won the 2011 Griffin Award.

This dark comedy is as modern as yesterday: mobile phones, face book, youtube, familiar morning TV shows … you’re right in the picture.

Seven Stories

Presented by Kismat. Chapel off Chapel (Vic). May 9 – 12, 2012.

Seven Stories is deceptively named as it is more a magic show than an evening of story, although the storytelling element is well integrated and at times wise and elucidating, the intrigue is in the magic.

Charismatic Vyom Sharma has put a great little show together displaying, for me at least, almost perfect ‘sleight of hand’. He does tell stories and anecdotes throughout and is ably assisted by musician Steph Speirs, who underscores the whole with light lilting music from a Yamaha keyboard.   

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