Reviews

Crimes of the Heart

By Beth Henley. Roy Edinger Theatre (WA). Director: Susan Lynch. May 6 – 21, 2011.

In her director’s notes, Melville Theatre’s Susan Lynch discusses that this is a difficult play to pin down to a single genre, eventually describing it as a good story. Indeed, with her cast, she does a good job of storytelling.

Set in a languid Mississippi fall, the story was relayed at Southern pace at times, but remained intriguing.

Believable sisters were very nicely played by Elethea Sartorelli as ‘old maid’ eldest sister Lenny, Tanya McCall as ‘prodigal sister’ Meg and Bianca Kenna as wayward youngest sibling Babe.

Feedum Fighters

By Dorian Mode. Zenith Theatre and Springboards Performing Arts. Director: Adrian Barnes. Choreographer: Trenton Shipley. Lighting: Michelle Rendell. Set: Simon Greer. June 30-July 3, 2011.

As comedies go, Feedum Fighters couldn’t get much more topical.

Daryl Lucas is a chunky soft drink salesman hailing from the genteel, cultural oasis that is the NSW Central Coast. He’s been abducted by a quirky trio of elite, military-minded personal trainers who plan to torture him with several weeks of extreme dieting.

What follows is a rollicking commentary on our nation’s love affair with exploit-o-porn reality TV – highlighting the ironic dual-success of shows which feature both cooking and dieting.

Jazz Garters III

Canberra Repertory (ACT). Director: Jim McMullen. Theatre 3, Action, 24 June to 9 July, 2011

If there's one predictable constant in Rep's variety shows that has carried over from Music Hall into Jazz Garters, it's the surprise factor.

M.A.

Written by Maria De Marco. World Premiere. Newtown Theatre (NSW). Director: Markus Weber. Musical Director & Composer: Michael Summ. June 29 – July 10, 2011

Maria De Marco stars in this personal confession of addiction, dependency, and dedication to her controlling and manipulating matriarch, during her first visit to “Mothers Anonymous” [M.A.].

Orphans

By Dennis Kelly. Queensland Theatre Company. Bille Brown Studio. June 23 - July 9, 2011

I believe this is the best piece of play writing I’ve come across in over forty years of theatre experience. I recommend any aspiring playwrights or screen writers to see this play and watch Dennis Kelly’s language at work.

Of course a play is only as good as its actors, and this cast of three do it justice. Kat Henry’s direction is spot on.

The action is unrelenting. Dialogue fragments blast at you like a ripiendo of rimshots, pinning you to your seat.

Waitressing and Other Things I Do Well

Gillian Cosgriff - Twelve Acts of Cabaret. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 24 June 2011

Gillian Cosgriff was Part Two of Act 11 of Twelve Acts of Cabaret, appearing as a double bill with Toby Francis. She was more talented than Francis and much more entertaining.

Accompanying herself on piano and singing her self-composed quirky songs (almost ‘cabaret rap’) about acting, waitressing and friendship, she had no trouble in winning over a very receptive audience. Her funniest riff was when she substituted the word “Builder” for actor in a piece that skewered the brutal and soul-destroying acting audition process.

An Evening with Steve Ross

Twelve Acts of Cabaret. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, 25 June 2011.

What better way to finish QPAC’s Twelve Acts of Cabaret than with the New York cabaret legend Steve Ross. Essaying the great American Songbook (Cole Porter/Irving Berlin/Jule Styne), plus a little of the English (Noel Coward/Ivor Novello) and French (Charles Trenet/Edith Piaf) as well, Ross brought a touch of sophistication to the Cremorne. He also landed a lot of laughs, but then he’s been delivering this material for the past 40 years so he knows where they are.

Blokelahoma! – Toby Francis

Twelve Acts of Cabaret. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC. 24 June 2011. Musical Director: Nigel Ubrihien

Midway through Toby Francis’ Blokelahoma! Part one of Act 11, a double bill of QPAC’s Twelve Acts of Cabaret, Francis made a joke about the dichotomy of being a straight man singing show songs and working in cabaret.

Colder

By Lachlan Phillpott. La Boite Indie and Michelle Miall. Roundhouse Theatre. 22 June – 9 July 2011

Who would have dreamt the new 400-seat La Boite in-the-round space could convert so effectively into an intimate theatre of 90+ seats? New Artistic Director of La Boite in 2009 did. Now in its second season we are still appreciating benefits of his longer-term vision.

Colder, first of the 2011 Indie season, uses this performing space to best effect.

Summer of ‘42

By David Kirshenbaum and Hunter Foster. The Hills Musical Society (NSW). Don Moore Community Centre. June 17 – 25.

Summer of ’42 must have about the hottest kissing I recall in an amateur musical. The sexuality is unashamed. I hear it hasn’t been a show for the more old-fashioned tastes of some musical society members.

Teenage rites-of-passage movie Summer of ‘42 has been adapted as a musical, which played briefly Off-Broadway in late 2001. In the aftermath of September 11, the likeable musical closed prematurely after just 47 performances, despite a positive critical response.

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