Reviews

RENT

By Jonathan Larson. Shire Music Theatre, Sutherland Memorial School of Arts. November 30 – December 9, 2012.

While there seemed to be a good production of rock musical RENT happening on stage, it wasn’t until after interval on opening night that audience members got the full experience.

But please read on past the next two pars, as an unhappy beginning led to a much more positive conclusion.

Arsenic and Old Lace

By Joseph Kesselring. Heidelberg Theatre Company. Director: Bruce Akers. November 22 – December 8, 2012.

Villains wear many faces in playwright Joseph Kesselring's pitch-black comedy classic, Arsenic and Old Lace. There are the adorable faces of elderly aunts Abby and Martha Brewster, whose treatment of lonely old men gives 'charity' a new meaning. Then there is the face of their murderous nephew Jonathan, distorted by plastic surgery to hide his crimes. You would think Jonathan is the true fiend of the piece but the story gets darker, and funnier, from there.

A Hunger Suite

Clockfire Theatre Company. Devisors: Emily Ayoub, Mine Cerci, Alicia Gonzales. Producer: Kate Worsley. Outside Eye: Gareth Rickards. Old 505 Theatre, Surry Hills. 21 November to 2 December 2012

Happy Days is here again!

Bye Bye Birdie

Music: Charles Strouse. Lyrics: Lee Adams. Book: Michael Stewart. Harvest Rain Production. Director: Tim O’Connor. Choreographer: Callum Mansfield. Powerhouse, Brisbane, 29 Nov - 8 Dec, 2012

Bye Bye Birdie by Harvest Rain’s first and second year interns was a funny and enjoyable production of the classic Broadway musical.

Michael Stewart’s book for this social satire of the sixties, teenagers, rock ‘n’ roll, and mother issues, is surprisingly still relevant, and Strouse and Adams’ score still bursts with vitality 50 years after it was written

Diary of a Scoundrel

By Alexander Ostrovsky, adapted by Rodney Ackland. Villanova Players. Seven Hills Campus of TAFE, Brisbane. Director: Brian Cannon. Nov 23 – Dec 8, 2012.

Diary of a Scoundrel is a 150 year old Russian comedy, and at its original length is three acts and three and a half hours long. It was translated into English in 1988. Fortunately this adaptation brought it down to two acts thanks to Rod and Maria Thompson’s edits and cuts by director Brian Cannon. It’s still a long play, but at two hours and twenty minutes it’s more manageable.

Milos (Karadaglic) In Concert

The Recital Hall, Melbourne - Sat 1st December, 2012. Perth Concert Hall - Mon. 3rd December.

The guitar is the most personal of instruments. It is shaped like a woman and needs to be held gently against your body, cradled in your lap, in order to be played. It is a sensual scenario before a note is played. You speak to her, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes with demanding passion, and she responds. Depending on how you touch her, that response can be the most achingly beautiful expression of love that you will ever experience. Last night, in Melbourne’s impressive Recital Hall, we witnessed that love affair expressed with the most extraordinary intimacy.

The Polyphonic Bard: Music and Shakespeare in Our time

Presented by The Pocket Score Company and Canberra Academy of Dramatic Arts. The Street Theatre, Canberra. 30 November – 2 December, 2012

Hooked on Shakespeare? Part of The Street's Made in Canberra series which fosters emerging local talent, The Polyphonic Bard is an opportunity to listen to gorgeous late Medieval and early Renaissance music and get to see some upcoming young actors, and for the  students of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Arts to perform Shakespearean scenes and sonnets a semi-professional, nurturing context.

Jesus Christ Superstar

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Ashfield Musical Society. Concord RSL. Nov 2 – 11, 2012.

Did you first experience Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1970s as a rock concept album or a large-scale, spectacular rock opera?

Well, it also works as a relatively intimate piece (I’d only previously seen amateur productions in large venues).

Director Dennis Clements’ simple set, using gleaming tubular construction scaffolding, creates effective levels and entrances on a very tight stage, keeping props to a minimum.

SONGS & STORIES OF PETER ALLEN

Starring Todd McKenney. State Theatre, Sydney. November 23, 2012. Touring Nationally.

Todd McKenney’s motto is to be yourself as everyone else is taken. It’s the theme for a sparkling concert which allows him to recount his connection to Peter Allen and backstage stories of playing him in The Boy From Oz.

From seeing a Peter Allen concert as a child in Perth, to meeting the great man himself at a BBQ in Bondi, to playing the role in the World Premiere in 1998, the lives of the two men intertwine.

Falling Petals

By Ben Ellis. 5pounds of Repertory Theatre. Director: Rob Reid. Cast: Jason Cavanagh, Susannah Firth, Sebastian Gunner, Tom Molyneux and Freya Pragt. The Owl and the Pussycat – 34 Swan St Richmond. 27 November – 1 December, 2013.

This paradoxically ambiguous yet insightful play is simply presented, with the clarity and confidence one would expect from capable and discerning Director Rob Reid.   

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