Reviews

Midnite by Richard Tulloch – adapted from the Randolph Stow novel.

New Theatre Sydney.

It’s marvellous what you can find in an old book shop. The Artistic Director of the New Theatre found a dusty copy of this play with music on a shelf and couldn’t resist it. It’s not hard to see why. Midnite is a delicious piece of Australiana. There is a lovable 17 year old bushranger, his trusty pets, led most ably by his pet cat (spelt Khat), and a crooked copper – called Trooper O’Grady. The bushranger is orphaned and prompted into a life of crime. He goes in and out of jail and in and out of fortune.

The Secret Story of Cinderella and Her Fabulously Fashionable Footwear by Tim O’Connor

Harvest Rain Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre QPAC. Director: Tim O’Connor.

Harvest Rain have certainly lifted their game after last year’s somewhat drab holiday production of Peter Pan. Their new fast-paced version of Cinderella certainly had a lot going for it. Top marks to designer Josh McIntosh, who delivered a simple and classy set, and some exquisite costumes – and to Jason Glenwright, with another first rate lighting design. They are a dynamic duo when it comes to complementing each other’s design elements.

Oliver! by Lionel Bart

Cairns Choral Society

The opening night of Cairns Choral Society’s production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! was an enjoyable night of musical theatre.

The Book of Everything by Richard Tulloch, based on the novel by Guus Kuijer.

Belvoir Street Theatre. Company B / Theatre of Image co-production. Director Neil Armfield. Designer: Kim Carpenter.

Surrender to the infectious wonderment of Thomas Klopper, nearly 10, and share a joyous theatre experience in The Book of Everything, engaging with the world through the eyes and heart of a wonderful hero, as he colours it with joyful, exotic fantasy. Enter Thomas’s world naively, with the help of Kim Carpenter’s delightful picture book setting. Playwright Richard Tulloch has sensitively adapted Dutch writer Guus Kuijer’s challenging, enchanting short novel, and director Neil Armfield has conjured it to life with theatrical magic.

Short + Sweet Theatre 2010

Newtown Theatre. Week 1 - January 6 to 10.

Gladiatorial 10-minute theatre is back for another year, and if the first week’s offerings are anything to go by, it’s a case of the good, the bad, and the tacky, tasteless and badly written.

Each week at Newtown, and, from February, at NIDA, different programs of ten 10-minute plays will be presented. Each week’s winner, selected on judges’ vote, and a single audience choice over the entire season, move forward to the final.

Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Adelaide Festival Theatre until 24 January, then touring.

Adelaide hasn't seen a professional production of Cats for years, but since the amateur rights were released just over 2 years ago, Adelaide has played host to amateur productions in 2008 and 2009 and now professionally once again in 2010.

 This production of Cats looks, feels and sounds great but something is missing, and it is very difficult to put your finger on just what that is.

Barely Contained

Circus Oz - Darling Harbour, Sydney until January 26. Adelaide - February 24 - March 14.

Anticipate smiling all evening, your smile broadening to laughter and heightening to awe.

Circus Oz has defied (and dispelled) gravity for 32 years now, joyously splicing anarchic larrikin clowning, physical theatre and circus skills.

A small, multi-skilled ensemble fills the evening with diverse, engaging entertainment, providing an immediacy and rapport missing from huge-cast, high-tech international circus behemoths.

The Wild Party

Melbourne. December 2009.

This production, directed by Bob Pavlich and billed as a play with music, was a dramatization of March’s 1928 poem that included popular songs from the era.

The chemistry between singer Kathleen Spaull and pianist Munro Melano was instantly captivating and both performed brilliantly. Kathleen’s pack-a-day timbre, laced with a sweet touch of G&T, captured the feel of each song perfectly.

One is warm in winter, the Other has a better view

Platform Youth Theatre. Written by Adam J A Cass (assisted by Andrea Jenkins, Neil Triffett, Justin Grant and Caitlin Dullard in collaboration with the Platform Youth Theatre Ensemble); Director Caitlin Dullard; Set and Costume Design Tanja Beer; Lighting Design Geoff Adams; Music Composition Amanda Coventry and Samak A Sangi. Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, 3–13 December.

There was a moment, very early on in this Platform Youth Theatre production, where I became hypnotised by what was unfolding. The delightful Kayla Roberts (The Unknown) stands completely still, staring – full of wonderful curiousity – at Andrea Jenkins (The Bitter) as Ms Jenkins literally hurled a firey and defiant monologue about her painful relationship with a higher authority straight to the audience from about three feet away. There was no earnest, self-concsious, well-meaning 'youth-on-stage-instead-of-on-the-streets' worthiness at play here.

It Runs in the Family by Ray Cooney

Canberra Repertory, directed by Walter Learning. Theatre 3, 20 November to 12 December 2009

I've just survived perhaps the funniest play I've ever seen: Ray Cooney's It Runs in the Family, staged by Canberra Rep at Theatre 3. This performance was so funny that audience members literally fell out of their seats laughing.

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