Reviews

The Metropolis Monologues and The City Park Plays

Short plays by Belinda Campbell, Louise Hopewell, Alison Knight, Lois Maskiell, Michael Olsen, Mazz Ryan and Gregory Vines. Season 2020, Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. The MC Showroom, 48 Clifton Street, Prahran. 17-22 December 2020

Melbourne Writers’ Theatre present a double bill of eleven short plays.  The first half is the six monologues of The Metropolis Monologues, directed and designed by Elizabeth Walley, and produced by Clare Mendes.  Staging is stripped to the bare minimum but that is no drawback here.  There is no clear theme uniting the six – except perhaps the aftermath of disaster in four of them, or a pressing problem in the present in the other two.  The monologues range from Michael Olsen’s alien (Marli van der Bijl) reporting defiantly to ‘Control&rs

Spirit Of Christmas 2020

Josh Piterman, Amy Lehpamer, Renee Jones, Miles Le Goullon, Danielle Remulta, Liam J. Kirkpatrick, Major Scott Allen, Tom Cooney and Sofie Formica. QPAC Chamber Choir. Qld Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Dane Lam. Director: Paul Dellit. Concert Hall, QPAC. 18-19 December 2020

With A Christmas Carol playing at the theatre next door, and the Spirit of Christmas back at its home in the Concert Hall, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at QPAC. That is a ‘normal’ Christmas before the pandemic. This year’s Spirit of Christmas concert was slightly different to other years, being shorter at 80-mins (no interval), a smaller in numbers choir, and no audience interaction, which the littlies always enjoy.

Kinky Boots

Music & Lyric: Cyndi Lauper. Book: Harvey Fierstein. Director & Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell. Musical Director: Stephen Oremus. The Shows Must Go On - Streaming 18-19 December 2020

Like Disney’s Newsies, this video of Kinky Boots is one of the best around because it captures the euphoria of a live performance. Recorded in London, the show, based on the movie, which in turn was based on a real story, has Charlie Price inheriting his father’s shoe factory and turning the business around by making shoes (or boots) for drag queens. The video springs from the London production of the show, a carbon-copy of Broadway, which opened at the Adelphi Theatre in 2016.

Carnival of the Animals

Created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa Ensemble. Directed by Yaron Lifschitz. Presented by Circa and QPAC's Out of the Box Festival. Playhouse Theatre. 16 – 20 December, 2020

Spot-lit on an empty stage is a stack of mismatched, old-fashioned, hard suitcases. The audience assembled in the Playhouse at QPAC is bubbling with anticipation. “Wow, that is one BIIIIIGGGG TV,” a little voice pipes up in the row behind.

“That’s no TV, Victoria,” says a slightly older sounding little voice.

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens. Adapted and created by Shake & Stir. Director: Michael Futcher. Shake & Stir Theatre Co and QPAC. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 16-24 December 2020

Shake & Stir’s acclaimed production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the perfect show to welcome audiences back into QPAC’s largest theater, the Lyric. Previously seen at the Playhouse, this grand little show has now been blown up to fit onto the Lyric stage. As it turns out, it has just been opened up a bit and  sits quite comfortably on it. That means that Craig Wilkinson’s brilliant state-of-the-art video projections now play an even bigger role in the production, as does Jason Glenright’s moody and appropriate lighting.

Merrily We Roll Along

By George Furth and Stephen Sondheim. WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students and Music Students. Directed by Brent Hill. Geoff Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley. Dec 15-17, 2020

Merrily We Roll Along, the final ‘big' production for WAAPA for 2020, was performed by WAAPA 3rd Year Musical Theatre Students and Music Students, and was designed, built and crewed by students studying Production and Design.

Still performing to a very restricted, non-public audience and with a very limited season - this show still had the feel, production values and panache that we expect from departing performers in their final production. 

Spring Awakening

By Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. WAAPA Second Year Music Theatre and Music Students. Directed by Crispin Taylor. WAAPA Amphitheatre, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA. 14-17 Dec, 2020

WAAPA Second Year Music Theatre students and Music students are finishing the year in style with this outdoor production of Spring Awakening. A vibrant, high energy production that has a rock concert vibe - this is still a very restricted production, with capped audiences and shortened season - which is being performed well after when students normally would have finished for the year.

Beanstalk

By Sam Longley. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Short St, Fremantle, WA. Directed by Phillip Mitchell. Jan 11-30, 2021

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will open 2021 with the World Premiere of Beanstalk, a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, from the Giant’s perspective. Having played a short schools' season, and a single, media and friends’ performance - it will open properly to restricted audiences in January.

Gypsy

Music: Jule Styne. Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Arthur Laurents. Director: Jonathan Kent. Musical Director; Nicholas Skilbeck. Choreography: Stephen Mear. 2014 London Savoy Theatre, production streaming on The Shows Must Go On/Amazon Prime in November 2020.

Imelda Staunton is sensational as Mama Rose! It’s simply one of the great performances of this Mother Courage of musical theatre roles, and she has a Best Actress Olivier Award to prove it. Determined, strident, but vulnerable, not only does every line-reading have character, but also every song-lyric. She’s the best Mama Rose I’ve ever seen on stage. Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece could not be in better hands.

42nd Street

Book: Michael Stewart and Mark Brambie. Music: Harry Warren, Lyrics: Al Dubin. Senior Music Theatre Class, Spotlight Theatre, Benowa. Director: Hannah Crowther. Musical Director: Matt Pearson. December 10 – 12, 2020.

Spotlight Theatre, on the Gold Coast, is celebrating its 65th birthday this year and its Youth Theatre Classes have been training young people in the many phases of live performance for many of those years.

For the past month, the various classes have had the opportunity to perform their various plays on the main stage at the theatre’s Benowa premises.

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