Reviews

Mamma Mia!

Book by Catherine Johnson.  Music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.  Free-Rain Theatre. Directed by Jarrad West.  The Q, Queanbeyan.  15 April – 8 May 2021.

 

Shaun The Sheep’s Circus Show

Circa and Aardman. Regent Theatre Melbourne. April 14 – 18, 2021

Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show has hit the Regent Theatre in Melbourne for the school holidays. Two creative powerhouses have come together for the first time and developed a dynamic new visual extravaganza. Circa, an international touring circus company based in Brisbane, have collaborated with Aardman UK animation studio, uniting their audiences for an adventurous and wholesome new theatrical experience that offers a contemporary mix of dynamic circus acrobatics with cutting edge visual storytelling.

Reference Material

Directed and choreographed by Alisdair Macindoe. Darebin Arts Speakeasy, Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre. 14 - 24 April, 2021.

The nature of Reference Material is undoubtedly informative and pedagogical, as the title of the show suggests. This new contemporary dance show ventures into unexpected territory in terms of performance; almost the entire show is accompanied by a running commentary delivered by the performers while they are dancing. 

Is There Something Wrong With That Lady?

By Debra Oswald. Griffin Theatre Company. SBW Stables Theatre, Kings Cross. April 13 – 24, 2021

Debra Oswald is a success, writer of three novels and about ten produced plays (albeit last century) and creator of the acclaimed Offspring series and heaps of other telly. 

Now she takes to the stage with this solo memoir about what a fraught and thankless journey it’s been.  Sensibly, she admits her good blessings, professionally and with family, before launching into her lifetime of anxieties, and shares these with such an engaging, self-deprecating wit.

Mrs Robinson: A Soap Cabaret

Book, lyrics & direction by Ella Filar. Melbourne International Comedy Festival. La Mama Courthouse. 13 – 18 April 2021

Four characters, all in funereal black, carry a boat onto the stage.  Is it a boat or a coffin?  At any rate, they are emigrees – and hedonists – fleeing persecution only to wash up somewhere like the Riviera.  It’s the 1920s.  The black costumes come off.  Underneath, svelte period swim wear that reveals as much as it conceals. 

Margaret Fulton – The Musical

Music: Yuri Worontschak. Book & Lyrics: Doug MacLeod. Director: Aarne Nemme. Musical Director: Meg Kiddle. Choreographer: Dan Venz. Jally Entertainment. QUT Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. 13-14 April, 2021

Australians love to celebrate their heroes in song and dance - Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, Shane Warne in Shane Warne – the Musical, and now comes Margaret Fulton, the 60s cooking guru in Margaret Fulton – The Musical. This little show, which had its beginnings in Melbourne in 2012, is currently on an Australia-wide tour, and if last night’s audience is any indication, it’s going to sell out wherever it appears.

Because the Night

By Matthew Luton, Kamarra Bell-Wykes & Ra Chapman. Malthouse Theatre. From 23 March 2021 and ongoing

Because the Night takes the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, removes all Shakespeare’s language, tweaks the story here and there, reduces the cast to six, changes a gender, relocates it to a 1980s timber town called ‘Elsinore’ where the timber workers and the very forest itself resist the old regime, and, boldest step of all, locates the production in an enclosed thirty-three room set through which the audience wanders at will, witnessing (but sometimes missing) the key confrontations of the drama.

The Gruffalo's Child

CDP Theatre Producers present Tall Stories' musical adaptation of The Gruffalo's Child. Adapted from the award winning picture-book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, published by Macmillan Children's Books. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. April 10 - 17, 2021.

Original Director: Olivia Jacobs. Creative Producer: Toby Mitchell. Associate Director Australia/New Zealand: Liesel Badorrek. Designer: Isla Shaw. Lighting Designer: James Whiteside. Puppet Designer: Yvonne Stone. Choreographer: Luanna Priestman. Music and Lyrics: Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw. Additional Lyrics: Olivia Jacobs and Robin Price. Music Production: Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw for Jollygoodtunes.

The Little Mermaid

Victorian State Ballet. The Concourse, Chatswood. April 10-12, 2021

The ballet of The Little Mermaid was adapted by Martin Sierra from the original story by Hans Christian Anderson. Sierra chose music from a range of composers including Johann Sebastian Strauss, Franz Lehar, Dimitri Shostakovich, Gioachino Rossini, Brian Crain, Aram Khachaturian and Camille Saint-Saëns to re-tell this tale as a full-length classical ballet.

Charlotte’s Web

By Joseph Robinette, adapted and based on the novel by E. B. White. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Directed by Anne Blythe-Cooper. Playhouse Theatre, April 9-24, 2021

After a forced cancellation last year due to the COVID lockdown, Charlotte’s Web was the “we’re back” introduction to the 2021 theatre year for Hobart Repertory Theatre Society.

Charlotte’s Web, the play, is based on the favourite children’s book of the same name by E.B. White, about a runt pig rescued by a little girl, then saved from the butcher’s block by a loving and literate spider. Joseph Robinette’s stage adaption was faithful to the book’s themes.

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