Reviews

Good Grief.

Creative team: Rosina Gannon, Charlie Laidlaw & Greg Dyson. La Mama Courthouse Theatre. February 15 - February 27, 2011.

What's good about grief?

Usually we only miss something that we feel was worth having in the first place. In this memoir-on-stage, Rosina Gannon and Charlie Laidlaw share their memories of the mothers they lost — one to cancer and the other to a tumor.

In the Next Room, or the Vibrator play

By Sara Ruhl. Sydney Theatre Company / Melbourne Theatre Company. Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. February 11 – April 2, then touring.

There’s medical malpractice on stage nightly at the Sydney Opera House, and audiences are laughing.

Inappropriate?

Looking back at late 19th century sexuality (and its repression), women’s rights (or, rather, the lack of them), and the inequality of male / female relationships, through early 21st century eyes, audiences can laugh knowingly, from our comfortable distance.

Mrs Vincent Price

By Peter Quilter. Director: Alice Bishop. La Mama Courthouse Theatre. February 10 - February 27, 2011.

Melbourne-born actress — from the days when that was what you called female actors — Coral Browne stamped her idiosyncratic seal first on the Melbourne theatre circuit and then the world in a range of films, both traditional and avant-garde. If you've never heard of her, that's kind of the point — once a star, her career has been reduced to three words: Mrs Vincent Price.

Sacré Bleu

A classic French Farce double bill by Eugène Labiche & Georges Feydeau. Translation & Direction by Morgan Dowsett, adapted by Matthew Ryan. Queensland Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre. February 7 – March 12, 2011

After a seriously disrupted rehearsal and preparation period, this production is timely light relief from the flood ravages.

Farce requires its audience to suspend disbelief of outlandish situations.             

Each of these plays provides the improbable at the outset, then lollops through a cripplingly funny hour of unforeseeable situations that kept our mirth bubbling.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Words and Lyrics by Tim Rice. Packemin Productions. Director: Neil Gooding. Parramatta Riverside Theatres. Feb 11 – 26, 2011.

It makes so much sense to stage a pro-am production. Cast a name in the lead to attract extra bums on seats and allow the cast to benefit from working with a professional.

It rarely happens because the people who run amateur theatre companies do it because they enjoy being on stage themselves.

Packemin Productions Producer and Director Neil Gooding had no compunction about casting professionals.

Barry Crocker as Jacob, Mick Gerace as Pharoah and Andrew Conaghan as Joseph led a cast bursting with enthusiasm.

Just the Ticket

Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. By Peter Quilter. Director: Sandra Bates. Lighting: Nicholas Higgins. Feb 11 – Mar 26.

The Ensemble’s long-term Artistic Director (now Co-Artistic Director) Sandra Bates has already introduced three of British playwright Peter Quilter’s plays to Australia. Now Quilter has given her the world premiere of his latest – this 90 minute one-woman monologue about Susan, a lonely, chatty North Country spinster, self-described as ‘an unaccompanied old biddy’, who takes a three-week budget holiday from London Heathrow to a low-budget Sydney backpackers’ hotel.

 

Mikki Ross in CreativiT.V.

Midsumma Festival 2011. The Butterfly Club. January 27 - January 30, 2011.

If you're the kind of person who enjoys arts festivals, then you know that one of the best things about them is the chance to see creative geniuses who will never have mass appeal (unless they string out a series of viral YouTube videos).

Mikki Ross defies classification. Yes, he sits at a piano and sings. Yes, he makes you laugh with his witty repertoire. Yes, there's something vaudevillian about Mikki.

But he's as anti-Australian-Idolish as you can get.

Speaking in Tongues

By Andrew Bovell. Griffin Theatre Company (NSW). Ddirector: Sam Strong. SBW Stables Theatre. Feb 8 – Mar 19.

Opening with a striking balance of truthful acting and precise theatrical orchestration, I sensed from the outset that Sam Strong’s new production of Australian play Speaking in Tongues would be rather special.

There’s a passage of concerted ensemble acting, with the cast of four attuned to each other like a splendid instrumental quartet. Consider that this is the amalgam of two parallel, overlapping scenes, as two couples negotiate separate adulterous trysts, and the effect is all the more extraordinary.

It’s a Dad Thing: The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Matthew Carey. SINGular Productions. State Opera Studio (SA). Feb 11 - 19.

This is a show NOT to be missed! It's a Dad Thing: The musical is an adaption by Adam Goodburn with music and Lyrics by Matthew Carey, directed by David Lampard. Put these three names into the production team of any show and you already sense that it is going to be something big.

As soon as you walk into the venue you get a feel for this production. The set consists of bright green astro turf, larger than life daisy cut outs and giant ABC blocks, an instant indication that the audience is in for a 'play school' good time.

Grease 2: Live in Concert.

Midsumma Festival 2011. Stage Adaptation by Robbie Carmellotti and Drew Downing. Directed by Robbie Carmellotti. Musical direction by Drew Downing. Gasworks Arts Park. February 10 - February 16, 2011.

Grease, the movie, defined retro-rock cool for the early 1980s. So when the sequel was released, sans Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and the rest of the original iconic cast, it could only flop.

This stage version of Grease 2 is a high voltage fun musical that smashes expectations. The story is almost a reverse of Grease. Instead of Sandy changing to become attractive to Danny, Michael (Chris Ostrenski) transforms himself to win Stephanie (Melanie Ott), but feels like he's lost himself in the pretence.

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