Reviews

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.

By Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman and Jeremy Sams. Bel Canto Productions. Directed by Blake Jenkins. Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, WA. Jul 9-17, 2021

Bel Canto Productions’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. is a top-notch little youth production with great heart, excellent production values and some gorgeous performances. Featuring a strong directorial debut from Blake Jenkins, this show is delighting its capacity crowds, and with its great cast of kids and teens is a wonderful glimpse at the future of musical theatre in WA.

True West

By Sam Shepard. Presented by Robbie Greenwell and Marko Siklich. Bakehouse Theatre. 14-17 July, 2021

True West is not a piece of theatre to be taken lightly. It is confronting, powerful, and at times very uncomfortable to watch. The audience rides a bronco throughout this play - it bucks and jolts and throws us to the ground on many occasions. Unlike a bronco ride, however, which is jarring and fairly mindless, True West is confrontational and thought-provoking.

The Tap Pack

Devised by The Tap Pack. Directed Nigel Turner-Carroll. HOTA Gold Coast and touring during July 2021.

When I fist reviewed The Tap Pack it was back in 2014 and it was only the pack’s second gig. I found them super talented, full of energy and commitment, enthusiastic but still looking for that element which would enable them to put their stamp on a genre that had all but died out.

Seven years later, they have found it, without losing the magic that made them fresh and innovative in the beginning. They know exactly who they are and are now free to pursue excellence. With talent in spades, that’s not a hard journey.

Twisted, The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier

StarKid Productions. Directed by Brittany Isaia. Marloo Theatre, Greenmount, WA. Jul 7-24, 2021

Twisted is an unconventional look at the Aladdin story, playing at Darlington Theatre Players’ Marloo Theatre. High satire, with ripe language and some adult concepts, this is not for all audiences, but this strong directorial debut from Brittany Isaia is well performed, with excellent production values and is clearly impressing its capacity audiences.

Collision

By Casus Circus. Presented by Metro Arts. Directed by Natano Fa’anana. Choreography by Ché Pritchard. New Benner Theatre at Metro Arts, Brisbane. Wed 14 – Sun 18 July, 2021

Something magical occurs when performers put their all into a show. Everyone in the room feels it as a form of energy exchange. In Collision Casus Circus and Mad Dance House have combined their skills to bring you that magical energy in bucketloads. They’re astounding audiences at the New Benner Theatre at Brisbane’s Metro Arts’ shiny new West End location until July 18th.

When the Rain Stops Falling

By Andrew Bovell. Iron Lung Theatre. Theatre Works, St Kilda. 12-31 July 2021

Andrew Bovell’s 2008 play weaves together past, present and future, embodying his twin themes of the familial sins of the fathers and the ecological sins of all of us upon this our Earth.  If the latter sounds portentous, it is a subtle, allusive presence in the family saga.  Each is almost an allegory for the other.  The story, beginning in 2039, and travelling backward to 1959 and points in between, across three generations, echoing the Old Testament, in which the Lord our God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Director and choreography Maureen Bowra. Lynch and Paterson production. Twelfth Night Theatre. Brisbane July 9 – 18, 2021

This 1970 rock opera only appeared on the Broadway stage because of the success of a concept album that had been released earlier. Basically, the musical is sung through and is loosely – very loosely – based on the final week of the life of Jesus as told in the Gospels. The concentration is on political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. The interpretation of that history as shown in this musical upset so many people and it is easy to see why.

The Addams Family

By Marshall Bickman, Rick Elice and Andrew Lippa. Diamond Valley Singers. Warrandyte High School Theatre, Vic. July 10 – 17, 2021

The DVS production of The Addams Family is a tribute to the dedication of community musical theatre companies, with the show opening some more than a year after beginning rehearsals.

The production also lost a principal cast member, the talented tour de force Antony Steadman, who passed away earlier this year. Antony had been cast to play Uncle Fester. Fittingly, the performance run is dedicated to Antony's memory.

School of Rock

Based on the Paramount movie by Mike White. Book by Julian Fellowes. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Director Madeleine Johns. Redcliffe Musical Theatre, Queensland. July 9 – 18, 2021.

What a school this is! Based on the 2003 film, this musical follows Dewey Finn, an out of work rock singer and guitarist who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. Naturally he has no proper training but he discovers amazing musical talent in his students. He breaks a few more rules to form a band of fifth-graders in an attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands. What an entertaining musical journey the audience follows.

Anna Karenina

The Australian Ballet. The Festival Theatre, Adelaide. 9 – 15 Jul 2021

Anna Karenina is a shining jewel in David Hallberg’s first season as Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, presented in partnership with the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet. This reviewer/former dancer is very excited about the future for our national ballet company with such a distinguished visionary at the helm. 

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