Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn

Playlovers. Director: Claudette Ridout. Hackett Hall, Floreat (WA). May 7-22

They’re calling it the Curse of the 2010 - Playlovers’ Directors. The director of the first show fell ill and needed to be replaced, the director of this, the second show, left the company and a second director was appointed. The third show could not be cast and the director needed to find another, and the fourth director is ill. As Director #5, this is not a trend I like.

The Witches of Eastwick by John Dempsey and Dana Prowe

Kwinana Theatre Workshop at the Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA, April 1 to 17.

The tiny Kwinana Theatre workshop was an unusual choice for a relatively large musical, but first time director Brad Tudor made good use of the small space to create a show that looked very good. The director’s simple set design was evocative of small town America, while his costume design, interpreted by Kath Hunter, used colour beautifully and had 1960s innocence as a starting point. The flying scene, which would have been an impediment to most productions, was staged beautifully using swings.

2 Wilde: Salome and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Hunter TAFE Performing Arts. The Playhouse, Newcastle (NSW). May 27 to 30

THE two plays by Oscar Wilde on this double bill could hardly have been more dissimilar. Salome is an exotic expansion of the Bible’s references to the death of John the Baptist and full of ornate language and decadent behaviour. The Importance of Being Earnest, by contrast, is one of the wittiest of English comedies, with deliciously drawn characters and cut-and-thrust dialogue that never ceases to amuse as two young men try to woo women who insist that they will only marry someone called Ernest.

Honk by George Styles and Anthony Drewe

Director: Cat Baxter. Nine Lives Productions and the Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana (WA). April 22 to May 1

This was the first outing of this bright family show in WA. It has a lovely story, some lovely numbers and a beautiful message and would be a fantastic production for school, youth and community groups. While this show was well promoted in the Kwinana area, the matinee I saw was sadly under capacity, perhaps because it is not a familiar show, although I would have expected a good family and friends attendance from the 37 member cast.

Treasure Island (London Mermaid Theatre’s musical version)

Beenleigh Theatre Group (Qld). Crete St Theatre, June 19 – July 10

This is a great holiday show for the whole family. The R. L. Stevenson story has been a classic for almost 130 years, the Mermaid Theatre musical version a favourite since 1973. Beenleigh Theatre Group has done it proud: strong leads, rollicking choruses, a nice sense of nonsense to dilute the tension, and with two acts in two hours (including interval) it falls inside the attention span of their target audience.

Jazz Garters.

Canberra Repertory. Director: Jim McMullen. Theatre 3, Acton (ACT). June 18 to July 10.

Jazz Garters mk II matures Rep's new musical variety format. Director Jim McMullen’s seven-piece band is tight and emotionally convincing in a show of essentially disparate pieces. The former variety format's M.C., the most charismatic Russell Brown, appears to confine his brilliance here to classy set construction (of a design by the multitalented Andrew Kay).

Circus Oz

Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. .June 17 to July 11 .

Circus Oz is Australia’s internationally acclaimed circus company and return with a brand new show for 2010, running until 11 July under the heated Big Top at Birrarung Marr in Melbourne. Six of the performers (half the cast) are making their debut performances with Circus Oz.

Dating in a Disposable World by Zalia Joi

Astor Theatre, Mt Lawley June 15-17, 2010. Director: Scott Robertson

Written by Zalia Joi, this modern adaptation from the Inuit myth Skeleton Woman explores love relationships in the modern IT world, through the haunting storytelling of Skeleton Woman. Joi plays five characters; frivolous Tiffany, the ‘I’m French and Fantastique’ coquette, Eddie the mechanic, bemoaning his marriage mistake, Amber nursing her hurt and loss, Cesar, the latin muso, looking for the right girl, and Skeleton Woman, holding the narrative thread.

Shakespeare’s R&J by Jo Calarco

Parramatta Riverside June 17 – 19 and on tour including Taree, June 22; Dubbo Regional Theatte, June 24 & 25, Seymour Centre, June 29 – July 3 and QUT Gardens Theatre, Brisbane, July 12 - 17

Jo Calarco’s has set this adaptation in a Catholic Boy’s boarding school – where rules and repression mean the study of plays like Romeo and Juliet is banned. Four of the boys sneak out at night to read a copy of the play. Initial sniggering and suggestiveness fades as the emotion of the play takes over and opens them to their own emotions and sensuality.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Epicentre Theatre Company Inc. Director: Judith Bedard. The Zenith Theatre, Chatswood (NSW). June 5 to 19.

Lennie, George and ‘Curley’s Wife,’ the dreamers of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, are outcasts in bleak, brutal Great Depression America. Adapted from the dark humanity of Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men makes a fairly grim piece of theatre too. But given strong central performances, and Judith Bedard’s penetrating direction, it also makes for moving, powerful theatre

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