Reviews

La bohème

Opera by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Director: Gale Edwards. Opera Australia. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. December 31, 2012 to Mar 21, 2013

The bittersweet bohemian lifestyle of 1830s Paris, background for Puccini’s great opera, is relocated to 1920s Berlin in Gale Edwards’ production now returning with new principals to the Sydney Opera House. The move between centuries and European capitals brings significant benefit. Puccini’s six ‘arty brats’ seem under even more pressure to join an even nastier mainstream society.

My First Time

By Ken Davenport and ‘Real People Just Like You’. Produced by Andrew Kay and Liza McLean with the Sydney Opera House. Director: Jo Turner. Featuring Sharon Millerchip, Josef Ber, Annie Maynard and Kristian Schmid. Sydney Opera House Jan 4-13, 2012

Hailed as being 'Direct from New York' and with a poster depicting the four actors nude but for strategically placed iPads - My First Time - which was derived from a blog comprising a vast collection of true life stories dedicated to the topic of losing one's virginity - promises to be a titillating, cutting edge production - and for the most part it does deliver. The ensemble cast demonstrates a relaxed, easy rapport and an impressive grasp on the multitude of characterisations set before them.

The Royal George Christmas Cabaret

With Tina Del Twist, Cliff Hanger and a Special Mystery Guest. Friday 22 December, 2012.

In Kyneton residents are privileged to have a hotel that schedules some excellent cabaret and comedy.  It is one of the many great things about living in a town that is its own unique, and growing, cultural oasis.

South Pacific

Music: Richard Rodgers. Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Book: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd & Joshua Logan based on novel Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. Opera Australia & John Frost presentation of the Lincoln Center Theater Production. Director: Bartlett Sher. Music Director: Andrew Greene. Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli. Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. 2 – 27 January, 2013

Rodgers and Hammerstein virtually created the ‘musical play’ and there’s no better example of their genius than South Pacific. The story of a middle-aged French plantation owner, Emile de Becque, and a young American nurse, Nellie Forbush, who fall in love against a background of the Second World War has drama, comedy and probably the most glorious score the team ever wrote.

War Horse

Written by Nick Stafford from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. National Theatre of Great Britain, Handspring Puppet Company and Global Creatures. Directed by Drew Barr (Australia) from Original Direction by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. December 31, 2012 - March 3, 2013, then Sydney and Brisbane.

Live theatre has the power to suspend disbelief and nurture evocative imagination. It can create magic. We should always be grateful for that. Last night a huge chestnut hunter called Joey was caught in barbed wire and his legs were being cut to pieces. I was crying into my partner’s handkerchief, unaware and uncaring that this was theatre and I wasn’t even crying for a horse – I was crying for a puppet. That, in itself, is magic.

Snow White: The Untold Story

By Karl B. Peterson. Presented by Heidelberg Theatre Company’s HTC Youth. Director: Christian Dell’Olio. December 19 – 22, 2012.

To an entranced, captive audience nine youthful, engaging and lively actors, with lashings of potential ‘strut their stuff’ in a mildly spoofed up version of that old favorite fairy tale Snow White.

The production is opened strongly with the Queen, played boldly by Elizabeth Dingle, in conference with the Magic Mirror, a fabulously costumed and glitzy character well interpreted by Ian Robertson.

After Hamlet

From the play by William Shakespeare. Adapted and Directed by Trent Baker. December 3 – 8, 2012.

This production is beautifully edited from the original by the director Trent Baker (assumedly with the assistance of Dramaturge - April Albert), expressively lit by Doug Montgomery and atmospherically underscored with richly evocative music by James McGauran.  The initial scenes in After Hamlet introduce Trent Baker as director/auteur who one senses would tightly arrange and coordinate everything to an exacting standard if he had the required time.  As it progresses it melds, perhaps inevitably, into something of an actor’s showcase.  However it begins artisti

How to Make Snow

By Daniel Evans. The little red company & St Laurence’s College (Qld).20-22 December 2012

The cast of over sixty-five all-singing, all-dancing energetic teens and tweenies, and featuring stars Luke Kennedy, Mirusia Louwerse and Bryan Proberts, made this much more an entertainment spectacular than just a family Christmas show.

It launched a talented-beyond-his years Marco Ghikas as the pivotal Otis. With his potential, influenced by his three role models, who knows where he could end up in this industry - if he aspires to it.

Grease

By Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Redcliffe Musical Theatre. Redcliffe Cultural Centre. 12-16 December 2012

From the pit band’s first flash of Greased Lightning to the stunning finale this show was electric! The talented six-piece combo of keyboards, lead and bass guitar, drums, saxophones and clarinet established the mood and rock’n’roll style for this production. Congratulations to the musos!

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

Book, music & lyrics: Meredith Willson based on the story by Valentine Davies and the screenplay of George Seaton. S.Q.U.I.D.S. Production, Queensland Conservatorium. Director: Deanne Scanlan. Musical Director: Kendal Alderman. 15 December, 2012.

At the end of SQUIDS Australian Premiere performance of Miracle on 34th Street, the cast sang Christmas carols for encores. There was more melody in any one of them than in any song we had heard in the show.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.