Reviews

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.

Morning Star – New Day, New Spirit, New Life.

NAISDA Dance College. Directed by Patrick Thaiday Laycock Street Theatre, North Gosford. December 6, 7 and 8, 2012.

For 36 years NAISDA Dance College has been teaching Contemporary Australian Indigenous Dance on the Central Coast of NSW: the land of the Darkinjung people. The genre is a fusion of Traditional and Western styles, which transcends both - taking physical story-telling to a vividly accessible level.

Managing Carmen

By David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Mark Kilmurry. 6 December, 2012 – 26 January, 2013

Last Christmas David Williamson brought joy and full houses to the Ensemble Theatre with the world premiere of his Nothing Personal, starring Greta Scacchi. This Christmas it’s his Managing Carmen, though not quite a world premiere — the Queensland Theatre Company did that a few weeks ago — and the advertised star name, Garry McDonald, had been replaced somewhere along the way. No problem, no danger: this looks like being a monster hit for Williamson and for the Ensemble, his ‘spiritual home’.

Genesis to Broadway

Written and directed by Frank Howson. Chapel off Chapel. 11th-16th December, 2012.

Back in the 80’s Melbourne had a large number of theatre restaurants and cabarets where a show like this could sit comfortably and be aided by the addition of a glass…or several bottles…of something alcoholic. Now, cabaret shows are largely pushed into spaces like the terrific Chapel off Chapel, and it’s not the venue’s fault that the change doesn’t always work.

Les Misérables (The Film)

Directed by Tom Hooper. Opens Australia wide on Dec 26, 2012.

It seems odd that there was an embargo on full reviews for the film in Australia, whilst we could all use the internet to read reviews in other countries. But now at last we’re free to talk about one of the most awaited movies of the decade. I won’t waste time explaining the story, you all know it by now.

The Sleeping Beauty

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikosvsky. Story: Ivan Vsevolozhsky based on Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant. Queensland Ballet. Choreography: Francois Klaus, after Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa. Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia. Playhouse, QPAC, 1-19 December 2012

Queensland Ballet’s remounting of The Sleeping Beauty was a popular audience pleaser. Tchaikovsky’s 1890 work, one of the most famous in the classical ballet repertoire, was a good choice to end their 2012 season and a good choice as Artistic Director’s Francoise Klaus’ swan song.

Little Orphan trAshley

Written by Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. Directed by Craig Ilott. Studio, Sydney Opera House. December 5 – 23, 2012.

This is brilliant, funny, wicked theatre. Don’t get too tipsy at the bar as you’ll need your wits for the quips that come so thick and fast you’ll miss them if you’re not paying attention.

The show has the right blend of crudity, profanity, ribald humour and social and political satire suitable for an adult panto. It moves at a fast pace and each of the talented cast get their chance to shine, ably supported by Michael Tyack’s musical direction and three piece band.

Dumb Blonde – The Genius of Dolly Parton

Devised and performed by Allison Farrow. Accompanied by Lincoln Le Fevre. Director: Sara Pensalfini. Presented with the support of the Tasmanian Theatre Company Cascade Indie Program. Theatre Royal Backspace, Hobart. December 5 – 9, 2012

Tasmanian singer and actor Allison Farrow returned to the stage with her third one-woman show, this time paying tribute to the song writing talent of a childhood favourite: the incomparable Dolly Parton. The show was a 90 minute chat with the audience, singing the Parton songs most meaningful to Allison. Classically trained Farrow “found” her childhood hero again in recent years, devising the show to revisit the music and honour Parton, who she thinks of as a “genius” with a five-decade legacy to music.

Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol.

Written by Charles Dickens. Directed by James Adler for Eagle’s Nest Theatre. Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. 5th- 9th December, 2012.

We live in a world where we’ve forgotten what a marvellous evocative storyteller Charles Dickens was. We’ve also forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and giving; of self exploration and change. How wonderful, then, that actor Phil Zachariah and director James Adler have once again combined to bring us this marvellous offering, which is not so much a play as an intimate soiree with Dickens himself round the fire in his drawing room.

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