THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED by Douglas Carter Beane

QTC @ Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane. Opened February 8, 2010. Director: Michael Gow

Douglas Carter Beane’s The Little Dog Laughed is an acutely observed, acerbic American comedy. The plot has a high-profile Hollywood actor, Mitchell, wanting to come-out about his homosexuality, his high-powered agent, Diane, desperately trying to avoid him committing this career suicide, his rent-boy lover, Alex, and Alex’s pregnant girlfriend, Ellen. The plum role is the agent Diane, which won Julie White a Tony on Broadway. Caroline Kennison gets to play it here, but she won’t win any awards for this performance.

Spring Awakening. Book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, original play by Franz Wedekind.

Sydney Theatre Company / Power Arts. Director: Geordie Brookman. Musical Director: Robert Gavin. Choreographer: Kate Champion. Set Designer: Anna Tregloan. Lighting Designer: Niklas Pajanti. Sydney Theatre until March 7.

There’s nothing new about teenage sexuality, be it straight, gay or masturbation, likewise youth suicide, teen pregnancy or abortion. Rites of passage are timeless.

Franz Wedekind’s controversial expressionist drama Spring Awakening explored these themes in 1891 and was branded pornography. The full-on sex scene which ends act one of this new version may well spark a similar response in certain quarters even now.

The Swimming Club by Hannie Rayson

Melbourne Theatre Company co-production with Black Swan State Theatre Company. Director: Kate Cherry. Set and Costume Designer: Christina Smith. Lighting Designer: Matt Smith. Sound Designer/Composer: Russell Goldsmith. Dramaturg: Michael Cathcart. The Playhouse, Perth, from 31 March – 18th April

A fast paced and lively offering, The Swimming Club is smattered with many humorous and poignant lines delivered by actors with the competency and energy to whisk their characters swiftly from youth to middle age and back again and again. In part a reflection on and comparison between places, eras and times of life, this work identifies some of what is lost and what is gained in the process of living. It also stands as a reminder that we can be thankful we no longer suffer the social mores of the early eighties.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

La Boite Theatre (Qld). Director: David Berthold. The Roundhouse. Feb 6 - Mar 14, 2010.

David Berthold, in his inaugural address as the new Artistic Director outlined his vision for the theatre from 2010: a dynamic, experimental use of the intimate in-the-round space to explore plays, sounds, words, music, movement − any new form of theatre that might engage young audiences. (Of course the 2009 season had already been programmed by his predecessor.)

Brooklyn Boy by Donald Margulies

Ensemble Theatre (NSW). Director: Anna Crawford.

Brooklyn Boy is a quintessentially New York Jewish play.

Middle-aged Brooklyn born novelist Eric Weiss puts two previous failures behind him when he finally hits the bestseller lists with his semi-autobiographical book about growing up in a Jewish family and neighbourhood.

Weiss has returned to Brooklyn, long left behind him, to visit his terminally ill father in hospital. He has spent his life seeking the approval of his father, an approval only ever gained in a beyond the grave final scene theatrical meeting.

Live from the London Stage!

Australian Theatre Producer Susie Parker is currently in wintry London enjoying some of the city’s best stage shows.

Red at the Donmar Warehouse, Six Degrees of Separation at the Old Vic and the National Theatre's live international cinema broadcast (including Australia) of Nation on February 13 and 14.

RED - a new play by John Logan at the Donmar Warehouse

Cast: Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne Directed by: Michael Grandage Rating: 4.5 stars

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jeremy Brock.

Venue's Swansong - Harbour Theatre, Princess May Building, Fremantle WA. Nov 27 – Dec 12, 2009.

For their swansong in the theatre that has been their home for many years, Harbour Theatre chose this large cast production, with appeal to all ages, and employed perhaps their most popular directors, regular collaborators Nicola Bond and Peter Kirkwood.

Opera on Film - Carmen by Georges Bizet

Metropolitan Opera, New York - Currently Screening Around Australia

I have now seen several of the Metropolitan Opera series of films showing around Australia and this was one of the best. Arguably the most popular opera ever written, there have been millions of productions of Carmen over the years, but this was up with all of them. As with the others in the series, there were interviews with the stars and production crew, as well as plenty of shots of the scenery being changed. Purists could find this annoying, but it was a fascinating side-show.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Book by Betty Kelso, music and lyrics by David Nehls.Hunter TAFE Performing Arts. The Playhouse, Newcastle. December 17 to 20, 2009

David Brown, the head acting teacher and director in the Hunter TAFE stage and screen performance courses, has the knack of choosing little known but thoroughly engaging musicals for the students’ end-of-year shows. The 2009 entry, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, was the Australian premiere of a work that has been staged worldwide since its premiere in New York in 2004. It’s a look at the lives of the residents of a mobile home park in north Florida that mixes satire of and sympathy for the colourful characters in a satisfying way.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Piping in the Rain.

Sydney Football Stadium

After watching the energetic bagpipers in their rehearsals march up and down, and up and down some more, on the ABC’s 730 report, I must admit I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my kilt to see the much hyped Edinburgh Tattoo. Add to this the threat of rain and it had the potential for a damp evening. I did, though, end up enjoying the spectacle, and when the rain came it added to the entertainment. What surprised me was the choreography. Firstly those in the audience, not under cover, who all found identical raincoats to put on.

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