Reviews

Return to Earth

HOTA – Home of the Arts, Gold Coast. Directed by Gavin Webber. Music by Guy Webster. Oct 10th, 2020

Live theatre is back - it’s only a trickle at the moment, but one lives for the day when the dam bursts and there is more on offer than we can possibly fit. Meanwhile the trickle is inviting to every parched theatre-goer.

QPAC in Brisbane has already announced its coming live programmes and Home Of The Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast has managed to keep live theatre going in limited forms and embrace all art forms in the process.

Alice in Wonderland

Adapted by Florida Friebus and Eva Gallienne from the book by Lewis Carroll. Stray Cats Theatre and ADAPT. Directed by Karen Francis. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. Oct 9-11, 2020

A school holiday treat from Stray Cats Theatre and ADAPT, Alice in Wonderland was originally slated for Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s smaller Fishtrap Theatre. Social distancing requirements meant that it was performed in MANPAC’s much larger Boardwalk Theatre, to very well distanced capacity audiences.

Moana Jr

By Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. Adelaide Theatre Academy. Goodwood Institute. 7-10 October 2020

Moana Jr is an adaptation from the 2016 Disney animated movie, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. The music and orchestrations in this junior stage version have been cleverly arranged by Ian Weinberger.

The Sky’s The Limit

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Year Bachelor of Musical Theatre Students. Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Concert Hall, QPAC. 2-3 October 2020.

I have always loved the sound of piano and voice and there was no shortage of it in this show by 70 of the Musical Theatre students from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Performed in the QPAC Concert Hall, reconfigured in concert mode, i.e. the audience sitting behind the stage and looking out at the auditorium, and everyone social distanced, it was a surprisingly intimate concert of show songs both old and new.

So many great performances and so many highlights.

Seussical

Music by Stephen Flaherty. Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Laughing Horse Productions. Directed by Adam Salathiel. City of Gosnells, Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Thornlie, WA. 2-10 Oct, 2020

Laughing Horse Productions’ Seussical is the first musical in Perth to be cast post-shutdown, but has very much been impacted by the current restrictions. Despite its difficult journey, this bright, breezy and colourful musical sold-out before it opened and clearly delighted its opening night audience.

Claire Della and the Moon

Madness of Two. The Parks Theatre. 26th Sep – 4th Oct, 2020

Any platform that brings the subject of mental illness to the forefront of conversation deserves an audience. The timing of this latest production is perfect, as we deal with a global pandemic and the frailties that it has unleashed. With plenty of material aimed at an adult audience, it is refreshing to see a child’s perspective and journey represented.

Room on the Broom 

Adapted by Canberra Theatre Centre and CDP With Tall Stories from the picture book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. CDP With Tall Stories. Canberra Theatre, 1–3 October 2020.

Originally a children’s picture book, Room on the Broom has enjoyed enormous success also as an animated film and a stage production.

Come To Where I Am – Australia, Volume 4.

Presented by Critical Stages Touring in conjunction with Paines Plough. A live Facebook premiere event. Wednesday, 30 September 2020, then streaming on demand.

This is the fourth and final instalment in the series which livestreams original works by writers exploring their experience of life under COVID-19 restrictions in a range of remote and exotic locations around Australia. The pieces are read by the writers and the recordings are live-streamed. Each work reflects on the disturbances caused by the pandemic and the way lives have been dramatically disrupted.

The Small Hours

By Francis Durbridge. Stirling Players WA. Directed by Janet Brandwood. Stirling Theatre, Morris Place, Innaloo, WA. Sep 18-Oct 3, 2020

The Small Hours is a very well constructed thriller by Francis Durbridge. Perhaps more familiar to British audiences, where his television series ran from the 1950s through to the 1980s, Durbridge wrote novels, radio and TV thrillers as well as plays. The Small Hours, first performed in 1991, was the penultimate work published in his lifetime, and has a strong Australian connection.

The Man Who Dreamed

By Ciaran McConville. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre. Playing for a month from 26th September on You Tube

The Man Who Dreamed continues the run of The Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s series of virtual plays, each a different genre, with playwright Ciaran McConville’s unpublished early script, first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe is no exception.

Interestingly, this play starts with a prologue of sorts featuring McConville outlining the birth of his play, based on a quote from T. E. Lawrence.

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