The McNeil Project

The Chocolate Frog and The Old Familiar Juice by Jim McNeil. Wattle We Do Next Productions, in association with Stable Productions &Auspicious Arts Projects. Director: Malcolm Robertson. Actors: Will Ewing, Luke McKenzie, Cain Thompson and Richard Bligh. fortyfivedownstairs (Vic) 6-29 July, 2012.

The McNeil Project offers the chance to revisit a significant era of Australian Theatre History, in presenting two enlightening short plays that are set in prison cells of the 1970s.  These works are written by Jim McNeil who himself was a convicted prisoner.  

Production values are crisp and clean and the acting sincere and focused.  Both plays are well written, intriguing depictions of destabilized and volatile power relationships.

Jersey Boys

Music: Bob Gaudio. Lyrics: Bob Crewe. Book: Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice. Dodger Theatricals, Rodney Rigby, Dainty Group, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara & Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group and Michael Watt. Director: Des McAnuff. Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo. Musical Director: Luke Hunter Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Opening Night 15 July 2012

If the audience reaction last night is anything to go by then Brisbane is going to love Jersey Boys. The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons has it all – the mob, prison, insatiable adultery, and great music. And what great music - “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man”, “My Eyes Adored You,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” are almost a rundown of the 60s most memorable hits.

The Producers

By Mel Brooks. The Production Company. Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre. 8 July – 15 July, 2012

There is a song in Mel Brooks’ comedy musical titled “Where Did We Go Right?”  I doubt that’s what The Production Company is asking. Directors Andrew Hallsworth and Dean Bryant carefully considered the look and feel of the show, resulting in an engaging and sophisticated interpretation of the Tony Award winning show, resulting in a standing ovation.

Queen Lear

By William Shakespeare. MTC. Director: Rachel McDonald. The MTC Theatre, Sumner. July 7 to 18 August, 2012.

It is a sensational idea to re-cast King Lear from the perspective of a Queen and to put the formidable Robyn Nevin in the lead role. Nevin’s pose on the production poster, complete with mane of hair and those expressive eye shining with rage, wisdom and grief promises a rich and fearless theatrical experience. Indeed, her first appearance on the stage is electrifying, as she steps forth in a bejewelled red gown with coiffured white and black hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Natalie Medlock, Dan Musgrove, and Michael Hurst. Royale Productions, Director: Natalie Medlock. The Street, Canberra. 11–21 July 2012.

It may not be possible to appreciate how fine an actor is until you see him play various disparate roles interacting with each other.

Head Full of Love

By Alana Valentine. Queensland Theatre Company. Cremorne Theatre. 7 July – 11 August, 2012.

This play defies genre definitions. It is a drama about intertwined lives but is so full of humour that you leave the theatre with a warm and fuzzy respect for the central problem – and hopefully remember it and discuss it widely.

The Imaginary Invalid

By Moliere. Centrepiece Theatre. Director: Jordan Best. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. July 11 – 21, 2012

From highly refined, intelligent wit and word play, almost acrobatic acting and slapstic, to gross-out bodily functions—there’s the feel of a circus to this magnificent production. Last year, Centrepiece Theatre’s The Imaginary Invalid played to rave reviews and helped net Jim Adamik a Canberra Critic’s Circle award. This reprise, with updated set, costumes and look, is a chance to see great satire done brilliantly. It’s a brash, loud, bawdy, vibrant, confident production.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival Gala

Chapel off Chapel – July 12th 2012. Festival runs from 12th -22nd July – Various venues.

Repeat after me…..Sammy J- Yay, Yay, Yay. Sammy J was the guest MC for the Gala Opening of this year’s Cabaret Festival and almost stole the show, until The Fabulous Singlettes, returning from Berlin to headline the festival, put him back in his lead-lined box so that his energy was contained. There is a reason the Singlettes have been adopted by Berlin and are huge stars on the European cabaret circuit. They are bloody good at what they do. Exemplary harmonies, larrikin comedy, high voltage energy – that’s what cabaret is about.

Cosi Fan Tutte

By Mozart. Melbourne Opera. Director: Suzanne Chaundy. Musical Director: Greg Hocking. Athanaeum Theatre, Melbourne. July 11 - 18, 2012.

I knew this production was going to be different when things started happening in the overture. Don Alfonso was in his Lygon Street wine bar showing the barmaid the ring he was planning to give to his intended when said lady walked out with another man! He immediately tore down the Alfonso sign and put up a neon sign, “Cosi Fan Tutte”, as the title tune appeared late in the overture.

It was a nice touch.

Arsenic & Old Lace

By Joseph Kesselring. Townsville Little Theatre. Directed by Marc Weston. 4 – 7 July, 2012.

Townsville Little Theatre’s third production of 2012 was the classic 1940’s black comedy Arsenic &    Old Lace, and they made a great job of it. Although almost 70 years old, the plot needs little explanation to most theatre-goers.

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