Reviews

Peter Pan

By J.M. Barrie. Hobart Repertory Theatre Society. Director: Danni Ashton. Playhouse Theatre, Hobart. 19 April – 4 May, 2103.

Peter Pan, the J.M Barrie play, as produced for the third time by Hobart Repertory Theatre, looked and felt like a pantomime. The opening night audience, including very young children, gave it the full pantomime treatment, including vocal interaction with the stage players.

Fury

By Joanna Murray-Smith. Directed by Andrew Upton. Sydney Theatre Company. April 19 - June 8, 2013.

Fury is a play of ideas which entertains and confounds its audience.

Sarah Peirse plays Alice, an acclaimed Neurologist, being interviewed by a student journalist about her latest award. She drops many gems, including the advice that when angry it’s wise not to respond for the first five minutes, but laments that in that time the most exciting words come to mind.

Her husband Patrick, played by Robert Menzies, is a firebrand novelist. He laments that the only literary groupies he attracts look like Susan Boyle.

OKLAHOMA!

Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd based on the 1931 folk play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs. Director: Tim O’Connor. Musical Director: Maitlohn Drew. Choreography: Callum Mansfield. Harvest Rain Theatre Company. Concert Hall, QPAC. 17-20 April 2013

Producer Mike Todd’s famous quip after Oklahoma!’s New Haven tryout in March 1943, “No gags, no gals, no chance,” proved to be spectacularly wrong when the show went on to win rave reviews, a Pulitzer Prize and a run of 2,212 performances on Broadway. Not only did it change the face of musical theatre, Oklahoma! became musical theatre’s DNA.

Elle

By Francis Poulenc. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Chapel off Chapel. Director: Nathan Gilkes. Conductor: Pat Miller. April 18 – 21, 2013

Lyric Opera of Melbourne continues to introduce rarely heard operas to the Melbourne public and this was one of their most ambitious.           

La Voix Humane in a little-known one-woman opera by Poulenc. Elle spends the evening on the phone to her former lover, who is getting married the next day. The unreliable telephone service adds to her agony.

Under Milk Wood

By Dylan Thomas. Canberra Repertory, directed by Duncan Ley. Theatre 3, Canberra. 12–27 April 2013.

Turning Dylan Thomas's radio play into a visually satisfying drama is a stiff challenge, all the greater in retaining the poetic narration as the action and dialogue unfold; it would be understandable if a director determined the narration and the dialogue to be mutually exclusive. But Duncan Ley's translation of the work to the stage brings it to dramatic life.

Food

By Steve Rodgers. A co-production of Belvoir Theatre, Force Majeure & La Boite. La Boite (Qld). 16-27 April 2013

This extraordinary comedy is entertaining, thought-provoking theatre.

The title suggests nothing of the sentient depths depicted. All senses are explored to produce sensuality and eroticism. Then there is the delicate interface of two quite different cultures, which results in the climax, and generates much of the laughter.

It Just Stopped

By Stephen Sewell. Theatre on Chester, Epping, NSW. April 12 – May 4, 2013.

One at a time it’s revealed that there’s no electricity, the phones, intercom and lifts are out, the internet is down, there’s no network on the mobiles, no radio or TV, and the batteries in the flashlight are dead.

Not good when you live in a 47th floor apartment and don’t even remember what stairs are!

Is it just a massive catastrophic blackout, showing just how reliant we’ve become on technology, or is this, literally, the end of the world?

Song

By Ranters Theatre. Concept/Director - Adriano Cortese. Songwriter/Performer - James Tyson. Image Production and Lighting Design - Stephen Hennessy. Sound Designer - David Franzke. Perfumer - George Kara. Text - Raimondo Cortese. Producer - Sara Austin, Adriano Cortese. Arts House – North Melbourne. 12 April – 21 April, 2013

This ‘sense around’ experience can be enjoyed against the wall, on a stool, or, on your own piece of astroturf placed anywhere on the beautifully polished Town Hall floor.  It is a very individual experience that doubtless many participants have reveled or will revel in, in the next few days.

Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision

Book by Craig Christie. Music & lyrics by Craig Christie & Andrew Patterson. SUPA Productions. Directed by Emma Tattam. A.N.U Arts Centre. 5–20 April 2013.

This truly enjoyable sendup of the Eurovision Song Contest and of several famous European entries into it had the audience engaged and laughing throughout.  Although by and large the competition's performances (of which there are a great variety) were sung (and danced!) more than competently, the real entertainment in them lay in their comedic moves and lyric suggestiveness.  Jordan Kelly's tight, sometimes very subtle, choreography added a rare kind of comedy to the entire satire, and the contest

OPERAMANIA

Moscow Novaya Opera. City Recital Hall, April 13, 16 & 17, 2013. Hamer Hall, Melbourne, April 19 & 20. Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, April 23 & 24. Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Concert Hall, April 28.

An invention of Valery Raku and Moscow’s respected Novaya Opera, Operamania is a manic if artful rush through the highlights of the world’s best operas, ballets and symphonies. Ten exceptional singers and four ballet dancers leap through tragedy, comedy and lyricism, backed by an onstage orchestra of 44 musicians. And it’s all squeezed onto the City Recital Hall stage. 

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