After a critically acclaimed program in 2017 which saw PYT | Fairfield win Western Sydney’s first Helpmann Award (Best Presentation for Children, PYT and Force Majeure, JUMP FIRST, ASK LATER) the company announce their 2018 Program.
Now considered one of the most exciting arts companies in the country, in 2018 their work will be presented in Carriageworks for Sydney Festival,Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and sites across Western Sydney including the local pool and a garden created by refugees to support the settlement of asylum seekers. Continue reading PYT/FAIRFIELD ANNOUNCE FOR 2018→
With the silly season kicking in, Hunters Hill Theatre Company has made an astute choice for its final production of the year. The Company is currently running a revival of American playwright Ken Ludwig’s fast and frothy farce, MOON OVER BUFFALO (1995). Many will know this playwright for his better known work, ‘Lend Me A Tenor’.
This Ludwig play is set back in 1953 and takes place, mainly, on stage and backstage at the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo. The short story to the narrative is that the main characters, acting couple George and Charlotte Hay, run a travelling theatre company. The play starts with them touring with two shows in rep, ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ (a one nostril version). Continue reading KEN LUDWIG’S ‘MOON OVER BUFFALO’ @ HUNTERS HILL TOWN HALL→
Type in ‘inspirational’. Right click. Pull down synonyms. StimulatingStirringRousingMoving. Well … that’s bullshit. These artists exhibit no desire for that kind of spurious platitudinous response. These are performers whose work has an urgency to be respected for their message, the artistry of their thematic expression and the craft with which it is created.
For a fun-filled night of silliness, cross-dressing and belly laughs you can’t go past Bankstown Theatre Company’s production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT.
The show’s original 2005 production was a Broadway hit, winner of three Tony Awards, including a Tony for Best Musical.
Billed as, ‘A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail,’ MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT is a sassy, irreverent parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
King Arthur has been given a quest (by God) to search for the Holy Grail, a quest that is fraught with hitches, treating the audience to a smorgasbord of classic Python sketches including: I’m not dead yet, the killer rabbit, the Black Knight and the Insulting Frenchman.
Like many, I love a good farce. The experience of farce is like no other – that mounting, building up of tension waiting for the time when the culprit playboy or playgirl, let’s not be sexist, is finally found out.
The French came up this form so it is perfectly understandable that they have also have come up with most of the best farces. Like Marc Camoletti’s BOEING BOEING, set in the swinging sixties in Paris.
Featured image – Warren Ekermans as Bill, Brian May as Tom, and Michael Curnick as Bert
During the rough and tumble of childhood, most of us can recall a responsible adult saying something along the lines of “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Usually this ends in a scratch or two, or maybe a bruise. But in the Sutherland Theatre Company’s latest production, the consequences of an innocent rough and tumble between a married couple results in something a lot more serious – and hilarity ensues.
Tom and Annabel are a reasonably happy married couple. One evening they have an argument as to who loves the other most. A rough and tumble follows, and Tom discovers to his horror that Annabel is dead.
So starts a hectic evening of black farce which also involves Tom’s policeman friend and his literary agent. It seems no woman can enter the house without rapidly becoming deceased. Annabel’s mother and Tom’s appalling landlady follow and disposal of bodies becomes an acute problem. The arrival of a grim police inspector complicates matters until a further corpse involves him too. The hysterical ending finds the stage littered with female corpses, frantic males and a potential fifth victim banging on the door. Continue reading THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH : BLACK COMEDY AT ITS BEST→
This is the stage adaptation, by Tim Firth, of the very popular movie of the same title, starring Helen Mirren.
Many will know the story, based on real life events, when a group of women working in a small Women’s Institute group in Yorkshire, London, took their kit off to put together a calendar to raise funds for cancer research after one of the women in the group, Annie, lost her husband John to cancer.
The Calendar was released and went ‘viral’. The women found their sudden fame hard to deal with, and friendships within the group become strained. All however does end up happy enough.
Firth’s adaptation is clever, racy, funny and at times touching, and Pymble Players have given it another life with a fresh, winning production in their intimate theatre, a converted church space.
Julia Griffith’s direction is sharp and featured elegant staging. Her cast maintained their accents well. Ian Ackland’s compact set of a village church hall where the Women’s Institute meets. Other locations are well established by full length images projected on the back wall.
Melissa Abrahams soundscape, primarily featuring excerpts of popular songs worked well, as did Jan McLachlan’s period costumes.
Griffith’s enthusiastic cast were all good. Louise Deibe as Chris and Fran Etheridge as Annie were very effective in the main roles. Favourite performances in the supporting cast were by Bronwyn Courts as the glamorous, good natured Celia, Maria Karambelas as the vivacious, feisty retired teacher.Jessie, and Racquel Boyd, who after initially being reluctant, does pitch in with her friends.
Margaret Olive plays the social climbing Marie, Helen Hunter-Lee plays both local dignitary Lady Cavendish and a deceitful beauty consultant, Elaine, Royden Broad has a brief part playing Annie’s dying husband John before he shuffles off his mortal coil, Wills Burke is the shy photographer Lawrence who receives his best assignment ever, and Murray Fane plays two roles, those of Rod and Liam.
Make a date soon to meet up with these feisty, vivacious Calendar Girls. They are a lot of fun, and keep the audience well entertained. The show is playing at Pymble Players, on the corner of Bromley Avenue and Mona Vale Road, until 28th October. Please check the website for performance times.
From the moment when Dolly Levi, played with joyous charm and wonderful exuberance by Michele Lansdown, walks onto the stage to the very last note the audience is enthralled by this classic feel good, romantic musical. HELLO, DOLLY! was first performed in 1964 with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers.
The musical rides on the shoulders of Dolly, a feisty Jewish widow in 19th-century New York who has an amazing talent for romantic meddling. Dolly is a rare independent woman, and she’s aware of that rarity, with comments such as “Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she’s a householder”. Though tough is some respects she too is looking for a husband and has her sights set on Horace Vandergelder, a well-known half millionaire of Yonkers. Christopher Hamilton is excellent in the role of Horace with just the right mixture of haughtiness, dignity and finally capitulation to the wiles of Dolly. Continue reading MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘HELLO, DOLLY!’→
Theatre foyers these days are too often the province of the middle aged and older. How refreshing it was then to see such a young crowd mingling pre show.
We had all come to see 13 THE MUSICAL, book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, which premiered on Broadway back in 2009.
This was the return season of this show which was originally presented by the Chatswood Musical Society. This production was brought to us by the newly formed theatre Company, Brand New You, in association with The Annex Dance and Arts Centre.
In Maurice McLoughlin’s poignant play A LETTER FROM THE GENERAL, a revolution has taken place in the Far East in 1950 and the nuns who work at a mission for orphaned children are ordered to leave.
One of the nuns receives a letter from the General, who is the new Governor of the Province, which has a profound impact on the decision to stay or go.
Rev. Mother: Robyn Williams
Sister Henry: Linda Young
Sister Lucy: Courtney Gibson
Sister Bridget: Janet Shay
Sister Magdalen: Carole Grace
Ruth Stilton: Paula Searle
Arthur Stilton: Christopher Clark
Capt. Lee: Dan Ferris
Father Schiller: Michael Richmond
Director: Jennifer Willison. Lighting Design: Wayne Chee. Costume Design: Joanna Simpson & Rhonda Chapman
8th to 17th September 2017 at Hunters Hill Theatre, 22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill.
This is the first time that this neglected rather early Rattigan play has been seen in Sydney. While it now perhaps seems rather dated and ‘of its time’ under Giles Gartrell-Mills’ excellent direction this play while at first, seemingly very artificial, superficial and slow to take off, develops and becomes quite intense and multi-layered.
Rattigan’s play, AFTER THE DANCE written in 1939, examines the life of the young people who survived World War One and lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves now middle-aged, disillusioned and facing another World War .It is a study of a lost generation. The script is brilliantly written and the play well plotted and structured. At times the play seems a bit like a brittle Coward comedy – the audience laughed heartily at certain points at the sparking , witty dialogue – but there remains an underlying passion and morality. Rattigan is able to let the audience see the hidden sadness of these doomed fantasists.Continue reading TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN→
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie has been brought successfully to the stage at The Art House. Christie’s complex and intriguing narrative is directed by Pollyanna Forshaw, the play is about a diverse group of 10 people who are all lured into coming to an island. All the members have committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction or they have escaped justice. The guests are “charged” for their respective crimes and are told via a message conveyed through a gramophone speaker that they will have to pay for their actions. Nobody can escape from the island due to the distance from land and the turbulent weather.
Christie commented that adapting her novel to the stage was challenging and decided to change the ending slightly in 1943 as she felt it might be too bleak for wartime audiences. Suspense plays an important role in making this play so intriguing and 10 miniature Indian figurines are a clear representation of it. Every time someone dies, one figurine out of the original 10 disappears off the mantlepiece. This creates an atmosphere of suspense for both the audience and the interaction between the characters in the story.Continue reading AND THEN THERE WERE NONE : WYONG DRAMA GROUP PRESENTS AN AGATHIE CHRISTIE CLASSIC→
Deborah Brevoort’s play is based on the terrorist attack on December 21 1988 in which Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in mid-air, due to a time activated bomb in a suitcase, as it travelled from London to New York City. The explosion scattered pieces of the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the surrounding hills, Scotland, as well as the remains of the 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Twenty-one houses on the ground were destroyed, and 11 people there lost their lives. An international conflict arose in the aftermath and eventually the Libyan leader Qaddafi extradited two suspects in 1998, one sentenced to 27 years and the other acquitted.
THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE is a poetic drama, in the form of a Greek tragedy, takes place on a hillside near Lockerbie seven year after the attack as a woman roams searching for the remains of her son. It is a moving and intimate portrayal of the effects of grief. As one of the women say, grief is a guest who remains too long, and the characters must come to terms with loss and decide whether the desire for justice and hate should rule their lives or whether they can somehow turn these feelings around to a more compassionate approach.
Madelaine Livingston, played by Kim Schad, is a New Jersey housewife who lost her son but whose body was never found. Grief has been all consuming in her life as she cannot find closure and it is destroying her marriage to Bill Livingston, played by Stephen Snars. These people portray their loss in very different ways but cannot connect and support each other.
They meet Olive Allison, played by Michelle Masefield, a woman of Lockerbie with her own tragic story. Ollie and two women, played by Rebecca Fletcher and Anne Geenen, form the “chorus” and offer a special kind of grief counselling, telling their own tragic stories about that awful day when the plane crashed quite literally on their houses.
Directed by Bernard Teuben this is a dark and emotional journey set with very subdued lighting and traditional Scottish music. A touch of humour to lighten the atmosphere is found in the character of Hattie, played by Penny Johnson, who is a cleaning lady working for George Jones.
George Jones, played by Larry Murphy, is a US Government official whose job it is to burn the clothes of the victims found in the plane’s wreckage. The women, determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victim’s families in a symbolic act of cleansing.
This is a sentimental and touching production and very much resonates today when acts of terrorism proliferate. The play asks how do we respond?
THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE is playing till the 12th August. Performance times are Wednesday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s at 8.15pm and Sundays at 4.30pm at the Pavilion Theatre. Castle Hill.
The Genesian Theatre Company, responding to the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, is currently presenting a production of Austen’s classic novel EMMA with the stage adaptation by its very own Pamela Whalan.
EMMA tells the story of the mischievous Emma Woodhouse, a spirited, independent young woman who has no plans to marry. She does, however, spend a lot of her time matchmaking others! In the end, she herself falls into the most tender of traps.
I went on opening night and the full house embraced the performance. No doubt, there were many Jane Austen devotees amongst them.
There is never a bad time for a good murder spoof and Hunters Hill Theatre’s production of Jack Sharkey’s THE MURDER ROOM went down a treat.
Sharkey’s plot is very much more on the ridiculous than the sublime side..The play is set inside a country estate, Bynewood Cottage, Harrogate in the countryside of England in earlyn June 1969. Husband Edgar Hollister is suspicious that his newly married second wife is having an affair, which she of-course is. He confronts her about it, she is aggrieved, gets her hands on a gun, shoots him dead or does she?! and carts him out of the way.
Before long the stage is filled with an assortment of characters who come to the Hollister’s house and are vetted by their very efficient maid, Lottie. Edgar’s long lost daughter Susan arrives with her boyfriend, Barry. Then of-course the constabulary arrive in the form of Inspector James Crandell and Constable Howard who attempt to sort out the puzzle of Edgar’ disappearance. Continue reading THE MURDER ROOM : HUNTERS HILL THEATRE PUTS ON A CLASSIC MURDER SPOOF→
This is sharply observed dark comedy about people maintaining their false façades. It is a a stunning script by Jon Robin Baitz containing an unexpected outcome.
The whole family is visiting at the wealthy Wyeth’s family home, located in Palm Springs California on Christmas Eve 2004. Daughter Brooke has just written a politically and emotionally dangerous memoir about her life, her parents and the tragic loss of her older brother. Her memoir sends shockwaves through the family.
Frank Butler (Clive Hobson) is a tall dashing and suave sharpshooter working in Buffalo Bill’s wild-west show. Annie Oakley (Suzanne Chin) is a backwoods woman, and this feisty country tomboy, is an incredible talent as a markswoman, who immediately falls completely head over heels in love for Frank.
All the songs in this version of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN are winners, indeed a complete pleasure hearing some of my Irving Berlin favourites, delivered by the magnificent voices of the huge ensemble cast, but most especially by both mezzo-soprano Suzanne Chin and baritone Clive Hobson.
This is a classic Broadway musical comedy romance, about mistreatment of North American Indians. For this huge fan of this genre, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is the quintessential “bigger is better” Broadway Musical of the 1950s, especially with a woman taking a strong and dominant role.
Based on real life people and actual events. The real William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born on 26th February 1846. The real Annie Oakley was born Phoebe Ann Mosey on 13th August 1860. The real Francis E. “Frank” Butler was born on 30th of January 1847.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN was supposed to be the Peter Stone 1999 revival, a politically corrected re-working of the 1946 musical written by Irving Berlin, a 1800s western-era period piece of historical Americana with North American Indians, and set around the American midwest and in New York City.
In the first few minutes of BUGSY MALONE vast numbers of bad guys are done in by vicious cream pie attacks and random bystanders are felled by crazy string machine guns. Little Chicago circa 1920s is littered with speakeasy staff and speak quickly mob bosses. By the time we get to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam and the body count is piling up, we are so glad that there are over 50 young people in the cast … we just don’t want the fun to end through lack of upright citizens.
Because, from the top of the show, Hills Musical Theatre Company’s BUGSY MALONE, performed exclusively by kids (from 10-16 years) is joyous, thrilling, incomparable community theatre. It’s a treat for all ages and a testament to what young people can do if we prepare them, support them and let ’em loose!
There’s a mob war happening, you see. Fat Sam is being out-armed by Dandy Dan who has managed to find a supplier for a secret weapon. Splurge guns! No longer are the streets slick with the failed hurlings of mano-on-mano flans, this new invention targets victims directly where it hurts. Fat Sam needs to get those guns and he has the green stuff to hire the best driver in the business, our narrator and all round good guy, Bugsy Malone.
In 1974, to keep his four kids entertained on long car trips English Filmmaker Alan Parker (who would direct a huge variety of films from FAME to MIDNIGHT EXPRESS) made up a story about a Chicago gangster from snippets of memory of films and books he had encountered. His eldest son, Alex, insisted that the story had to be about kids. When Parker decided to make a film of his amusing tale he enlisted Paul Williams to write the music and went on a talent search for young people. Jodie Foster and Scott Baio were just two names in the film and when it became a musical in 1983, Micky Dolenz from The Monkeys directed a young Catherine Zeta-Jones to wide acclaim.
Now for a new list of names. Any one of these kids could be the next generation of Australian musical theatre stars. They are remarkably talented and focused in a family friendly show with Hills MTC’s traditionally high production values.
Let’s have a quick chat about that first. Peek at the early promo images for the show and you will see kids in school musical costumes. Dangling sleeves, Dad’s cut down suit. Go and see the show now and you will see superbly envisioned costumes (Rebecca Demary- co-ordinator).
Every child’s costume fits them, so do their hats and shoes and ties and furs and fans and pom pom fringes. Each change, and there are many, gives the young artist a character to bring on with them. The showgirls look glorious in their beaded and sequined and fringed gold flapper dresses and then they come out in the second act in equally lush silver costumes. Just brilliant! Continue reading HILLS MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY PUT ON A CRACKER PRODUCTION OF ‘BUGSY MALONE’→
The audience thoroughly enjoyed itself on opening night with gales of laughter filling the Pavilion Theatre. Only the British do bedroom farce with that certain touch and this script is a wonderful example of the art of adding confusion to confusion in a seemingly logical way. Will it be possible to untie all the knots by the end of the play or will more be tied?
The play opens in the honeymoon suite of a hotel where the bridegroom wakes on his wedding morning, with his fiancée about to arrive any moment, and finds an unknown, very attractive girl in bed beside him. His best man arrives, his fiancée arrives, the girl is hidden in the bathroom pretending to be the best man’s girlfriend, the best man’s real girlfriend has to be kept ignorant of the fact and the chambermaid is coerced into being everyone’s girlfriend. By interval when the bride’s mother arrives chaos has ensued which only escalates in Act Two.
This was a hugely entertaining musical that enthrals the audience with its depravity, its fabulous lyrics together and the brilliant performances by all the leads and the large ensemble.
This dark story of hatred, is a unique musical and a revenge thriller, with multiple murders delivering so much blood and gore from each throat slitting. The musicals’ dark themes include a young woman being raped, and a mother and daughter being wrongfully committed to an institution. Just what you expect from the City Of London in that era?!
Benjamin Barker was a barber in 19th-century London, an expert with the cut-throat razor, and was transported to an Australian penal colony by Judge Turpin. Fifteen years later, and now named Sweeney Todd (Paul Nicholson), Barker moves into his old shop above the pie shop owned by Mrs. Lovett (Miriam Rihani).
The Regals Musical Society’s revival of 42nd Street opened with a wonderful brass heavy Overture played by a solid 14 piece Orchestra led by Peter Sampson as Musical director.
A strong opening to the revival of this quintessential musical comedy directed by Christie Koppe who was drawn to this project due to it’s large-scale, its classic tunes and effervescent storytelling.
It’s the kind of Broadway feel good musical loaded with knockout song and dance numbers (“We’re In the Money’, The Lullaby of Broadway, “Dames”, ‘42nd Street) requiring high energy from the cast and creativity from the production team.
You can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. Well I suppose you could. But not if you are the Genesian Theatre Company. This is their metier. A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED is gripping, stylish entertainment. Adapted by Leslie Darbon, the play is from 1987 but it retains all the period elements that audiences require of a Christie Mystery. The Genesians have assembled an excellent cast, put them on a lovely set and costumed them superbly.
A unusual notice has been put in the village paper of the small English spa town of Chipping Cleghorn. It announces a murder will be committed at ‘Little Paddocks’ on Friday evening at 6:30. The household see it as rather a joke but neighbours and villagers are sure to drop by around about then. And no one is going to keep a certain Miss Jane Marple, in the village to take the waters for her rheumatism, away from the possibility of a delicious mystery.
And delicious it is. Owing much to the way the climax has been adapted by the playwright who has wisely removed some of the novel’s more hysterical events such as an attempted drowning in the kitchen sink and the Snugglepuss redolent, Miss Murgatroyd: yet kept the period flavour which is required to keep Miss M in her place and time. Continue reading AGATHIE CHRISTIE’S ‘A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED’ @ THE GENESIANS→
Regardless of your opinions on the paranormal, you’ll be glancing over your shoulder as you leave the theatre after The Sutherland Theatre Company’s upcoming production of the classic ghost story THE WOMAN IN BLACK.
Based on Susan Hill’s gothic horror novel of the same name, The Woman in Black is a gripping ghost story set in a dusty old theatre.
Arthur Kipps, a middle-aged solicitor, engages the services of a professional actor to help him re-enact a ghostly event that he experienced many years before at a deceased client’s old manor house in the English countryside. From the cluttered stage, Kipps begins to read his story: painfully, self-consciously and hesitantly at first, but gradually increasing in confidence.
The actor is enthusiastic and passionate, taking on the role of a young Kipps for the purpose of the performance. But as the two men delve deeper into the spine-chilling events that befell Kipps during his time at Eel Marsh House, the actor gradually realises that not all ghost stories are works of fiction.
In his second show with The Sutherland Theatre Company, Anthony White will play the reluctant storyteller Arthur Kipps.
Dirk Strachan-Thornton is to play the self-assured actor whom he hires to help bring his story to the stage.
Mallatratt’s adaption has been seen by millions of people worldwide and has been running on the West End for 27 years.
Director Belinda Balhatchet was drawn to the play’s use of simple theatrical techniques, rather than a detailed set, to bring the story to life.
“Nowadays, big budget productions can create almost anything on stage. Audiences don’t have to use their imagination as much as they used to because everything is created before them through lavish sets and huge casts. This show is the complete opposite. With a cast of two and an incredibly simple set, The Woman in Black relies on the talent of the cast and the imagination of the audience to create an atmosphere of tension and horror.”
Belinda knew that the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts was the perfect venue for the show.
“The School of Arts is a relatively small theatre in an old building. It fits the theme of the show perfectly, and the small size of the theatre puts the audience right in the middle of the action.”
THE WOMAN IN BLACK will be playing for a strictly limited season at the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts from May 26-28. Performance times are Friday 26 May @ 8pm, Saturday 27 May @ 2pm, Saturday 27 May @ 8pm, Sunday 28 May @ 2pm.
Tickets can be booked online via TryBooking: http://bit.ly/stcwomaninblack. Alternatively phone bookings can be made on 91507574.
There are just so many comic and dramatic possibilities that come to mind with this particular Louis Nowra scenario. Nowra makes some good choices and the result is one of his most flamboyant and entertaining plays.
A young director, Lewis, desperately in need of work, takes on the job of putting on a production at a psych hospital, to be performed by patients. The hospital’s social worker has come up with the idea of the project, believing that it will be good for his ‘charges’. We follow Lewis’ rocky journey from his first meetings with his ‘actors’ all the way through to his reflections after the performance has finally taken place.
Chatswood Musical Society’s Australian premiere of the Broadway hit, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, music by Barbara Anselmi and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, is 90 minutes of non-stop hilarity. With his production of the show, Director James Worner has been able to spread the joy he felt when he saw the play on Broadway.
This is a roller coaster musical farce featuring nervous grooms, overbearing mums, unexpected guests, and the odd blushing bride.
The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Their mothers are gale force matriarchs. The audience related to, and many times laughed at, the familiar fears, expectations and tensions that come with family celebrations. As old relatives staggered about, young friends weaved in and out of the melee seeking reassurance. When the bride’s ex-boyfriend crashed the party, it was up to the sister of the bride to turn things around to enable the happy ending.Continue reading IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU : AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE OF A BROADWAY HIT MUSICAL→