Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27. Day 117. Three for the price of one

The opening night celebrations of Once in Royal David's City
 It's a review time. I don't have any steak knives to throw in but you will get three reviews, three podcasts AND a bonus video all for one very low price of - nothing. I know, right? How does she do it for the price?

Once in Royal David's City by Queensland Theatre

At the opening night celebrations of Once in Royal David's City, Queensland Theatre's Executive Director Sue Donnelly  (left) described the play Sam Strong has chosen for his directorial debut for Queensland Theatre as "a word of mouth" piece. I suspect what she meant was that playwright Michael Gow could not have chosen a title more ambiguous or difficult to market had he tried. Given that Gow, a former Queensland Theatre Artistic Director was in the audience she may have thought it best left unsaid. But I'll say it: The title tells you nothing and not in a click bait kind of way more in a click off kind of way. It doesn't tell you that it's the kind of production that will make our eyes leak. It doesn't tell you that it's the kind of production that will make you want to hug your nearest and dearest and ponder what you hope will never be left unsaid. There's nothing in there to suggest Brecht or staring death in the face when the rest of the world is looking at the Christmas turkey and wondering if it is possible to eat one more roast potato. Nor does it tell you that you just might snort with laughter or wonder whether God exists or the class war is over. And that's all in 100 minutes (although the processing will doubtless be with you for a lot longer than that). So the word from my mouth is stunning. 4.25/5 stars
Once in Royal David's City Continues at The Playhouse QPAC until May 14
 Listen to our podcast here
Or watch a scene from the media briefing

Jarrod Duffy is Not Dead by Applespiel

Photo courtesy of Applespiel
What do you get when you cross a podcast with a radio play and a piece of verbatim theatre? If you are not careful you will end up with a dogs' breakfast (and let me tell you my dogs are very, very messy eaters). Or if you are lucky you will get a new form of story telling that takes the best of all three art forms are creates a new form of audience engagement. Appelspiel has pulled off the latter. This is a true story a bit in the mold of Serial podcast. Performed live on stage, the members of the arts collective tell the story of when the 9th member of their group simply disappeared and the hole that left in their lives. It talks about unreliable memory, unanswered questions and the value of friendship. And then they mix it up a bit in a way that can't be discussed without spoilers. What's interesting it that while most of the true life podcasts (such as Serial and S-Town) take on extraordinary stories, Jarrod Duffy is very "ordinary" about a that person who was once a great friend but then disappears from your life. Everyone has at least one Jarrod Duffy somewhere in their closet. Sometimes you find out he's not dead, he's not even dead to you but he's not in your life any more which is much the same thing. This is that story and it works because it touches a nerve and in a way that is both experimental and compelling
Jarrod Duffy is Not Dead continues at the Sue Brenner Theatre, Metro Arts, until Saturday April 28
Listen to our podcast here

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Prima

Photo courtesy of PRIMA
There is nothing at all about the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that should work as a musical. In fact, despite the best efforts of Gold Logie nominee Grant Denyer there is really nothing in a show about a county spelling bee that should speak to Australian audiences at any level. But the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a truly funny musical that speaks to the neurotic parent and precocious child in all of us (or perhaps that's just me). Sure it's full of stereotypes but it makes no apology for that - in fact it exploits it with great comedic insight and its use of "volunteers" from the audience is a real highlight. This may be a shoe-string budget community theatre production but there is a lot of talent of stage (including in the band up the back) and a lot of laughs to be had. If you find erections incredibly funny (or even if you don't) you should get a laugh.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee continues at the Sandgate Town Hall until Saturday April 28.
Listen to our podcast here

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