Aug 13

THEATRE – The Very Cranky Bear – 4K

By Julia Cudsi

Who hasn’t read Nick Bland’s delightfully simple children’s story ‘The Very Cranky Bear’? Set in the Jingle Jangle Jungle in the middle of a rainstorm, it follows the story of four mismatched friends – Lion, Moose, Zebra and Sheep – who try to shelter in a cave that, unfortunately for the hapless foursome, also houses the titular very cranky bear.

The Patch Theatre version of ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ ably adapts the short, sweet story about thoughtfulness, sharing, altruism and kindness to the stage in a musical setting.

Despite having only three actors to play all five characters (much to the bemusement of Little Miss Five), the vast array of costumes, musical instruments and simple but sparkly set designs meant that this show had everything necessary to amuse and tantalise young children – which is probably why nearly all shows at the Norwood Odeon theatre have sold out.

Possibly a little scary for very young children, this is nonetheless a heartwarming tale which adapts nicely to a 50 minute stage show – just long enough to keep the littlies entertained and sitting still.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

Aug 08

Grease: The Musical

Grease most certainly is the word! The iconic stage musical graced the Adelaide Festival Centre at the opening night of Grease: The Musical.

Produced by John Frost, the show is at once an homage to the brilliance of the original musical and a celebration of Australian talent. Featuring Australian legends Bert Newton, John Paul Young, and Todd McKenny, this slightly more ‘down under’ version of Grease blended the best that the nation has to offer with the rocking music and feel of 50′s America.

Starring Rob Mills as the ever-slick Danny Zuko and relative newcomer Gretel Scarlett as Sandy, the musical follows a long history of Grease productions- with the musical first appearing in Melbourne in 1972. Mills, who many might recognise from his stint in the first series of Australian idol, perfectly captured the swagger and vulnerable charm of Danny. Scarlett added a level of strength and determination to the character of Sandy, but nevertheless rocked out in that iconic black satin jumpsuit.

Like any Australian production, this performance of Grease had big shoes to fill. Grease is arguably the most famous musical ever created, with a cult following only increased by the outrageously energetic 70′s film. However, the production held it’s own musically, with the big band and stellar vocal gymnastics of the cast adding punch and flair to songs already ingrained in the minds of an enthusiastic audience. The cast’s amazing energy recreated the classic 70′s film, evoking an era of malted shakes and letterman jackets, whilst displaying the obvious shine of homegrown talent.

Lucy Maunder as stole the show as a sassy, smart-talking Rizzo, whose voice and attitude was a stand out in the performance.

Todd McKenny as ‘Teen Angel’ drew laughs, cheers, and even screams from the crowd, and Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine gave the performance the slightly off-beat and kooky edge the film brought to cinema screens over forty years ago.

The accents of the cast grated slightly, and opening night nerves may have contributed to dance moves which were not entirely executed sharply. Nevertheless, the band had the whole crowd on their feet and the phenomenal staging and costuming more than made up for any shortcomings.

The performance ended with a well-earned standing ovation for this production of such an iconic musical.

Jul 30

THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse – 4K

Nancye Hayes photo by Shane Reid 194x300 THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse   4K

Fresh from the peach fight – Nancye Hayes as Lady Bracknell – image by Shane Reid

By Peter Maddern

Perhaps Oscar Wilde’s most famous play burst onto the Playhouse stage last night in a sumptuous display of period self-indulgence and deception. With few attempts to be anything other than true to the original material, director Geordie Brookman has assembled a star cast who revel in the opportunity for farce.

None more so than Nancye Hayes as the sergeant of arms for the fun police, Lady Bracknell. After 10 minutes or so of a mish-mash of whites, blacks and teal, Bracknell arrives on stage as if fresh from of a massive peach fight. It reminds one immediately of our Dame Edna sans the gladis and maybe her persona was based on this, at times, terrifying Victorian matron.  From there the various deceptions of wayward city brothers and the sick Bunberry grow and grow while the ladies of Algie and Jack’s affections get caught up in it all in equal measure.

While Nathan O’Keefe’s dandy Algernon Moncrieff dominates the first act, increasingly it is Yalin Ozucelik’s Jack who takes control with his own somewhat shameless double life of trusted guardian and playboy, a lost man looking for an identity that it seems Lady Bracknell is hell bent on denying  him in the name of her society’s  mores.

The girls, Anna Steen as Gwendolen and Lucy Fry as Cecily, are just a delight, the former with a somewhat ridiculous pout and the other with such sweet innocence it’s worrying.

Yalin Ozucelik Nathan OKeefe Anna Steen photo by Shane Reid 300x189 THEATRE – The Importance of Being Earnest – Playhouse   4K

Yalin Ozucelik, Nathan O’Keefe, Anna Steen (photo by Shane Reid)

But as good as the cast is the highlight remains the material. Wilde lets rip whenever he can at the upper classes of the Victorian age he both cherishes and despises in equal measure. Sometimes it seems the end can only arrive once he has exhausted all the witty material he can muster and when it does arrives it comes with the sort of contrivance that would make even Gilbert and Sullivan winch.

The staging, contained within a magnificent rolling teak wooden curtain rod, bursts out not only with colour and texture but in a shape that subtly gets us anchored in the times.

The Importance of Being Earnest is simply great fun with all the cast in fine form in a production that will have you laughing all the way home – all very witty Wilde.  What a pity he isn’t around today.

Jul 19

GUITAR FESTIVAL – Pepe Romero and Yamandu Costa – 4.5K

10340166 666396830075465 7602581529100756555 n 300x199 GUITAR FESTIVAL – Pepe Romero and Yamandu Costa – 4.5KBy Peter Maddern

While last night’s concert in the Festival Theatre may have been billed as mostly about maestro Pepe Romero, patrons are likely to also long remember the opening three pieces played solo by Brazilian Yamundu Costa; the first with an almost ferocious and unsettling verve, the second with such deft pulses of fallow and frenzy before his American Lullaby brought us all back to ground.

Costa works his instrument like a vibrating weapon, guttural and frenetic, his head bobbing like a swan’s as his slightly dishevelled appearance, complete with rainbow slippers worn sockless, lets his unique style complete the package.

In contrast, the Spaniard Romero was immaculately presented in a tuxedo, with gold chain, and took to his seven strings as if a surgeon, focused on the precision of his fingers as his nose and his guitar’s neck became barely separated. Whereas the pieces played by Costa with the Adelaide Art Orchestra tended to being fluffy, Pepe Romero cast a spell on his audience with their aid in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, with the second movement, the Adagio a glorious ten minutes of swoon.

For the road he delivered Francisco Tarrega’s tremolo classic Recuerdos de la Alhambra. It wrapped up a brilliant night of some of the finest guitar playing Adelaide has ever seen.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

Jul 18

GUITAR FESTIVAL – Perroy & Pujol Trio – 4K

10340166 666396830075465 7602581529100756555 n 300x199 GUITAR FESTIVAL – Perroy & Pujol Trio – 4KBy Peter Maddern

The Guitar Festival kicked off its opening night entertainment with a concert in two distinct halves. The first belonged to French virtuoso Judicael Perroy. Armed with a borrowed three string romantic guitar, the 40 year old (though looking a decade younger) took us through a master class of his talent with compositions from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including all five parts of Bach’s BWV 997. The highlight however, as his explosion of black frizzy hair bowed to his fingers made their way up and down the neck like a frenzied spider, was Dubez’s Fantaisie sur des motifs hongrai,s an amalgam of Hungarian folk melodies with some more recognisable than other (especially if one isn’t Hunagrian.)

After the break, the Maximo Pujol Trio from Argentina devoted their hour to the music of Buenos Aires. Pujol looking very much the (Superior Guitar) Professor with light grey hair and darker grey vest was joined by the stunning Eleonora Ferreyra on bandoneon and Daniel Falasca on the double bass. The two highlights came in the middle with his composition put together in this country as a tribute to the Southern Cross and then The Grand Tango at Midnight, for which the trio were joined on stage by two dancers. The female half of this duo wore such dazzling sequins that most in the first few rows would have had cause to be somewhat blinded by their routine in a way this town has not seen since Oroton made their fashion accessories of the same type that in years gone by so ubiquitously adorned the arms of Adelaide’s social set.

Perhaps a strange way to present these two artists, especially as there was no overlap between them, but the night was was nonetheless a great success, much enjoyed by the amply filled Playhouse.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

Jul 10

DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5K

1 300x200 DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5K By Peter Maddern

The magic of dreams and the thrill of youthful exploration combine as the themes for this magnificently engrossing dance romps. The US Pilobolus dance company have been touring the world with this production and it is not hard to quickly understand why it has been such a hit.

A girl wishing for a life beyond being regarded as a child gets propelled into a place where creepy crawlies morph into castles and warriors into elephants. Gigantic hands reach down, some with benevolence, others with a transformative motive as they help guide our ‘dog girl’ on her travels. At times to engage with cannibal chefs, a centaur, her first love or, perhaps in the best movement of the night, a sublime submerging into watery depths.

2 200x300 DANCE – Shadowland – Her Majesty’s –5KThe shadows projected onto the various screens speak of a dogged determination to fully explore the imagination for possibilities. The music that accompanies moves from standard modern dance techno vibes with the obligatory static to melodies reminiscent of the Eagles’ LA sound back to the darkest of the Beatles’ White Album spaced out indulgences.

Molly Gawler as the girl is superb with a physique that seems to straddle the generations of the character she portrays, Krystal Butler makes for a saucy circus ring mistress and Jacob Michael Warren is simply the largest man I have ever seen on a stage.

While some productions can deter a more general audience with the intricacies of the language of dance, Shadowland is as much for the uninitiated as it is for all generations.

One doubts whether there will be a better dance production to come to Adelaide this year. This show is in no others’ shadow.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

Jul 08


dream of the ghost story 300x199 2014 OZASIA FESTIVAL MARCHES TO THE BEAT OF THE CHINESE DRUM

From the Dream of the Ghost Story

Adelaide Festival Centre has unveiled the 2014 OzAsia Festival program, which celebrates Adelaide’s sister state, Shandong Province, China. The Festival will feature more than 140 performers from the region and will put the spotlight on its rich history and resplendent culture as well as presenting performances and events from on Japan, India, Korea, Philippines, Cambodia, Palestine, Bangladesh, Russia, Indonesia, Mongolia and of course Australia.

Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival is proudly supported by the Government of South Australia and proudly supported by major festival partner Santos. The culturally diverse OzAsia Festival will run from 3 – 21 September and play host to 21 performances and 36 events featuring over 250 artists and presenters from across the globe.

Minister for the Arts Jack Snelling says “OzAsia is the largest and pre-eminent cultural event in Australia presenting on works from the Asian region and is recognised around Asia as an important step in solidifying Asian – Australian relationships.   The Festival has grown steadily since its inception eight years ago and is now an important event on South Australia’s cultural calendar.

It addition to entertaining audiences, OzAsia is helping our understanding of  Asian culture, traditions and language and connecting local Australian Asian communities who have historically not taken part in cultural activities in Adelaide. 

This year the focus on Shandong will bring to Adelaide some amazing shows and exhibitions that would otherwise never be seen in this country.  This exchange of culture will nurture our Sister-State relationship with Shandong which is providing unique social, cultural and economic opportunities for South Australia.” 


From the Dream of the Ghost Story

The program boasts 6 world premieres, 7 Australian premieres, 8 South Australian premieres and 26 Adelaide exclusives. This year’s hero image for the Festival is the dragon kite; Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore, like the dragon the Festival holds virtues of power, strength, energy and good fortune. Shandong is known as the birthplace of kites and is home to the World Kite Museum, the largest in the world.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says, “OzAsia has grown over the last eight years and has been embraced by local Asian communities and mainstream audiences alike. It has enriched the experience of South Australian Audiences by providing a more diverse range of artistic expression while also helping our understanding of Asian culture and traditions. OzAsia Festival is a vital ingredient in aiding cultural understanding and promoting a harmonious community.

This year’s OzAsia Festival showcases Asia’s diverse arts and culture, through an array of performances, events, workshops, forums, lectures and exhibitions. From acclaimed Shandong Acrobatic Troupe to Beijing’s famed minimalistic dance troupe, TAO Dance Theatre. This great work has never been seen in this country before and is exclusive to OzAsia festival.

The Festival engages audiences through theatre, dance, music both contemporary and traditional, film, percussion, food and calligraphy. Audiences of all ages will have the opportunity to learn more about this province which is the cradle of Chinese civilisation and gain insights into the eternal charm of ancient Shandong and the many facets of its contemporary culture.”

Program highlights:

Qingdao Song and Dance Theatre’s premiere and exclusive performance of Red Sorghum; the company is renowned for their breathtaking work. Adapted from the novel by Shandong’s Nobel Prize winning author Mo Yan, and is the winner of this year’s Wenhua Prize, China’s Ministry of Culture’s highest award for professional arts, the work presents themes of love, affection and patriotism.


From The Dream of the Ghost Story

Ghosts, foxes, immortals and demons are brought to live with stunning performances, breathtaking acrobatics and dream-like staging by award winning Shandong Acrobatic Troupe. Featuring more than 50 performers the Australian premiere of Dream of the Ghost Story is a spectacular and visually stunning experience for the whole family.

Based on a true story of a Japanese-Australian photographer Yasukichi Murakami, what begins as a search for the past, becomes a quest for immortality in Yasukichi Murakami – Through a Distant Lens.

Another explosive Australian premiere see’s Director Wang Chong and Théatre Du Réve Expérimental present Ibsen in One Take, a movie, filmed live on stage in a single take. Inspired by the works of Norwegian dramatic playwright Henrik Ibsen, the work is an avant garde explosion of theatrical convention in China that defies artistic and technical expectations.

Beijing’s famed minimalist modern dance troupe TAO Dance Theatre has taken China by storm and is now set to captivate Adelaide audiences this September with the performance of 6 and the world premiere of 7, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, with the support of the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Internationally renowned calligrapher/artist Hiroko Watanabe will fuse words and imagery together with expressive, controlled brush strokes to create a three dimensional calligraphy installation to the rhythms of Japanese band

Above the Clouds. Together they meld the contemporary time honoured calligraphic traditions of Japan with the improvisation of Jazz infused electric guitar and bass with the strict cadence of Japanese drums.

Queen of Beijing rock and the self-professed ‘Blondie of China’ Helen Feng brings her long-awaited solo project Nova Heart, her four piece psych-rock band to OzAsia Festival.

Floating Melodies sees Adelaide icon The Popeye come to life for a series of concerts on the River Torrens.  Mujhe Rang De Give Me Colour celebrates the culture of Bollywood with Fahad Farooque, and Way of Tea will immerse you in Japanese culture with an intimate tea ceremony and performance by David Kotlowy and Mayumi Kako.

A world-first music project, Synergy Percussion, Australia’s oldest and foremost contemporary music ensemble, joins forces with Noreum Machi one of Korea’s most important proponents of traditional drumming in a dark vibrant and transformative concert experience Synergy Percussion Meets Noreum Machi.

World-renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun returns to the OzAsia Festival with the magnificent Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with the Australian premiere of Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. Tan Dan weaves heart wrenching stories of mothers, daughters, sisters and how they navigate their lives through the secret language of Nu Shu.

Due to last year’s highly successful collaboration with the Migration Museum, they return this year with a day-long celebration and exploration of the origins and cultures of tea. Infused: All About Tea will feature cooking demonstrations by special guest Simon Bryant using tea-based recipes. This family-friendly event is FREE.

Prepare your senses for The Emperor’s Feast at Park Lok Chinese Restaurant, a sumptuous and exquisite Chinese Feast by world-renowned chef Ao Jun of Beijing Fangshan Restaurant and Adelaide’s own chef Cheong Liew. Jun’s mouth-watering Chinese recipes will be peppered with Liew’s influence of French and Malay flavour-fusions.

Moon Lantern Festival remains a pivotal night on the State’s cultural calendar, this year falling on Monday 8 September, 3pm – 8.30pm. Featuring 10 schools and 48 Community Groups, Elder Park is transformed and will be a glow with abundant light from the hundreds of lanterns and the magical wonder of the full moon. Media partner ABC RN Drive will broadcast live from the event.

Get your popcorn ready, OzAsia on Screen, in association with the Media Resource Centre, returns with a wide variety of films and documentaries showcasing a selection of the 2013 award winning films from the Asia Pacific’s Screen Awards, Asia Pacific’s highest accolade in film. Program highlights will be Red Sorghum providing patrons the opportunity to see the film after they’ve seen the production on stage. The Festival is also partnering with Adelaide Cinématèque and will present The Good, The Sometimes Bad and the Never Ugly – Action Women of Hong Kong a selection of films featuring Hong Kong’s most beloved actresses it will include a free event by Hong Kong film critic, curator and researcher Sam Hong who will present Everything you ever wanted to know about Hong Kong Cinema but were too afraid to ask?

Returning to compliment OzAsia on Screen is Adelaide Festival Centre’s GreenRoom Short Film Competition. Supported by ANZ the competition aims to celebrate young emerging filmmakers and recognise the talents of local artists. With this year’s focus on Shandong, which is known as the birthplace of Confucius as well as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, the competition’s theme is based on the Confucius proverb “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”. Registrations close 11 August. For entry details log onto

Adelaide Festival Centre and Shandong Provincial Department of Culture will celebrate South Australia’s sister state relationship with Wisdom of Confucius Exhibition and FREE craft workshops including: Kite Making, New Year Picture Printing, Calligraphy, Paper Cutting, Shadow Puppet Performance, Rubbing Makings, Porcelain Paintings, Colour Printing on Cloth and Rizhao Farmers Paintings.

In what can only be described as a visual arts feast, visual arts enthusiasts will not be disappointed as once again this year the Festival partners with Adelaide’s leading galleries:

  • Art Gallery of South Australia presents two beautiful exhibitions; Elegant Pursuits: Arts of the East Asian Scholar and Brush and Ink Contemporary Asian Calligraphy.
  • Samstag Museum of Art present In-Habit: Project Another Country, artists Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan create remarkably imaginative installations that use the process of collecting and collaboration to express ideas of migration, family and memory. They will work with local communities conducting art-making workshops. As well as presenting Mooi Indie – Beautiful Indies which celebrates the culturally aware and socially engaged art that is the product of an energetic creative scene that thrives in Indonesia.
  • Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA) presents Cao Fei’s Theatrical Mirror: Living in Between the Real and the Unreal featuring eight video works spanning the years 2004 – 2013.
  • Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre presents Placement Displacement Replacement artist and curator Daniel Connell curates an exhibition featuring video works by two established and respected Indian artists, Hermant Sareen and Bindu Mehra and drawing works by emerging Indigenous and Chinese South Australian artist Damien Shen.
  • State Library of South Australia Hedda Hammer Morison: Travels of a Photographer in Old Shandong featuring rare photographs taken by German-born Hedda Hammer Morrison (1908 – 1991).

Presented by Shandong Provincial Department of Culture Rizhao Farmers Paintings will be on display in the Festival Theatre Foyer whilst South Australian Margaret Lee has curated Silk Legacy: A Showcase of Chinese Embroidery Tradition an exhibition and number of workshops celebrating the fine art of Chinese embroidery on display in the Artspace Gallery.

Shorebirds is an exhibition that will celebrate the spectacular arrival of shorebirds on their migration to South Australia’s shores with artists from across the world on display in the Space Theatre foyer. Presented in association with The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, Birdlife Australian and the Fly Away Print Exchange.

Once again the OzAsia Festival collaborates with The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at UniSA to present the popular FREE Keynote Lecture. Professor Michael Dutton from the Department of Politics, University of London will present The Biography of A Coin.  The Festival also features a series of lectures and forums with some of Australia and China’s most respected academics, they include:

  • Talking History Exposed: China, Photography and the Art of Hedda Hammer Morrison 1933-46 in collaboration with History SA and Uni SA.
  • Growing Cultural Exchange Between China and Australia supported by the Asia-Pacific Centre for Arts and Cultural Leadership and Adelaide Festival Centre and the University of South Australia.
  • Confucius Institute Public Lecture Confucianism and The Jewish Faith: Secrets to Modern Success? Presented by Professor Fu Youde, Shandong University, China presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Confucius Institute and the University of Adelaide.
  • World Confucius Forum presented in both Mandarin Chinese and English speakers include Professor Fu Youde, Shandong University, China, Professor Yan Binggang, Shandong University, China, Mr Kong Xianglin direct descendant of Confucius and vice President of the Confucius Research Institute, Professor Mobo Gao, Director of the Confucius Institute, Adelaide, Reginald Little, former Australian diplomat and former Executive Director of the Australian-China Council, with further speakers to be confirmed.

In 2013 an agreement was signed between Adelaide Festival Centre Trust and the Shandong Government’s Department of Culture. The agreement confirmed a commitment to continue supporting the cultural exchange between South Australian and Shandong. It established a long-term, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between the Shandong Government and OzAsia Festival.

Jun 30

FILM – Scandinavian Film Festival – 23-31 July – Palace – Preview

sff FILM   Scandinavian Film Festival   23 31 July   Palace   Preview21 AUSTRALIAN PREMIERES TO SCREEN AT INAUGURAL


The region of Scandinavia – comprised of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark – has produced some of the most iconic films ever made. From the masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman, to the radical, back-to-basics guerrilla-style filmmaking of the Dogme revolution, to the contemporary and transnational diversity of Nordic cinema.

Palace are proud to present Adelaide audiences with a brand new event, showcasing 21 films from the region, created to offer a dedicated focus to an area of screen culture that has for too long been underrepresented in Australia.

Finnish Actress Laura Birn will come to Australia as a special guest of the Festival (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra only). Birn appears in Festival films Heart of a Lion and August Fools. Her extensive film roles have earned her constant critical praise and the best actress award at the Jussi Awards 2012 for her performance in Purge, which was Finland’s Oscar entry that year. Birn was also chosen as one of Europe’s hottest young actors when awarded the prestigious Shooting Star Award at the Berlin Film Festival 2013.

The Festival will open with Swedish blockbuster The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Hundraaringen som klev ut genom fonstret och forsvann), a delightful, colourful comedy of unexpected surprises based on the hugely successful international bestselling novel by Jonas Jonasson which was published in more than 35 countries.

Full film list and session information is listed below and is also available online at Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and the official Festival website

The inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival presented by Palace & comes to Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas 23 – 31 July. The festival will delight audiences with the best drama, crime and comedy of the region.


- General Admission: GA $20 (adult), $17.50 (concession)

- Opening Night: $50 (GA), $45 (Palace Movie Club Members)

Jun 26

THEATRE: The Pirates of Penzance – Scotch College

The Pirates of Penzance is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best known and most loved musicals. Under the direction of Adam Goodburn and musical direction of Antony Hubmayer, Scotch College has produced a decidedly enjoyable version, with a pleasing design concept, strong principal performances, and consistently high energy and enthusiasm from the supporting cast and musicians. Indeed, the calibre of talent at Scotch appears to be so high that the principal roles were able to be cast twice over and these performers share the roles on alternating nights. The evening discussed below featured the “Gilbert” cast.

When released from his apprenticeship with a band of pirates, young Fredric (a believably soppy Kyle Hall) encounters girls (and naturally love) for the first time. Amongst the Stanley sisters, it is Mabel (Isabelle Blacketer) who steals his heart, and he sets about winning her hand, while also waging an attack on his former comrades whom he feels bound by duty to fight. Meanwhile, the pirates (who are really a bunch of softies) hatch a plan to make Fredric return to them – and also don’t mind the look of Mabel’s sisters for some company. Throw in the girls’ dithering father, a love-sick older woman, a bumbling constabulary, some clever word-play and a British dedication to honour, and you have yourself two hours of good natured fun.

In the roles of the young lovers, Hall and Blacketer do a wonderful job. Hall is impishly charming as Fredric and makes a sweet hero, while Blacketer has a lovely voice which skips along through the tricky soprano trills and maintains its quality throughout. Tom Russell is outstanding as the Pirate King, never letting his portrayal lapse, even when he’s not in the spotlight. He gives the character just the right blend of cheekiness, strength and charisma. His voice is powerful and pleasant and his physical abilities impressive.

Quinn Martin has the tough job of filling the shoes of the infamous “Modern Major General”, General Stanley, and shows off his comedic acting skills in doing so. The amusing extra verses of this iconic song keep up the G&S tradition of incorporating current events or relevant jokes into a production. As Ruth, Fredric’s ex-nursemaid, Sarah Thorpe is also playing well above her age and, while her characterisation may not be as successful, her voice is very agreeable and meets the demands of the role well. Also giving a strong vocal performance was Jordan Carling, as the Sergeant of Police, who had a surprisingly good bass range for someone so young.

The large chorus provide several of the highlights of the show. The delightful and seemingly endless parade of giggling girls which fills the stage for ‘Climbing Over Rocky Mountain’, creates a picture of girlish glee and makes one wonder if there is now a curtain shop out their somewhere, completely bereft of white lace. Meanwhile, the sergeant and his officers showed off their dance skills via some very energetic and fun choreography (Linda Williams) – who knew police offices could twerk! It is without doubt however, the rousing performance of ‘With Cat-like Tread’ (complete with encores) that steals the show. Vocally, the group has a good range of voices and many strong singers. At times however, those stronger members of the chorus did overpower others and some more attention could have been paid to blending the voices further, to create a more even overall sound.

This is a production which any amateur company in Adelaide would be proud of. That the majority of people involved are teenagers is especially impressive and the quality of it speaks to their (and probably their parents’) dedication, as well as to the efforts of the staff involved. We can only hope that many of these young performers get involved in the wider theatre scene and continue to grace our stages with their talents.

Jun 22

KIDS THEATRE PREVIEW – The Cranky Bear – From 4 Aug

Cranky Bear Poster 250x300 KIDS THEATRE PREVIEW   The Cranky Bear   From 4 AugNick Bland’s popular children’s picture book ‘The Very Cranky Bear’

set to take on a new life as it transforms from the page to the stage


Leading South Australian children’s theatre company, Patch Theatre, continue their leadership position in producing inspirational new work for 4-8 year olds with the creation of their latest work Cranky Bear based on the best-selling children’s picture book The Very Cranky Bear by Australian author and illustrator Nick Bland. The Australian premiere will be at Odeon Theatre from 9 August, for a strictly limited season.


Zebra, Lion and Moose each think they know how to solve the Bear’s crankiness but their shenanigans just make him even crankier! It takes a humble and empathetic Sheep with an open heart and listening ear to solve the Bear’s woes.


Cranky Bear is a rollicking new cabaret style show for 4 – 8 year olds packed with laughter, surprise and mayhem.


Patch Theatre Artistic Director Dave Brown says, “THE VERY CRANKY BEAR story, a-la Nick Bland’s wonderful book, is about a trio of vain but affable friends, Zebra, Lion and Moose, who try to solve the BEAR’s grumpiness by offering things that make them happy.  It takes a humble and empathetic sheep with an open heart and a listening ear to solve the BEAR’s problem. In this Patch Theatre production, we juxtapose the telling of Nick Bland’s story with the story of the BEAR wanting to represent himself in the performance as something more than just a ‘grump who roars’.
Running alongside Patch Theatre’s preparation for performances is a Creative Education Partnership with Sturt Street Primary School called ‘Kind Hearts and Listen Ears’. Children and teachers will work with Patch Theatre artists throughout term 2 to investigate the same artistic idea that the Patch performers pursued when devising the performance. The provocation they will unravel will be: How can we dramatically share stories that help us “feel” empathy and comprehend the meaning of compassion?


The methods and outcomes of the Sturt Street investigation will be shared with schools attending Cranky Bear in the hope that it will inspire similar creative learning endeavours in other schools and kindergardens.



Saturday 9 & Saturday 16 August 2014 1:00pm & 3:30pm

Saturday 23 August 3.30pm ONLY

Cost: $18.00 all tickets

Bookings can be made online or by phone 08 8333 0444



Monday – Friday 4 August – 22 August 10:30am & 1pm



Keith Michell Theatre, Port Pirie - Tuesday 26 August, 10:00am & 12 noon

Middleback Theatre, Whyalla – Thursday 28 August, 10am & 12 noon

Chaffey Theatre, Renmark – Tuesday 2 September, 10am & 12 noon

Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre, Mt Gambier – Friday 5 September, 10am & 12 noon



Barossa Arts & Convention Centre – Tuesday 9 September, 10am & 12 noon

Golden Grove Arts Centre – Thursday 11 & Friday 12 September, 10:30am & 1pm

Hopgood Theatre Noarlunga Centre – Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 Sept, 10:30am & 1pm

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