BEST IN SHOWS

It’s been an in­ter­est­ing and di­verse 12 months in Gold Coast theatre, with plenty more to look for­ward to on lo­cal stages in the new year

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY | DRESSING ROOMERS - KATE PETERS

Ma­rina Prior will join the Green­room Project Ju­nior this school hol­i­days for a three-day work­shop for young peo­ple at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast, run­ning Jan­uary 14 to 16. Au­di­tions will be held early Jan­uary. Con­tact the Arts Cen­tre for all other in­for­ma­tion. A big week cul­mi­nated in Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre’s (GCLT’s) in­au­gu­ral Christmas Show. The most pleas­ing as­pect for me was the fact that so many com­pa­nies be­came in­volved – do­nat­ing tick­ets for up­com­ing shows for the raf­fle, or their time and tal­ent for the con­cert. A com­pletely sold-out house guar­an­teed a healthy profit to as­sist the theatre in on­go­ing main­te­nance and a great au­di­ence feel­ing the spirit. Great to hear that Queens­land Theatre is bring­ing back the block­buster of 2016 with a Jan­uary open­ing of Ladies in Black. More about that soon – suf­fice to say it’s ter­rific to see an­other Aus­tralian mu­si­cal hit the stage. Yours Truly and some mates per­formed a Christmas show for the Jazz and Blues Club last week. New pres­i­dent John Pur­nell was keen to try some­thing new, and the buzz was great. The club’s first show of the year is on Jan­uary 13 with Bris­bane vo­cal­ist In­grid James singing the Great Amer­i­can Song Book. Call 5588 4000 to book for this de­light­ful evening of mu­sic at the Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast. In re­hearsal are GCLT’s Back to the ‘80s, and Spot­light’s Satur­day Night Fever. Au­di­tions com­ing up in­clude those on Fe­bru­ary 5 for Crown Mat­ri­mo­nial, the story of the Ab­di­ca­tion of Ed­ward VIII through the eyes of his mother, Queen Mary. More in­for­ma­tion next week. On re­flec­tion, of the shows I’ve been in­vited to at­tend this year (in ad­di­tion to judg­ing for the Palm Awards), sev­eral stand out. Spot­light’s Bon­nie and Clyde was a brave pro­duc­tion to take on – the mu­sic wasn’t known to au­di­ences, and the story wasn’t re­cent, but the ex­cel­lent cast and set made for a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. GCLT’s How to Suc­ceed in Busi­ness With­out Re­ally Try­ing showed that a mu­si­cal writ­ten in the early ’60s could still make peo­ple laugh, and Javeen­bah’s ex­cel­lent The

demon­strated just how good a lo­cal writer and cast could be. GCLT’s West Side Story was full of nos­tal­gia and a tight, well-di­rected pro­duc­tion. In Bris­bane, one of the high­lights of 2016 was Cirque Adren­a­line at QPAC – sim­ply breath­tak­ing. In Syd­ney I was blown away by the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany’s im­ported pro­duc­tion of King Charles III – a quite pos­si­ble story about what may hap­pen on his mother’s death. In Syd­ney as well, the ex­cel­lent Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion of Ge­orgy Girl saw us re­visit the Seek­ers years – what a shame it didn’t tour to Bris­bane. Cabaret shows were also fun with the US singer Natalie Wiesse at the Base­ment prov­ing to be an ex­cel­lent night out. I can’t imag­ine why the Gold Coast doesn’t have more cabaret and theatre res­tau­rant venues, there’s clearly an au­di­ence for them. Mel­bourne’s Pro­duc­tion Com­pany staged Funny Girl with Caro­line O’Con­nor in July – she’s sim­ply world class, and the show was fab­u­lous. Rachel Beck in Cabaret at the town hall Tum­bul­gum was a fun night out, and demon­strated once again why she is a ma­jor star. All in all, it was a dif­fer­ent and fun year the­atri­cally, prov­ing that Aussies can do it as well as any­one. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Ma­rina Prior will be men­tor­ing some young fans in Jan­uary

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