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
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