theatreviewsyd · 10 years
An on point video by Wicked's wonderful Sophie Wright about all the things you should NOT do in the theatre! (also check out her blog to http://www.wholewickedwellness.com/, it's great!) I was going to make a long ranty post about this issue, but this video pretty much covers it, the only thing I want to add is my personal pet peeve: eating super crunchy food really loudly and for extended periods of time during the show. NO, thank you. If you do this in the theatre, I don't think we can be friends anymore.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
The Island of Dr Moron
A few weeks ago I posted an interview with Chris Dockrill, director and creator of The Island of Dr Moron, and on Monday night this much anticipated show opened. Unfortunately the years of hard work, enthusiasm and passion that has gone into the show has not paid off.
 The show was a collection of mishap and cringe-worthy elements which when pieced together created a tediously long musical, which did not live up to its hype.  I have a whole lot to say, but simultaneously it is hard to put into words what the show was like, so I’m going to do my best.
  The first part of the show relied predominantly on acting which was a weakness of the leads, if you could call them that seeing as they spent most of the show silent and in the background, and was longwinded and poorly scripted. The first song was unimpressive, repetitive and too long, which characterised most of the following songs as well. The songs limited the actors as often the tone of the song didn’t fit in with the atmosphere they were trying to create, straining the acting and making it very forced. The music, lyrics and vibe were all very incongruent and mismatched. Most of the music was derived from a rock genre, and was generally ok and catchy however the lyrics were simple, dull and nonsensical at times. Often the songs were clustered too close together and seemed largely unnecessary, like the three identical love ballads by the same character within 15 minutes in Act 2.
  The space was used well, and the set did what it needed to do, but wasn’t overly impressive or extravagant. The costumes were basic and cheap, and were similarly unimpressive. The use of a balcony was an interesting and effective use of space. The band was above the stage, and they were one of the highlights of the show. However, oddly most of the singing was done by lead characters accompanied by backup singers who stood next to the band, which really added little to the already dull songs, which could have benefited from the full sound of the ensemble.
  The ensemble was hugely enthusiastic and carried the show as much as they could. The dance numbers were generally well choreographed and executed by the ensemble, yet were often long-winded and at times resembled eisteddfod material rather than a professional musical.
  The script was stagnant and difficult to follow. Lines that were meant to be humorous often received no response from the audience. Dialogue didn’t make sense and was very laboured. The plot itself was extremely confusing and unprecedented in uniqueness. Throw together a voodoo native tribe, genetic mutants, a priest, a crazy photographer, an over-sexualised slave-trader and of course the psychotic Dr Moron himself, and you have the bold elements of the plot, which I am still trying to piece together. It was all resolved through some swamp boogie music and a celebration of bestiality and sexuality. I am sceptical of the appropriateness for all ages as it is advertised.
  The leads were all generally good, although only one actor really stood out – Bree Langridge, who played the voodoo queen, had great vocals and great comedic timing, and was the one redeeming element of the show that kept me hopeful. However, unfortunately the rest of the show crushed the hope I had.
  I admire what the creators of the show have attempted to do in branching out and creating original and bold theatre. They have put a lot of commitment, heart and passion into this production which is evident, however unfortunately misplaced into a show unworthy of such dedication.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Henry V
I decided to branch out a little and try some Shakespeare over the weekend. I saw Bell Shakespeare’s production of Henry V and it was phenomenal!
The concept of the production was really interesting and engaging, based on a true story, a group of school students trapped in a bunker in the middle of WWII rehearse different Shakespeare plays, and obviously this show focused on the rehearsal of Henry V. The interwoven stories, the students rehearsing and the story of Henry V itself, were really well interlaced so as to provide relief from the tension of both stories at different parts and to bring a lot of humour and emotional investment. Although, at times I still got lost with the Shakespearean language and such, but that’s really due to my lack of sophistication, this production really enabled me to follow (mostly) what was going on and be really engaged with it.
The staging was absolutely incredible. They had a simple set, which they were able to manipulate so cleverly to create visual masterpieces. Scene changes happened smoothly and effectively. They also had simple costumes that were manipulated effectively for their purposes. The lighting, sound design and effects were all absolutely amazing. They overwhelmed the audience in the WWII bunker experience, whilst also effectively representing the war scenes within Henry V. I cannot accurately depict in words how stunning and incredible the staging was, it is really something you need to see. Phenomenal!!
The cast was also phenomenal. Every single member of the cast gave a brilliant performance. Making Shakespeare relatable is a hard task, again please don’t condemn me for my lack of sophistication, but this cast so clearly and successfully told the story of Henry V. Moreover, they distinctly portrayed the separate stories and characters making the concept easy to understand, and gave a heartfelt insight into the lives of the children in the bunkers as well as the Shakespearean characters.
I feel like no matter how long I write about this show for, I will not do justice to how incredible it is. I urge you to go and see it if you have the chance because it truly was amazing!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Glory Days
Glory days? It was far from glorious. And like this review, it was mercifully short.
Putting jests aside, Glory Days by the Exclaim Theatre Company was certainly not a new favourite of mine.
The material the company had to work with was limiting from the get go. The production ran for a mere single performance on Broadway before closing, which would suggest it was not worth reviving. The score was slightly painful to listen to, with the tempo always being slightly off and the lyrics never quite fitting into the music properly. The book also has little to offer – it was mostly cliché and was slightly dry at times. There were moments that attempted to explore deep, pertinent issues to the youth of today, for example in the song ‘Generation Apathy’, yet they mostly fell short. Both the thematic musical concepts and the plot showed potential yet require significant further development.
This production itself failed to rise to the extremely difficult challenge of bringing new life to this underdeveloped musical. The cast showed great enthusiasm yet were not quite fit to this difficult task. The acting was at times overdone, and the singing was slightly pitchy which did little to carry this already problematic score.
The use of space was clever and effective. The lighting design also worked well to complement the minimalist set.
The cast and crew did what they could to revive this show, yet it was better left untouched.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Miracle City
In keeping with my recent corny openings; Miracle City was a miracle! Not really, but it was pretty amazing and definitely has made it into my top few musicals list.
Starting with the cast members, getting ready in character before the show started, the audience was immersed in this genius piece of theatre from the beginning.  The use of a curtain to divide the space, both to allow for a backstage and to act as a prop within the show, was similarly a clever yet simple means of using the space to its full potential. Costumes and make-up were also simple yet extremely effective and overall great.
Now, onto all the other fabulous aspects of the show. The concept was really interestingly and effectively carried out; a televangelist family’s story told through both the live screening of the show and the backstage dramas. It was always clear where the barrier between these sectors lay, and they intertwined moments of both aspects effectively to give insight into the real people behind the facades. My one critique is that I felt the ending was slightly ambiguous and went out with a bit of a fizzle, yet in some ways this fitted the confronting concepts presented near the end of the piece. Also it’s worth noting that this was only a preview performance so there may have been changes made to make the ending clearer.  Overall, it was a really great, thought-provoking number, which examined flaws of televangelism and the misuse and abuse of power that can occur within the church, whilst also demonstrating truths of the gospel and how they can be acted out positively.
The insightful and interesting plot was complemented extremely well by the AMAZING score. Incredible gospel numbers with great harmonies here, there and everywhere. The music was just phenomenal and I am really hoping for the very unlikely, but would-be-very-much-appreciated, cast recording. The band performed the great score, greatly. And THAT CAST. Such a small cast filled with unbelievable amounts of talent. Their voices were all incredible. And their acting was to a similar standard of incredibleness. What seemed initially like an easy role to play; as disingenuous, facades presented on TV- gave way to deep, diverse, vulnerable characters, which the actors explored intricately in their portrayals of them. All of the cast were incredible. Particular highlights were the emotional depth and vulnerability portrayed by Blazey Best (Lora Lee), the amaze vocals and hilarious but believable performance of Hilary Cole (Loretta) and the mind-blowingly incredible vocal and emotional performance by Esther Hannaford (Bonnie Mae). But I reiterate: the whole cast = AMAZE.
Overall it was an amaze musical with an amaze cast and an amaze score. It was also extremely insightful and provided necessary reflection on how religion can be misused and warped.  I will totally see this fab piece again so I totally recommend you see it.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
why you so fab!? loving the reviews! the recent interview is really great! p.s reply to my text womarrrnnnn!!
hahahha i was like who is this anon. but it's yooouuuu!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Interview with Chris Dockrill
I recently spoke to Chris Dockrill director, writer and producer of the new show The Island of Doctor Moron opening on November 6 at the recently refurbished and renamed New Olympia Theatre in Paddington. Here is what he had to say.
There’s been a lot of hype about this whole process, especially considering the refurbishment of the theatre, how has this process been for you?
It’s been exciting… but it has been a really daunting process. Our original plan was to rent a theatre and put the show on and expose it to potential backers and then negotiate for much bigger game. The offer of the building was a total game changer. We were taking on a project that was much bigger than producing a show. We have done it. We jumped in. It has been a huge project but a fantastic bonus for us.
What gives this show commercial potential?
It has all of the elements of being a really successful commercial venture on a large scale.  It’s appeal goes way beyond Australia. Why? Delightful escapism; you go to a musical wanting to leave the theatre feeling great, which is what this show does. It is driven by 21 original songs which rock.
When we did this originally as a school show we had adults come back three times. Now on a much bigger scale, we have 5 of the top musicians in Australia playing in our band, we have a super dance ensemble with relentless dance numbers loaded from start to finish. And we have hot singers and great actors. They have added colour and life to the characters and taken them that next step further.
So your wife wrote all the music, how do you work together as a partnership?
We are a great team.  I come up with all the crazy ideas. I know the structure of the songs and I write the lyrics, then I hand it over to her and she translates that into melody and then works out the arrangements. We are a great husband and wife team.
Teaching has been a big part of your career, how do you hope this project will reach younger generations?
The demographic for the show is 8 to 108.  I hope 20 and 30 year olds will enjoy it as a refreshing new show. Young people want fresh stuff.  This show is not like Rocky Horror in its content or style but it is like Rocky Horror in one important aspect – it is coming completely from left field. It will knock people on their backs. 
In one sentence, what do you want audiences to take away from the show?
I want audiences to leave here feeling joy at having such an entertaining experience, I want them to be really electrified by the music, and I want them to leave wanting to come back again.
This show opens in a few weeks, be sure to check it out and watch out for my review which will be up soon!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Les Miserables
I heard the people sing. And it was great. Les Mis was a fantastic show. Completely contrasting to the previously reviewed simplistic Once, this show had production value through the roof, not that we could see the roof because we had a restricted view of the stage.
Everything about the show was powerful and overwhelming in the best way. From the beginning of the show we were blown away by the dynamic, commanding vocals and the absolutely incredible orchestra. The sound design was amazingly done so as to flood the theatre with volume, and fully engross the audience in the powerful and dynamic score. The lighting design was also really great and fitting to the production. It was dim and shady, matching the dark intensity of the show. Yet it was bright and powerful at times, echoing the emotion and intensity of the show. The set was also phenomenal; it was well complimented by the lighting and in particular used a backdrop well at times to convey changing scenes and movement.
The ensemble was amazing. The costumes and makeup were also really great; they were dark at times but fit the intensity of the show. They also showed the ageing of characters well through subtle yet effective makeup and costume changes. The ensemble numbers were so powerful and dynamic. They had great volume, great harmonies, and incredible energy. They also mastered a good range of energy from vibrant, boisterous songs like Lovely Ladies and Master of the House to more serious and reserved numbers. The children were also really talented and carried their difficult parts well with great vocals and great acting.
The leads were all equally incredible.  There was a great diversity of voices amidst the cast, which led to great contrasts in many of the songs. Patrice Tipoki (Fantine), although only on stage for the first third of the show, delivered such a stand out performance. Her voice is amazing and her acting so raw and so powerful that it resonated with me for far longer than her on stage time. The two leading males – Simon Gleeson (Jean Valjean) and Hayden Tee (Javert) were phenomenal. Amazing, commanding, and strong voices that filled the theatre and carried majority of the larger numbers of the show. They also had great and diverse acting both portraying the intentions of their characters so clearly. Their voices complimented each other at times and starkly contrasted at others, showing the richness of the incredible score. Kerrie Anne Greenland (Eponine) and Emily Langridge (Cosette) also both had great voices that contrasted really well to show their different characters. Kerrie Anne Greenland was another stand out for me. Her voice was particularly astonishing and her acting was layered and passionate. The other male leads were great. Euan Doidge (Marius) was slightly overpowered by some stronger vocals when singing lower parts at times, however this was not an issue when he was singing higher parts, and he still gave a great performance. Lara Mulcahy and Trevor Ashley (The Thenardiers) were absolutely hilarious – they were so entertaining and had great vocal control considering they sang with a particular huskiness to suit the characters. Overall, the whole cast was phenomenal.
I’m glad Jean Valjean stole that loaf of bread, because the ensuing show was grand and phenomenal, and I would truly recommend it.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Strictly Ballroom
In honour of Strictly Ballroom closing in Sydney last weekend, I have written a review of this fantastic show. Let me tell you – love was in the air that night. I wasn’t expecting all that much of the show, but we got student rush tickets so decided to go along. I was blown away! It was a really fun and really enjoyable show. And it had great production value and some great songs. As soon as we walked into the theatre, there were decorations and seat coverings immersing us in the vibrant energy of the show, which was maintained by a highly enthusiastic cast, extravagant costumes and a vivacious score. Making the show exciting and enjoyable from beginning to end.
The cast were really great – high energy levels, great voices and great ballroom technique (not that I would really be able to tell).  The singing was great particularly in ensemble-focused numbers. The dancing was, as expected, fantastic; amazing choreography executed amazingly. The leads were both good although could have had stronger and more impressive vocals, yet still delivered engaging and enjoyable performances, with great chemistry. The score was enjoyable and catchy, however there were only a few really standout numbers. The set, costumes, props and lighting design were really the most thrilling aspect of the show; colourful, exuberant and overall sensational. I admit I hadn’t seen the film, but enjoyed the plot, however typically ‘Aussie’ and corny it may have been at times. I particularly loved the moments of audience participation, as they were engaging and exciting.
Overall it was a really great production, it was an enjoyable and fun night with some stand out moments of amazing talent from the cast and some amazing numbers. This has been a brief review but there wasn’t really much to say – loved it and would definitely recommend!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a preview performance of Once. It was an absolutely incredible, heart-wrenching and beautiful show with a very talented cast. I’m still processing all the emotions a week after seeing it.
From taking our seats before the show started, it was clearly a unique show. The cast were already on stage along with several audience members. Then the audience members returned to their seats, whilst the cast remained on stage performing. It established the intimate vibe of the show really effectively. It also was a tad confusing but in a good way, had the show started? Were we meant to be paying attention? Who knows? And then Tom Parsons (Guy) took to the stage and started singing and slowly the lights dimmed and it was clear the official ‘show’ was commencing.
The style of the show is really different to any I’ve seen before. The show has a beautiful yet minimalist and simplistic set of a pub, which the audience is able to experience first hand during intermission as it acts as a bar, which was such a cool experience. There are few scene changes, which mostly involve the moving of tables and chairs to establish a new scene, which are effective and fitting for the simplicity of the piece. The lighting design is really powerful as it fits the simplicity of the piece but also emphasises the beauty of the set and heightens the emotional moments. The music is not your traditional catchy musical theatre score but rather more folksy but it is extremely moving and beautiful. The cast doubles as the orchestra, and they all sit on chairs at the side of the stage when not ‘on stage’.
The show is mostly carried by the dialogue and music as there are no grand props or sets. The pace and witty dialogue is a bit hard to adjust to at first and makes it hard to understand fully what is going on, but soon you get used to the show’s fast paced nature and catch up with what’s going on in the plot. The plot itself is very simple with few big events, however the show focuses on the relationship between the Guy and Girl which is so powerfully portrayed by Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones.
Jones was amazing. She was hilarious and charming. She was a loveable and relatable yet simultaneously mysterious Girl.  She had such emotional range and portrayed the lighter, humorous aspects and the vulnerable, emotional depths of the show incredibly. She had a beautiful voice and amazing piano skills.
Similarly, Parsons was also incredible. He had a raw and powerful voice, which exemplified the nature of Guy. He played the aloofness and conversely intimate aspects really well. He also had incredible musical talent. His chemistry with Jones was also amaze. They tracked the changes from strangers meeting to people in love really fantastically and heart-wrenchingly (OTP much).
The rest of the cast were also incredible. They all maintained the accents really well throughout the show, which would have been hard as Irish and Czech accents are not the easiest. The cast had incredible voices and the harmonies and backing vocals were all top notch. Also their musical abilities were phenomenal. I mean being the orchestra and cast at once is a tough call, but they rose above expectations. Such incredible talent in one cast.
Overall, it was a simple yet beautiful and incredible production. The show itself is moving and emotional, and the cast were so talented, really making it an absolutely incredible show. It is definitely in my list of faves now, and I would see it again in an instant. I 100% recommend it.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Sixth time round and Wicked was as amazing and thrillifying as ever. I will start with the disclaimer that this is my all time favourite musical so I may be a bit biased, but I thought it was incredible.
Firstly, let’s start with Wicked as a musical itself. I love everything about it. The story with its central themes of friendship, love and accepting your identity and all the other themes that ring cliché, are explored deeply and sentimentally through a book and score that bring these tried themes new life. The book is fantastic – so cleverly written, every line is perfect and so astute so as to intertwine with the classic Wizard of Oz. The score is phenomenal – the ensemble pieces may not be traditionally catchy musical theatre songs but they are powerful and dynamic and vibrant. There are also incredible powerhouse numbers well placed throughout the rich score (aka all of Elphaba’s songs), which are just incredibly powerful and truly portray the emotional journey Elphaba undertakes. The lyrics are supremely clever and the orchestrations are magnificent. On top of the score and book, there is unique and impressive choreography that is so distinct that it immerses the audience in the peculiar world of Oz. And probably the best aspect of Wicked is the visual display. The set, costumes and lighting are all absolutely incredible. The set is so intricate and visually stunning and really carries the audience into this new world. The costumes are truly well deserving winners of the tony for best costume design, they are so strange and elaborate and detailed and just generally magnificent! The lighting ties both the set and the costumes together to create a visual masterpiece. So as you can tell by my high praises, I think Wicked is just generally a stunning production.
Now, on to the Australian production. For starters, all the elements described above were wonderfully executed so as to maintain the high standard expected of any production of Wicked. One interesting note was the sound design, which had more of a resonating from the stage focus than an overwhelming volume that encompasses the theatre, but I felt that it didn’t take away from the production it was just a unique aspect. There were a few minor miking issues near the beginning of the show, but this may have been as it was the last preview performance, and they were quickly fixed up. But apart from that, there was amazing lighting design, amazing costumes and amazing set as would be expected.
The cast is phenomenal. The ensemble was so tight and on cue in their movement and choreography, and vocally was united and powerful. They mastered every crescendo, every elongated vowel or consonant and every change in volume, absolutely mastering the nuances of the powerful score and producing a stunning sound.
 The two leading ladies were fabulous. Lucy Durack played a safe G(a)linda vocally. She has a very distinct sound as Glinda, which I don’t think demonstrates her true singing ability, which is more evident in songs were she is less ‘Galinda’ like For Good. However, Lucy absolutely nailed the acting. She was incredibly hilarious and had me laughing at moments I had never laughed at before. She makes the character loveable and charming, and really plays up her hilarious quirks. But she isn’t just comedic – she plays the transition to a more serious and hurt Glinda in act 2 really powerfully as well. Her and Jemma Rix had fantastic chemistry and together played the friendship arc with great emotional clarity.
Jemma Rix is an absolute powerhouse. Her voice is one of the most incredible things ever. She has such power and such volume yet also such control and clarity. She makes tricky vocal riffs seem flawless and belts out high notes effortlessly. She takes each song and owns it. Seriously, her vocal performance was probably what stole the show for me. She also acts the part really well. Particularly playing the difference between naïve and eager Elphaba at Shiz, and the transformation to the truly Wicked With of the West in No Good Deed. The standout of the whole show was Defying Gravity, which had my heart racing, and I was completely transfixed by Jemma’s absolute slaying of that song. She smashed it.
The other mains were also fabulous. Edward Grey as Boq acted really well and had a great voice. Similarly, Steve Danielsen as Fiyero sang, danced and acted fantastically. Emily Cascarino as Nessa was also really great and has good vocals and powerful acting. And Reg Livermore as the Wizard, plays a really folksy, charming Wizard who undergoes true emotional variation. They were all truly fab.
So basically, I absolutely adore this musical and this cast. The execution of all the production elements that make Wicked what it is was incredible. The cast did the show absolute justice and were phenomenal. I left loving the musical even more, which you wouldn’t think possible. It will be in Sydney for a while, so go check it out, it is absolutely worth it!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Sara Bareilles Little Black Dress Concert
Alright, so I’m going to try and write a constructive and considered review of Sara Bareilles’ Little Black Dress Concert last night, but honestly it will most likely become an emotional rant about her fabulousness so there’s your fair warning.
Okay so it was flippen incredible, and she was flippen incredible, and everything about it was amazing. But let me go into some details.
So first of all there was the support act, an Aussie; Ben Abraham. He came on, just him with his guitar, and his first song displayed the dynamics and amazing clarity of his voice. I absolutely loved his set – all his songs were filled with raw emotion that he conveyed so powerfully. His voice was absolutely incredible. And he had true stage presence, captivating and entertaining the audience in between his incredible songs through his hilarity and great personality. Overall it was an A+ performance, truly incredible.
Then came Sara – and I have no words. That’s a lie, I do have words, but basically she was amazing. Her voice is like, what even. It was absolutely amazing – so powerful, so clear, so beautiful and not one wrong note the whole night. She has such excellent control, she riffed incredibly and held belts forever and had amazing variation in tone. And apart from her voice, she was so entertaining; hilarious, witty, honest and open. She encouraged a rowdy crowd, and interacted so hilariously with us, particularly with some of the interesting things that were shouted out. And there were times when she was really vulnerable and open with the audience too. She was willing to go with whatever happened, like when she hit herself in the head with the microphone she handled it smoothly and hilariously.
All of the songs she performed were absolutely flawless. I loved the different versions of all the songs. Sara played the piano, the guitar, the ukelele and the bass guitar throughout the night – how is she so talented. Her band, well the two of them that were there, were incredible as well. Misty Boyce on piano and vocals was so fab, as was Steve Goold on percussion. Although it wasn’t the full band of the US tour, they carried it fantastically.  Some of the particular highlights of the set list were; the so raw and so dynamic Come Round Soon and the vulnerable yet empowering Hercules. Really, they were all incredible. Also Ben came back on to sing a few songs with Sara, which were more highlights as their voices blended together and complimented each other so well, and it was just beauteous. Sara’s endurance is amazing, because she ended on the most ridiculously hard song to sing – Brave, which was such an amazing way to end, and her high belting in that song had such power and control and didn’t falter once. Of course, she then encored with Gravity, which was also fantastic. I would have loved for more songs to be on the set list, particularly Little Black Dress, but considering I would love to listen to Sara sing for years, it’s probably unreasonable to expect more songs.
The location, City Recital Hall, was a really great venue – even though we were really far back we didn’t have obstructed view at all due to the layout of the venue. It also provided quite an intimate feeling. As I mentioned before, this was a stripped back version of her US tour, without the full band, or the full staging and set, but it really wasn’t needed because Sara’s amazing talent is truly enough. The audience was a bit tame; there wasn’t much dancing or singing, which could have made it more fun. The songs the audience did participate in, like singing in Love Song, and clapping in some others, were really enjoyable and it would have been nice to see a bit more of that.
After the show, we waited at stage door but unfortunately we didn’t get the opportunity to meet Sara, which I would have LOVED, but that’s totally cool and it just means I’ll have to see her again sometime soon!
So overall, she was absolutely incredible. The band was incredible, the support act was incredible, the venue was incredible and the set list was incredible. It was all absolutely incredible and a fabulous night.
Now please enjoy more pictures than normal because I want to share the joyous times of Sara with you all.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Jade Empress Discovers Australia
So last night I went to see the cabaret show ‘Jade Empress discovers Australia’ as part of the Sydney Fringe festival. It was really different to shows I usually see, but I had a really great time and it was a wonderful show.
It was essentially 45 minutes of Jade Empress’ stories of her experiences of coming to Australia when she was a young child, and her thoughts on where we’re at as a country and where we’re heading, told mainly through song but also through some personal anecdotes. I really enjoyed how the transition into the songs worked really seamlessly and the songs really matched the changing mood of the piece. Also she adapted a lot of Aussie classics, which was really well done so as to tell her story but engage the audience with some familiar classics. Mostly I liked the song choice, yet I felt like she had a great voice that could have been showcased more through picking songs that really showed off her vocal chops.  
It was a show of raw emotion, humour and political discussion. She took us through some of the things she has experienced, which led to a reflection on our country and where it stands in terms of multiculturalism, the refugee debate and poverty and inequality (some heavy stuff, hey!). I really liked the political aspect of the show as our views strongly aligned, and I really appreciated how she used her stage to talk about the things that mattered to her and for political advocacy. However, maybe the political nature of the show isn’t for everyone, but hey it is about her experiences of Australia, so you can deal with that.
I also loved the personal anecdotes and humour of the show. I felt there could have been more comedic elements as that really balanced some of the deeper moments well. The show really showcased her amicable and friendly personality, and in such an intimate setting (oh yeah it was in an intimate setting by the way) I felt like I really got an insight into her life. I would have enjoyed it if there were more anecdotes along the way, particularly in the latter half of the show when she briefly shared her experiences at uni, as I really loved those moments of honesty and humour.
In terms of production elements, she used props, which I felt added to the audience’s engagement and were a nice touch, but also could have gone without them, so no strong opinion on those. Due to the limitations of her venue, she projected pictures onto a sidewall, which kind of distracted from the flow of the piece and could have been better if they were on stage, but that’s not really a big issue. And she had simple, but effective lighting choices to really mark the changes in mood.
Overall I had a really great time. It was an engaging, and perfect-length, show that captivated, informed and entertained. She’s got one night left at Sydney Fringe so check it out.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Red Bull Flying Bach
So tonight I went with my sister to see Red Bull’s Flying Bach event. Basically it was breakdancing to classical music (namely Bach), quite a concept really. I’m writing this as soon as I get home because otherwise I will forget, so sorry if my grammar/sentence structure/etc. is lacking. It is late and I am tired, but I will pull through for you; my adoring fans! Anyhoo, onto the review.
  So the execution of this bizarre concept was really simplistically, yet, well done. The staging was minimal, very few props, some interesting lighting and plain costumes. The wow factor of the show was the incredible dancing. Like I mean, for realz. These dancers were incredible – that upper body and core strength, man. I think they probably spent half the show upside down spinning. At times the music was very simple, mostly just the pianists (who were amazing!) playing some good ol’ Bach, although at times it was funk-ified with a bit of a remix – adding some beat to the Bach classics. But essentially: music + dancers = fantastic. The choreography was also incredible. After the first number, I thought they didn’t really have anywhere to go, ‘we’ve seen breakdancing to Bach, let’s go home’, but the choreography was so clever and distinct that each new scene had a different focus or style that matched the nuanced changes in the music. The choreography was really engaging and showed off the amazing skill of the dancers.
  There were some very odd moments of the show, mainly when there was some sort of ‘plot’. The plot was confusing at times and slightly disturbing at others, and although I assume it was there to engage the audience, I felt it was more of a hindrance to simply enjoying the dancing.  There was one ‘scene’ where a sheet was held up and some weird water effects and videos were projected on to it for a good five minutes, for no apparent purpose, which was rather confounding, although perhaps I just don’t appreciate the ‘artsy’ direction they were taking. The show also featured a ballet dancer who was great, yet for the token ballet dancer she seemed to lack amazing technique. She was very talented yet she wasn’t awe-inspiring, although this could have been because she mostly appeared in the weird plot moments of the show. There was also some great partner work within the piece, yet it also often occurred during odd scenes, which detracted from the pure skill and amazingness of the dancers as I was trying to work out what was going on half the time.
  After another odd video projection, the entire cast returned for an incredible group piece for the final number that included some more amazing tricks and also some intricate, impressive group choreography, which showcased all the fantastic elements of the show. Overall, I left feeling in awe of the amazing talent of the dancers, the incredibly clever choreography, the skill of the pianists, and impressed with the successful execution of such a strange concept. It’s on for only a few more days so if you get the chance go check it out!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
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The cast of the Melbourne production of Once has been announced!
Tom Parsons (Guy), Madeleine Jones (Girl), Brent Hill (Svec), Amy Lehpamer (Reza), Keegan Joyce (Andre), Greg Stone (Da), Susan-ann Walker (Baruska), Anton Berezin (Bank Manager), Ben Brown (Emcee), Gerard Carroll (Eamon), Jane Patterson (Ex-Girlfriend), Colin Dean (Billy), Andrew Broadbent (Swing), Stefanie Jones (Swing), Paul Watson (Swing)
Visit the “Cast” page of the Melbourne website to check out bios, favorite musical memories, and more!
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
The Lion King
So recently I saw the highly acclaimed Australian production of The Lion King at the Capitol theatre. Many of my friends had seen it and loved it, and everyone knows it is an incredible show, so I had very high expectations. For me, the show, although amazing, wasn’t executed with as much energy and enthusiasm as I would have liked and thus some of my expectations fell flat.
The well-known opening, Circle of Life, was absolutely mind-blowing. The parade of intricate and elaborate costumes coupled with the powerful orchestrations made for an incredible experience. And add in the powerhouse that is Buyi Zama (Rafiki) and the opening number brings the house down. I almost cried. Legit, it was that incredible.
Following the incredible opening, I felt the show failed to reach the same heights of excitement and awe-inspiring moments. The costumes and scenic design continued to be incredible – so complexly designed yet simply creating the illusion of animals on stage. The orchestra was also amazing, and of course everybody loves the incredible score.
For me, I felt that too much of the first half was dependent on the performances of the children, which is a big responsibility on their shoulders. The kid performers did an incredible job, but it is hard to carry a show of such magnitude and I felt that came across a little.  I also felt that the incredible score fell a bit flat due to the lack of power and energy from the cast as whole, which was at times overpowered by the orchestra. Some of the numbers were incredible such as the amazing He Lives in You, which once again, almost had me in tears (due to the amazingness). Yet others failed to thrill.
In saying that, some of the cast were great, such as the aforementioned Zama who blew me away every time she opened her mouth – her voice is AMAZING. Cameron Goodall (Zazu) who also carries a lot of the show, was also incredible. Josh Quong Tart (Scar) was another standout. And Russell Dykstra (Pumbaa) and Jamie McGregor (Timon) were great and played upon the comedic aspects well.
Overall, I was slightly underwhelmed by the show and had been hoping to experience more of a mind-blowing performance from beginning to end. The Lion King is an incredible show, and this was a really great production, but just not as amazing as I had hoped. However, this could have simply been the night I attended or due to the overly high expectations I had, so I would still definitely recommend it.  Go and reminisce on your childhood (or you know, your child’s childhood if you’re in another generation) and enjoy the incredible visual displays and the standout performances. Go! Now!
  I’m off to watch some youtube videos of musical stars so you can go and do something more productive now. Adieu.
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theatreviewsyd · 10 years
Hey all, So sorry for no posts so far - one is in the works!
For now, enjoy the amazing Aussie cast of wicked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bt-iwUxGys.
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