Tag: theatre

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CABARET REVIEW: From Bourbon St to Broadway @ The Butterfly Club

From Wicked to Mary Poppins, she’s been behind some of the most iconic and vocally demanding roles in Melbourne’s amateur theatre scene; but this week Britni Leslie is offering audiences a new character that is just as entertaining and spirited as those she’s played before: Herself.

Leslie’s latest outing, From Bourbon St to Broadway, tells the “very true tale” of Leslie’s personal journey from her front porch in Alabama to Australia, with a substantial pit-stop in New York City. Sourcing from her own experiences the cabaret is guided by the motifs of following your dreams, falling in love and rising above with every part-time job, internet dating profile and Disney movie encountered along the way. Read more …

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THEATRE REVIEW: Monash Shakespeare Company’s “Twelfth Night”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The editorial staff at Radio Monash would like to make it clear that the writer of this article was involved, in some capacity, with the pre-production of the musical. Though we trust that this does not influence the writers judgement, the team at Radio Monash feels as though this statement is needed for the sake of transparency and proper ethics.

William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a classic tale of romance, scheming and mistaken identity. Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck, both assuming the other to be dead. Viola dresses up as a boy and falls in love with Duke Orsino, who is in love with Olivia, who, thinking she is a man, falls in love with Viola.

The Monash Shakespeare Company’s production of the bard’s story was brave and creative. While it had some truly hilarious moments of physical comedy, homage to the text felt lacking at times. Although ultimately entertaining, many aspects of the performance didn’t quite “fadge.”

One may think that the story of Twelfth Night is complicated enough as is, which is possibly why the slightly misguided choice to introduce the concept of time travel into the narrative just didn’t work. Aside from making a play which is already difficult to follow at best of times more complicated, the set itself was poorly designed. The large time machine in the centre of the stage took up a lot of space, rendering a large part of the small performance area unusable. Considering the time machine was only used three times throughout the show, the restrictions its presence imposed makes it difficult to justify. Read more …

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THEATRE REVIEW: Beaumaris Theatre’s “Avenue Q”

Remarkably unprepared I walked into the Beaumaris Theatre having not so much as googled the synopsis of “Avenue Q”. Billed as a twisted version of Sesame Street for adults, the show takes place in a street of the same name in which puppets, monsters and humans live together in harmony, more or less. Our central character Princeton, played by the incredible Josh Pratt, arrives on the street having recently completed his BA in English and at a point of cross-roads in his life unsure of where his life will take him. “Avenue Q” explores the life of your typical 20-something graduate entering the real world, a first look at real adulthood, navigating love, money and finding a purpose in life. The musical teaches us that sometimes life sucks, through plenty of painfully relatable misfortunes presented as humorous musical acts, puppetry and a hilarious script. Read more …

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REVIEW: Babirra’s “Mary Poppins”

Mary Poppins is perhaps one of the most iconic, yet simultaneously underrated musicals of our time. The story of a family who, despite appearances, are thoroughly unhappy and the magical nanny who brings them together is one that has touched the hearts of many people all over the world. It is the beauty and warming nature of the Banks’ journey as a family that forms the heart of the production, which Director Chris Bradtke has brought to life in Babirra’s first show of 2016 playing at the Whitehouse Centre this week.

When casting a character whose brief includes being “practically perfect” in every possible way, a number of challenges arise. However daunting the task, Babirra have managed to hit the goldmine with Stephanie John who provided a performance that effortlessly met the expectations set by such an iconic character. For the entirety of the show’s duration, John captured the perfect balance of sternness and charm that is so integral to Poppins’ personality. Vocally, John never showed any sign of fatigue or exhaustion and produced a performance reminiscent of Julie Andrews’ original portrayal. Angelo De Cata’s portrayal of Bert was a standout as well, though did seem a little inconsistent at times. There were a few short moments in the first act where De Cata struggled, however his infectious energy and heightened enthusiasm for the role did well to disguise any difficulties. Read more …

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REVIEW: MLOC’s Young Frankenstein

Based on the classic film of the same name, “Young Frankenstein” follows the story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein the American grandson of the infamous scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein who struggles escape the connotations of insanity that the world associates with his last name. On the occasion of his Grandfather’s death he is forced to leave his fiancé and students and travel to Transylvania where he succumbs to temptation to follow his family’s dangerous path and create a monster of his own.

As with most of Mel Brooks work, the quality of the script is something that’s always going to be fairly divisive among audiences. This is most apparent in regards to the show’s humour which due to its pun-y and often taboo nature was either going to (as the promotional material promises) “leave you in stitches” or leave you with an unescapable bad taste in your mouth. Luckily, I fell into the first camp finding each and every gag side-splittingly funny despite cheesiness on mature-cheddar level. It really is truly refreshing to find a script that finds the perfect comedic balance: embracing its blatant disregard for courtesy but not being crude for the sake of it. Young Frankenstein refuses to hold itself back in fear of causing offense and unapologetically just has a bunch of fun. The narrative itself, however, could be better structured and is slightly inconsistent. Certain scenes, including a poorly paced “Hermit” encounter, feel slightly out of place and seem to favor gags over narrative drive. For the most part however, the script was utterly charming, brimful of heart and innuendo that ensured audiences were kept both invested and entertained.

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REVIEW: CLOC’s “Wicked”

Wicked is without question one of the musicals I’ve cherished the most throughout my time as a musical theatre enthusiast. I’ve seen it performed professionally in Melbourne four times, spent many hours suspended in awe over its soundtrack (and, to the detriment of those around me, often accompanying it with sounds a deaf person could generously label ‘singing’) as well as being well versed in its history and Ozmopiltan culture. Upon hearing the news that the rights for Wicked had been made available for amateur theatre companies in Australia last year, I was both incredibly excited and utterly mortified. Wicked is an incredible show, however it is one that instinctively I felt was too large a feat to tackle without the funding and advantages of professional theatre. Oh, how wrong I was. My involvement in amateur theatre is something that is quite recent, but even I was aware going into the show of CLOC’s impeccable record and reputation in producing shows that in the past have fooled audiences into believing they were of Broadway standards, simply due to the quality of their work. 2016’s production of “Wicked” not only prolongs that record, but even improves on it.

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REVIEW: Red Stitch’s “THE RIVER”

Though I am old with wandering, through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone, and kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass, and pluck till time and times are done,

The silver apples of the moon, the golden apples of the sun.

 

Having attended a number of Red Stitch productions in the past, I’ve almost come to expect that each time I make my way into the theatre I will be exposed to something truly special. Red Stitch has forged a reputation for itself as a company that stages performances that not only move the audience considerably, but also challenge them to rethink the role of theatre and more so the role of the audience to interpret and interact with theatre in various ways. I have no hesitation in saying that, once again, Red Stitch has honoured its own reputation with “The River”; a production written by Jez Butterworth and directed by John Kachoyan that reaches new levels of intimacy and sincerity for the company in presenting the story of a man and the woman he’s playing host to…whose relationship may not in truth be as sincere and unique as it first appears.

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REVIEW: Play Dead Theatre’s Production of “TAPE”

As an avid fan of independent theatre, and theatre in general, the launch of a new theatre company is always something that grabs my excitement. Launching their company with a production of Stephen Belber’s “TAPE”, Play Dead Theatre has made a confident and assertive entrance into the already thriving theatre scene of Victoria, delivering a performance that holds back no punches in tackling one of the most taboo topics plaguing our society and making it accessible through the perspectives of three very different, but equally fascinating characters.

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