It’s truly incredible what one man can achieve with a touch of sequin, a lot of pizazz and a set of lungs that support such badass pipes for a whole two hours. Trevor Ashley is one of, if not, the best drag queen performer this divine country has ever had. And yes Dame Edna Everage that includes you.
Two young men explore the Tasmanian wilderness in their youth. Francis, a young engineer and his friend Peter, a geologist, have bright futures ahead of them. But when they stumble upon a tribe of outcasts deep in the bush, they enjoy a moment of curious joy before despair.
The Fantasticks has become the longest running production of any kind in the history of American theatre, no small feat, and yet I hadn’t heard of it. So noticing we were getting a production here in the wonderful Hayes Theatre I went to listen on Spotify. I wound up a good deal confused- what is going on, are they talking about fruit, who on earth is this fellow and what in bejeebus am I trying to remember in September? As it turns out The Fantasticks is the type of musical that you really need to actually see performed, for then it brings worth a whole wonderful story and, at least a little, more sense.
When a story is told and retold and adapted in so many different ways you know there’s something special about it. This is of course the case with Puccini’s La Bohème, which has been adapted into popular modern musical RENT and used as inspiration for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge just to name a few. In these instances there is something particularly special about finally being able to see the original work in its truest form.
I have wanted to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute for so long. The “happy” opera, full of playfulness, colour and magic, a welcome change from my more recent (brilliant) but tragic La Bohemes and Don Carlos’. And boy was everyone correct! The Magic Flute is absolutely the happy opera.
Whether your faith is a God, the community or a Seers shopping catalogue sometimes we don’t ask the higher powers for something but he gives it to us anyway. Was there a riot demanding the 1988 cult classic Heathers be revamped into a musical? Probably not. But Off-Broadway is one of those whimsical places that bring you not what you ask for but what you’d never think of, and now in Brisbane Heathers: The Musical is waiting for you.
Bright flashes beckoned us towards Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on Tuesday night as a myriad of celebrities sashayed along the red carpet. It was the opening night of Fiddler on the Roof and it seemed the entire city had come out to enjoy this long awaited spectacle. Long gowns brushed the floor, and champagne glasses clinked together as air kisses were received in greeting. The bell sounded and we made our way into the dimly lit theatre.
Circus Oz has become an Australian institution in its 37 years of performing around the world. One of the world’s first ‘contemporary’ circus’ - presenting shows without animals in more artistic settings – the group is partly responsible for many of the current crop of art circus troupes we’re familiar with today. But Wait.. There’s More sees the gang return to Australia after much of 2015 overseas and finally bringing their rock ‘n’ roll approach back to Sydney audiences.
Back in August 2003, We Will Rock You first opened in Australia at Melbourne's Regent Theatre. Written by Ben Elton (The Young Ones, Blackadder) and featuring no less than 24 songs from classic rock group Queen, the show was a huge success, with over 15 million theatregoers in 17 countries having since experienced the stage production. And now - from 30th April 2016 - the show is returning to Australia for a run of shows around the country. In advance of this, I sat down with writer Ben Elton to talk about the show's legacy, the changes we can expect, his plans for a new TV show in the UK and more...
Annually and without fail, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” sees a flavoursome reworking on a Sydney stage. Big or small, there is one. 2013 saw Belvoir Resident Director Simon Stone’s stripped and minimalistic rendition of the tragedy executed with a wealth of experience – Toby Schmitz playing the titular role, Robyn Nevin as Gertrude, John Gaden as Claudius, Emily Barclay as Ophelia and a series of contemporaries filling the gaps. 2014 saw a variety of drama students presenting on stage, notably Sydney University’s analytically complex reworking. 2015 brings new challenges in Sydney, two Hamlets running rampant on the same nights, with creatives exploring different thematic concerns.
Over the past year, QPAC’s Lyric Theatre has been transformed into the African Savannah, the merry old land of Oz, a 1930s luxury liner, and the venue of the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship. Now, in the final major production of 2015, audiences are transported to the streets of nineteenth century Paris, for the 30th anniversary tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables.
Red Stitch is one of Melbourne’s leading theatre company’s and the fact I had not yet seen one of their shows is unacceptable. Well, I must say, the standard has now been set. Jurassica was my first taste of what sort of work this company can produce and it blew me away.
The Wharf Revue celebrates 15 years of political silliness this year with a retrospective of sorts. Old sketches meet new ones in a celebration not only of the show, but also the past decade and a half of Australian politics. A time before #auspol was even a thing, and guys like Howard and Latham ruled the lay of the (political) landscape. Creators Jonathan Biggins, Phillip Scott and Drew Forsythe, (who took a year off last year) are back together with the extraordinary Amanda Bishop to recreate some of the highlights while also poking fun at the year that was.
The Tempest is John Bell’s final production for the company he founded 25 years ago, a fitting choice as the play is also attributed as Shakespeare’s final work. The Tempest seeks not to be a dark judgment on human character or a vast tragedy of ill-fated lovers though (as Shakespeare would often have), but instead tells an allegorical tale of magic, love and reconciliation, and the production that Bell Shakespeare weaves on stage is nothing less than “such stuff as dreams are made on”.
The idea of the interactive theatre experience is nothing new. From "whodunit" dinner parties to whatever it is people get up to at those Rocky Horror screenings, there's always been a market for those of us who want to feel a part of the action. Even sitting front row at a comedy show brings out the more daring individuals. But few interactive productions have gained the level of talk and acclaim that Sleep No More has in New York City since it was unveiled in 2011. Its unique take on the classic story of Macbeth has redefined the experience as an art form into itself, and set a new bar for the genre to follow. And last month, we got to experience the much talked about show for ourselves.