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.
The Rabbits, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan, is an extraordinary piece of work. It takes important historical events and recreates its message in a haunting picture book- reaching children and adults alike. It does not shy away from what it needs to say. The adaption of this work into this opera not only seeks to extend the book’s powerful message, but it manages to create an entirely new and equally extraordinary piece of work.
In a time where our discussion is stilted, mediated and increasingly online, community engagement has formed a central aspect of contemporary theatre. The facilities to congregate and share stories are rare, particularly in outer urban areas or those where many cultures co-exist separately. While Reclaim Australia toots it’s white power horn, there’s a deeper issue at play; one where the multicultural heart of our city is fractured, and the places to bond and share new customs is fraught with politics or simple fear.
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.
Gone are the days of the silent movies set in black and white where a comical gentleman enigmatically dances around the screen engaged in a slapstick routine. We now live in a world where sound, special effects, and computer graphics are what it takes to keep us enthralled. When I heard that The Pianist was coming to town I was excited to step back in time and enjoy a style now seemingly lost. This one man contemporary theatre show is performed by Thomas Monckton a Parisian trained circus performer who specialises in both clowning and mime.
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.
As I entered the Arts Centre’s State Theatre with a hoard of people old and young, I could imagine a time long past where the magicians, illusionists, and freaks of the world held centre stage as they shocked and tantalised their audiences worldwide. A time without t.v or internet, where the prime form of entertainment stood in front of you in all their grandeur. ‘The Illusionists 1903’ propelled us back into an era where magic and mystique hung thick in the air, and nothing was quite as it seemed.
Sport for Jove’s The Importance of Being Earnest opens with perhaps one of the most perfectly choreographed scenes in theatre. Staged within an elaborate house and performed to "Le amour est un oiseux rebelle" from George Bizet’s opera Carmen, we see Algernon Moncrieff (Aaron Tsindos) after a long night of revelry, emerge and move about his house in a daze. His butler Lane (James Lugton) masterfully pre-empts his every move, catching falling glasses and cleaning up around him, perfectly synchronised to the classic tune. And so begins the Oscar Wilde tale of fantasy and farce in Victorian England.
From do-re-mi to hills to brown paper packages to yodeling to being sixteen (going on seventeen) to climbing mountains to solving problems like Maria and all the way to that beautiful little flower Edelweiss, mention The Sound of Music to anyone and they’ll surely be respond by singing any one of these fabulous tunes. It is this love of the music in particular that makes the story translates so wonderfully well to the musical stage, particularly with this latest production which sparkles.
Having attended The Shakespeare in the Park Festival for several years I confess I was disappointed when we were guided to a modern stage instead of the Macarthur house at Bella Vista Farm. Part of what made this festival so unique was its clever and considered use of the farm house and despite the skillful set design, it was missing a certain authenticity. Perhaps the house couldn’t be used for restoration purposes, perhaps Baulkham Hills Shire Council wanted to get more use out of the eye-sore of a stage erected a mere stone’s throw away from the late 1700s homestead of John and Elizabeth Macarthur which forms an integral part of Australia’s European settler history – who knows.
One of the beautiful things about contemporary dance is its ability to transcend mediums not often explored by mainstream dance disciplines. However, when it comes down to it, there does need to be a message that isn’t clouded by obscurity and organic motive.
Brisbane Powerhouse has put on their Wonderland festival, an end of the year soiree that aims to please and pleasure you. As part of the 2015 Wonderland programme Brisbanites got to feast upon internationally acclaimed burlesque show Finucane and Smith’s Glory Box: LA REVOLUCIÓN. From high flying skills to messy spills this show is both dazzling and perturbing.