Archive for May, 2013

STRING

I made a new film! While in London, I met up with Konstantin Kochkin, who is an incredibly talented photographer. As well as doing a photo-shoot, we also decided to shoot a bit of film too. Once back in Australia, I’ve been able to edit the footage together. Click here to watch the film on Vimeo.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Had a wonderful time seeing Nice Work If You Can Get It last night, featuring the always-cute Matthew Broderick and sweet-voiced Jessie Mueller.

This show is just good ol’ fashioned fun. As far as jukebox musicals go, this one uses the song’s popularity to create dramatic irony for the audience, telling the story of play-boy bachelor Jimmy Winter who has the misfortune to fall in love with another woman the day after his wedding to America’s most popular performer of modern dance (“When she gets on stage, no one has a clue what she’s doing!”)

Bright, colourful, sweet and charming, Nice Work If You Can Get It is the kind of Broadway musical you dream about.

Play and Play

Always nice to sit in the Joyce Theatre, where the history of dance seems to give you a big hug.

I was there to catch the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company perform a triple bill of repertoire pieces. Featuring The Orion String Quartet, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the works being presented. While the performances were very strong and there are some beautiful dancers in the company, the choreography didn’t grab me. This was particularly my feelings towards Continuous Replay, which seems to be more of a costume parade with the dancers starting the work completely naked, then continuously running off stage to put on/change clothes. It seemed that conceptually the work wasn’t about the movement, and so it kind of got forgotten about. A shame.

The Play That Goes Wrong

A friend of mine and I chose to see The Play That Goes Wrong by Mischief Theatre last night, because the tag line of ‘a farcical murder mystery’ seemed too good to miss! We weren’t disappointed.

The play is being presented by an ‘amateur dramatic society’ who are committed to present a traditional Agatha Christie-style play. But doors that won’t open, cast members with concussion, actors that can’t remember their lines, a sound man who gets all his cues wrong, and misplaced props all seem to be conspiring against them.

This is one of those laugh-a-minute plays dripping with dramatic irony. The audience was absolutely roaring from start to finish. The physical comedy in particular was astounding.

From the lights coming up (just a few seconds before the ‘dead body’ gets into position) to the last scene when the entire wall falls over, it was a riot. Rehearsed to disastrous perfection, the seven actors in The Play That Goes Wrong are beyond brilliant.

We Will Rock you

Off to the Dominion Theatre last night to catch the smash hit We Will Rock You. There are no words to describe how much I disliked this show.

I was shocked. The performances were weak, the book felt underdeveloped and the show boasted an expensive LED set that featured some of the worst graphics I’ve ever come across.

I am extremely confused why this show has run for as long as it has. As a Queen fan, I left the theatre very very confused :/

Phedre

Bell Shakespeare Company is currently previewing their new production of Phedre, a tale of the gods and demi-gods of Athens, by French playwright Jean Racine (and translated by Ted Huges) So I thought I’d check it out :)

This contemporary production looks great, thanks to a very powerful set of a grand villa in decay from Anna Cordingley.

But the almost-Australian accents, extremely melodramatic vocals and VERY little blocking made the overall production slow, monotone and ultimately frustrating. Director Peter Evens has made some unique, but unnecessary choices and the production seems to fall a bit flat.

Thank goodness for Catherine McClements (pictured) in the title role, who seemed to be the only cast member to fully understand the style that was attempting to be achieved. She had a wonderful sense of realism to such a far fetched story, and brought warmth, humour and genuine panic to the role of a woman who falls in love with her step son, and makes the ill-adviced decision to tell him.

Sometimes Bell Shakespeare can really make some incredible theatre, but unfortunately this one wasn’t my favourite.

The Place Prize

It was a true privilege to be present for the ultimate finals of the 2013 Place Prize last night.

The Place Prize is a contemporary dance choreography competition. This year, 208 entires were whittled to 16 semi-finalists, and from those, four new works were commissioned to be performed in a 10-performance season, with the final night (last night) awarding the winner with 25,000 pounds!

Is that enough numbers for you?

For me, the stand out of the night was Eva Recacha’s brilliantly energetic The Wishing Well, a solo performed by the exquisite Martha Pasakopoulou (pictured) This 20 minute work had the wide-eyed fun of a child and the tragic beauty of a woman losing her dreams. An extraordinary piece of theatre.

Also wonderful was H2Dance with their cheeky and brutaly honest piece titled Duet. Hanna Gillgren and Heidi Rustgaard revealed some of things they discovered after 13 years collaborating, and recently undergoing couples therapy course.

The overall winner of The Place Prize was Riccaro Buscarini work for three women, Athletes.

A Chorus Line

It’s always a thrill for me to see this historical, ground-breaking (for the time) musical, and to see this West End revival in the equally historic London Palladium doubled the thrill…not to mention I was in the front row!

Lovingly restored by Bob Avian and Baayork Lee, this production brings us an exact replica of the 1973 hit, paying particular meticulous attention to the blocking and choreographic genius of Michael Bennet’s original production. But within that strict format, it was exciting to see the performers finding their own interpretation.

Casting this show must be a nightmare, because the roles are so demanding and specific, but this cast is absolutely knockout, with absolutely all of them packing a punch with their wonderful dancing, laugh-out-loud comic moments, and above all, delivering that powerful message. It was a joy.