Archive for July, 2013

The Song Company

Absolutely STUNNING voices sailed through St Bridget’s church in Dubbo last night when The Song Company came to town on their regional tour of Choral Acapella.

Performing a huge range of brilliant music, from ancient sacred hymns to hilarious political parody operas, and contemporary vocal soundscapes, the six voices blended with the kind of beauty that makes you melt.

Accompanying them was a large ‘community choir’ featuring about 50 local singers, with their only rehearsal the day before. It was a shame they weren’t more confident with the material, because due to their lack of confidence, the choir was surprisingly soft in volume.

However, under the direction of conductor Roland Peelman, the professionals showed how it was done, and they delighted the audience with extraordinary melodies from six of Australia’s most impressive masters of voice.

Front Page…

You know you’ve made it when….

Haha. Seriously though, it’s a real honour to be on the front cover of Dubbo’s Photo News this week, celebrating the launch of Australian band Elisha Bones brand new single, Guts, and the collaboration between the lead singer, Michael Bones and myself to create the music video.

We love the pic too!

Music Video launch

Guts has arrived! Australian band Elisha Bones has just released their new single Guts, along with the accompanying music video…featuring me!

The film was shot in London, choreographed and performed by myself (and a piece of string) and lit by the brilliant fashion photographer Konstantin Kochkin. Great song, great music video!

Netherlands Dance Theatre

Oh what a thrill it is to see the company of Netherlands Dance Theatre live. On my way back from London, I popped into the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House to catch NDT perform four beautiful works from their repertoire.

The first half of the night was devoted to Jiri Kylian. Sweet Dreams and Sarabache were performed with precision and clarity. These iconic works still hold a lot of their power, and are able to transport the audience to a dream-like state where the abstract is the norm.

After intermission, the mood lightened considerably to showcase two stunning works from the choreographic team of Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon. These works are a wonderful use of movement to create character, and tell stories. While they are still somewhat abstract, the audience can’t help but create a full narrative around the movement, which connects them emotionally. Sh-Boom has the audience giggling and cheering throughout, with it’s fun use of war-songs as it’s soundtrack, while Shoot The Moon (picured) takes your breathe away with it’s beautiful rotating set, allowing you to look into the lives of several dysfunctional relationships.

There’s no doubt about it. These dancers and the works that they perform are some of the best.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

In London again! So this time, I thought I’d head to the beautiful Theatre Royal on Drury Lane to see what all the fuss is about with a brand new musical of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

The show is currently in previews and is very well marketed all around the city, with the whole of London seeming to be looking forward to get their hands on a (golden) ticket to see the wonder and marvel of Willy Wonka’s magical kingdom of chocolate.

Nice things first. This show LOOKS incredible. The set and costume design from Mark Thompson is jaw-droppingly spectacular, and clearly the visuals where the majority of the money went in the creation of this new work. Particularly brilliant is the use of a huge television, which reveals different tiny sets inside, where we first meet the four other horrible ticket-holding children and their families.

To my utter disappointment, this show is nothing BUT visuals. The music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are embarrassingly unsophisticated:

Mum: “Did you wash up?”

Charlie: “Yes I did”

Mum: “That’s my Charlie, that’s my kid”

WHAT?! I couldn’t believe that pathetic rhymes had actually come from this team that brought us the sensational music of Hairspray. Even more, how this weak writing made it through the entire development process and onto the stage without anyone questioning it is beyond me.

Even more concerning was Director Sam Mendes’ total missed opportunity of telling a warm, heartfelt story. This is a stunningly beautiful, simple tale of a boy who has almost nothing, but is content and grateful. Mendes’ has somehow managed to make Charlie an annoying young boy who dreams of one day becoming a prince who will order his slaves to bring him chocolate everyday. Willy Wonka, played by Douglas Hodge, was frustrating in his lack of depth, disregarding nuance and sub-text to come across as rather boring.

The standout performance of the night was Kate Graham, playing the role of News Correspondent Cherry Sundae, who’s hilarious reports on each of the five Golden Ticket discoveries were clever and bright. Also Jasna Ivir as the yodelling mother of Augustus Gloop was a pleasure to watch.

While the production is a visual feast, and audiences will no doubt leave the theatre feeling wowed, I can’t help but hope that further development will take place before introducing the world to this new production. Right now, it’s an amazing magic show, with little charm.