Archive for April, 2014

The Boy With Tape on His Face

I’ve always held my highest admiration for really GOOD physical theatre. There’s something amazing about being able to wordlessly tell stories, create characters and make people actually feel something.

Off to the Forum Theatre in Melbourne to catch The Boy With Tape On His Face in his latest show More Tape. This brilliant Sam Wills is the brain behind the tape, and what a brain it is. To conjure the fantasy worlds with an enormous pile of odd props has to be seen to be believed.

Simply mentioning any aspect of this diverse show would be a disservice – the less you know the more you will enjoy this show. Highly, highly recommended.

Reception has almost arrived!

Get excited!

My brand new project Reception: The Musical is set to open in just a few days! I have been assistant director (to the amazing David Wicks) and choreographer for this beautiful new piece of theatre, opening at The Butterfly Club in Melbourne this Tuesday 29th.

Get prepared for fantastic toe-tapping original tunes about stationary, photocopiers and the phone-rapair man! This one woman show is charming as hell, so grab your tickets here. It’s the memo you don’t want to miss!

Martha Graham Dance Company

When Martha Graham passed away in 1991, the was concern that the company would either close completely, or become a tired, monotonous museum dance company, chained to performing only repertoire from the enormous range of works Graham created during her lifetime.

Fortunately, neither has occurred. While the Martha Graham Dance Company do still perform repertoire – featuring her distinctly recognizable technique, they pair their evenings with new work by new choreographers.

In the case of this season, performed on the main stage of the New York City Center, the company showcased Appalachian Spring (originally choreographed in 1944) and the ultra famous Rite of Spring (first performed in 1984).
In addition to these traditional works, which had the audience cheering for its clean lines and precision, the company also premiered a new work by popular Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.

Titled ‘Depak Ine’, the work was wild, exciting and energetic, the dancers throwing their limbs violently as they tangled with each other. Wearing simple flesh-coloured costumes, the primitive movements of the bodies under an extremely clever, stark lighting design could have proven to be a little too much of a shock for the audience – especially after watching sweet women bounce joyfully around in bustles and bonnets in Appalachian Spring. But the second the house curtain touched the floor of the stage, the deafening scream of approval was undeniable.
The Martha Graham Dance Company is anything but a museum piece. It is a living, breathing, powerful organization that showcases exceptional dancers performing exciting choreography. Old and new.

Aladdin

Disney has transformed the way we see musicals today. Creating the ‘mega-musical’ and forging its own brand of spectacular theatre. Its latest addition to 42nd street is Aladdin, opening in New York City in March.

This production is as zany, colorful and bombastic as you’d imagine, with no expensive spared for sheer spectacle. But unfortunately, that’s all it is. A spectacle. Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw has done an extraordinary job of packing in magic tricks, explosive choreography, and enough costume changes to make a make you dizzy, but the actual story seems to lack charm.

The script (particularly for the characters of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine) are simple and dull. It doesn’t allow for any real character development within the plot, giving us only a shallow, stereotypical rendering of these well-known characters. There is chance in a show like this to not just be a feast for the eyes to delight children and their parents, but to tell a powerful tale of friendship and love. In that respect, it seems to have an opportunity.

Nevertheless, the show rides on the wave of an incredibly virtuosic performance by James Monroe Iglehart, who embodies the schizophrenic genie with such power and joy, the audience had no choice but to fall in love with him. He is hysterical, and peppers the evening with pop-culture references and impressive physicality.

The addition of new songs to the popular score is extremely well done, particularly “Babkok, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim’, which includes a rousing dance routine in the Agrabah marketplace.

Overall, the show is genuinely funny and overwhelmingly visual. Everything you’d expect from Disney.

The Drowsy Chaperone

The newly-named Hayes theatre opened its doors with a gritty, sexy, and sensational interpretation of Sweet Charity. Directed by Dean Bryant, and starring Verity Hunt- Ballard, it was a hit.

Everyone can’t help but wonder, what do you do to follow it? After the enormous success of Sweet Charity, the Hayes Theatre brings in Squabbalogic, with their interpretation of the recent Broadway classic The Drowsy Chaperone.

The danger was that this 2nd production wouldn’t be able to break boundaries, or be as inventive with such a small space, or simply fall flat after the praise Charity was given. But the second The Drowsy Chaperone begins, with a stark ‘lights up’ on a well-worn New York apartment, all those fears are gone.

A man in a chair tells us about his favourite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, and plays the record for us to hear. Suddenly, the refrigerator opens and out steps a range of colourful characters from the musical. A happily engaged couple, a pair of cheeky gangsters, a Broadway wannabe… Inside a particularly brilliant set by Lauren Peters the man guides us through the show, as the zany musical unfolds around him. This production sparkles, with a strong cast (lead by director Jay James-Moody) delivering the razor-sharp script by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with such gusto, the audience were literally throwing their heads back with laughter.

The sensational cast, coupled with choreography by Monique Salle makes this production come alive with a tounge-in-cheek nod to the classic musicals of days gone by.

Sweet Charity was a hard act to follow. Squabbalogic nailed it.