Wrecking Ball and Vinyl Viagra – the little red company at Brisbane Powerhouse

Despite having theatrical friends up the wazoo and schlepping myself to every show in town, I have never actually met Naomi Price. More’s the pity, because after first seeing (and loving) her in the fabulous and successful cabaret, Rumour Has It at the Judith Wright Centre and now in her second pop diva offering – Wrecking Ball, at the Brisbane Powerhouse – I actually believe that if the universe deigned to bring us together, we would be firm friends. Can anyone say fan crush? Not only does the girl sing like the devil himself crafted her chords, she’s funny as a loon, shakes her booty like no one’s business and knocks back punter’s wine – right out of their hands. Oh my Lord, please be my friend Naomi? Continue reading Wrecking Ball and Vinyl Viagra – the little red company at Brisbane Powerhouse

Review: Guys and Dolls – Harvest Rain Theatre Company at Concert Hall QPAC

Images: Nick Morrissey

Guys and Dolls – what an absolute cracker of a show. I’ve seen it live several times, watched the (1955) movie with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando more times than is normal, and even played Miss Adelaide in my hometown’s local production. Needless to say I was thrilled to be headed to QPAC’s Concert Hall last Friday night for the opening of this play the first for Harvest Rain Theatre Company’s 2014 Season and also first full season as a professional musical theatre company.

The show is set in New York in the 1940s and most of the action takes place on and around Broadway (with a flying visit to Havana). The central plot of Guys and Dolls is a romance; it follows the story of gambler, lady’s man and ‘sinner’ Skye Masterson who, as a result of a misplaced bet, falls in love with Sarah Brown an earnest, uptight, Salvation Army missionary. The subplot includes another romance in a different key – that between Miss Adelaide a Broadway showgirl and another gambler, the hapless Nathan Detroit.

The show opened at the 46th street theatre in New York in 1950 and has enjoyed immense success ever since. The book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows is hilariously timeless, and the music/lyrics by Frank Loesser are an absolute delight. Revered classics such as Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat performed so joyfully in this production by Daryl Somers playing Nicely Nicely Johnson, and Luck Be a Lady are, of course, remarkable, but it is the lesser know numbers such as Sue Me, More I Cannot Wish You and Marry the Man Today that really show Loesser’s genius as a lyricist and composer. It’s a classic of the modern American musical theatre and is a great choice for Harvest Rain. Continue reading Review: Guys and Dolls – Harvest Rain Theatre Company at Concert Hall QPAC

Review: Blood Brothers – Harvest Rain Theatre Company at Cremorne Theatre, QPAC

Image: Photography by Trent Rouillon

Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers (1983) is supposedly based on Alexandre Dumas’ novella, The Corsican Brothers (1844). Each tells the tale of babies separated at birth; each spans decades, and there is love, betrayal, death – Blood Brothers does seem to have Dumas’ stamp of high drama – but, dig a little deeper into Russell’s own life, and you’ll find the seed of Blood Brothers was planted in his own childhood.

When the Olivier Award winning West End production of Blood Brothers closed in 2012, after 24 years, Mr. Russell gave a rare interview which shines some light on the matter. “I am very interested in nature versus nurture. When I look at myself or catch sight of a gesture I make and see my father … I also know I might have drunk myself to death at 30. Luckily, I was saved by my in-laws, who nurtured me.” He also speaks at length about the lack of trust he felt for his father, and his belief that the extensive amount of time spent with his mother, grandmother and aunts growing up enabled him to write convincing female characters. Continue reading Review: Blood Brothers – Harvest Rain Theatre Company at Cremorne Theatre, QPAC

Review: Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine: La Boite Indie and Tamarama Rock Surfers at Roundhouse Theatre

Image: Sarah Walker

Indie theatre – you just never know what you’re going to get, do you? I mean, you can grab a paper programme and try to guess as you sit yourself down next to some skinny-jean clad, high-haired hipster and a couple of girls dressed like your nanna, but really, anything could happen. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and sometimes it’s just spectacular.

The 2012 Melbourne Fringe and (the other) Greenroom’s award-winning Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine, directed by Scarlett McGlynn has been brewing since November 2011, when Tim Spencer conducted his first interview with “Not Nick,” a male sex worker. What followed was a series of interviews designed to reveal, challenge and ultimately be shown theatrically to “open up a dialogue around the inherently complex issue of sex work.” Continue reading Review: Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine: La Boite Indie and Tamarama Rock Surfers at Roundhouse Theatre

Review: Joy, Fear and Poetry: La Boite Indie & Natasha Budd at the Loft, QUT Kelvin Grove

Image: Adam Shambrook

I love kids. No really, I do. Despite currently enduring three of them younger than seven years old, I never seem to tire of their small moments of genius – moments that make you truly believe, if only just for a second, that they are really just short adults.

Joy, Fear & Poetry, written, directed and designed by Natasha Budd, a Brisbane writer, is a “collection of ideas, perspectives and experiences sourced from over 100 children and performed by a cast of 7-12 year olds.” It’s currently showing as part of La Boite’s indie festival, and features two different young casts, who explore the ideas of joy, fear, poetry, art and life in a 60-minute mish-mash of live performance and improvisation, pre-recorded voice-overs, projected script and light and sound production. On opening night I had the pleasure of seeing the wonderfully rainbow-coloured cast ‘A’: David Ishimwe, Hayley Billings, Darcine Abbas, Olivier Nsengiyumva, Kaito Nelson, Ashleigh Geissler and Laurianne Gateka. Continue reading Review: Joy, Fear and Poetry: La Boite Indie & Natasha Budd at the Loft, QUT Kelvin Grove

Review: The Empty City – The Human Company at Powerkids Festival @ Brisbane Powerhouse

The Empty City, directed by David Fenton, is based on the picture book of the same name by David Megarrity and Jonathon Oxlade. It explores an idea that has undoubtedly crossed the mind of every child: What if, for one day only, everyone disappeared and the city belonged to you? What would you do? Go on, you’ve already started picturing yourself eating and playing your way through a large department store, haven’t you? Jumping on all the beds, stuffing yourselves with gumballs, pouring your own McDonald’s thick-shake? Thought so.

Tom, our young protagonist, explores his options in the empty city between two projection screens that give the animated metropolis a 3D effect, allowing plenty of room for snazzy tricks and magical sleight of hand. Designer Jonathon Oxlade, lighting designer Freddy Komp, animator Luke Monsour and graphic designer Ray Pittman have done a fabulous job creating a city that is familiar yet mysteriously different; it could exist anywhere. The actors, Tom Oliver and Bridget Boyle collaborate inventively with their surroundings to tell Tom’s tale. Continue reading Review: The Empty City – The Human Company at Powerkids Festival @ Brisbane Powerhouse