Cinderella

We all love fairytales right? Well I do and maybe a little too much. The once upon a time, and they all lived happily ever after and finally a dream is a wish your heart makes. All of it I’m a sucker.

Roger and Hammersteins Cinderella is no exception and to paint a picture for you it’s like you’ve walked into the ball itself. From the gorgeous carriage in the foyer of Melbournes grand Regent Theatre all the way to the stunning costumes and breathtaking choreography. Everything is truly like out of a storybook.

And no fairytale is complete without a magical cast line up to help bring it all to life and my, does Roger and Hammersteins Cinderella have you covered on that one as well. I will just highlight a few as everyone was so perfectly cast, held there own and smashed it out of the park. It was actually so lovely to see everyone have their own moment to shine. First up is Shubshri Kandiah as Ella, I can’t think of anyone more perfect for the role. Shubshri’s kind hearted nature, flair and sweet vocals can be enjoyed all through out but for me particularly took flight in ‘In my own little corner” Ainsley Melham as Prince Topher is a match made in heaven… anyone would think he is destined to play princes. Ainsley’s comic timing (where needed) is a breath of fresh air and his ability to truly become a character is second to none. Not to mention his charming vocals the number ‘Ten minutes ago’ is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Then theres Silvie Paladino as the fairy godmother and my what a treat that is, talk about musical theatre royalty. Her talent and name alone speak for itself. Not to mention the flying.

Roger and Hammersteins Cinderella is a delight, a must see for all ages. But is only playing at Melbournes Regent Theatre until August.

You can secure your ticket to the ball at cinderellamusical.com.au

x Steph

An American In Paris

Gershwin’s music, The Australian Ballet, top acting, eye popping costumes and sets, a feel good musical and an old fashioned love story set in the most romantic city in the world. What more could you ask for?

Direct from Broadway ‘An American In Paris’ is far more than just another Broadway remake of a Hollywood movie. It is truly a divine piece of theatre. Thanks to Christopher Wheeldon’s enchanting choreography blended with the spectacular Australian Ballet and Australian musical theatre stars.

The incomparable cast are given a splendid space in which to create their ply their craft with Bob Crowley’s set and costumes. The stage is a rich, large and powerful character of the show.

On this particular night however I had the joy of witnessing Cameron Halmes and Dimity Azaury from the Australian Ballet as the two star crossed lovers Jerry and Lise, both of whom were utterly amazing together. With awe inspiring dancing and unparalleled voices, they were more than worthy of the applause they received. The spotlight though was generously shared with a number of other equally worthy and impressive performers such as Ashleigh Rubenach (Milo) Jonathan Hickey (Adam) and Sam Ward (Henri) which was a personal favourite of mine. I particularly appreciated the humor he constantly brought to the role and the show stopping number ‘I’ll build a stairway to paradise’

I love that Theatre is back in Melbourne. You will thoroughly enjoy this production.

An American In Paris is currently playing at the State Theatre (Arts Centre Melbourne) until April 23rd Tickets can be brought at https://americaninparis.com.au/tickets/melbourne/

x Steph

Happy End

There is nothing that pleases me more than seeing a piece of theatre that’s something completely new and refreshing and all together different. Victorian Operas production of ‘Happy End’ (based on a book by Elisabeth Hauptmann) a musical comedy about America 1919, Gangsters, the Salvation Army and an unlikely love story between a Chicago gangster and a Salvation Army lieutenant, was just the ticket.

Popping with Humour and Witt. Cleverly thrown in through out and brought to life in great comic timing by an outstanding group of actors all of whom can not be faulted in anyway shape or form. I mean the gangster accents alone were impressive let alone everything else that made it like you were truly living in those times.

Having said that if I had to pick two clear standouts which as I said is hard for me they were Adam Murphy as notorious gang leader Bill Cracker And Kurt Kansley as the Governor. Kurt shines in his portrayal of the Governor and delivers charm and humour in bucket loads. along with sparks of energy you can’t help but notice. I personally loved the way he lead the Bilbao song. Adam was in perfect form portraying Bill and had the perfect balance of tough and scary. I’ll forever be amazed at how effortlessly he becomes his characters.

All in all ‘Happy End’ is a great fun night out and I can’t recommend it highly enough. But be quick as it’s only playing until tomorrow night. Tickets can be brought from https://www.victorianopera.com.au/season/happy-end

x Steph

Into the Woods

Once upon a time in a far off kingdom… We all love fairy tales right, well I do. Especially when it’s a musical. I recently had the pleasure of seeing ‘Watch This’ production of Stephen Sondheims and James Lapines Into the Woods. A Musical Intertwining the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters wishes and quests. With the message ultimately being, be carful what you wish for.

‘Watch This’, adaption of this beloved musical was a delight to behold. Walking in you were immersed in the simple yet gorgeous set, stage design (set up in a round sort of style) by Sarah Tulloch. Which made for the atmosphere of waking into the woods.

Sodheims score is by no means easy and the cast of only 12 did a stella job, some even playing two characters, which is never an easy task, so one can help but admire them for how effortlessly they did that.

Cherine Peck’s Witch was a crowd pleaser and a clear stand out. Nailing the challenging role, big vocals and bringing the right amount of fright. I might even add at some points I felt like I was listening to Meryl Streep. Nick Simpson-Deeks Prince/Wolf was another stand out performance, his rich warm vocals were absolutely perfect for the prince, added with the comedic timing of the role and interaction with the audience was hilarious. His wolf on the other hand was spine chilling in all the right ways and demanding stage presence impressive.

Over all ‘Watch This’ production of Into the Woods made you beam with pride and be ever so thankful theatre is back. And remember no one is alone.

x Steph

Jagged little Pill

Based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album Jagged little pill, adapted for the stage by Diablo Cody. This jukebox style musical centres around the (flawless in appearance) Healy family and deals with a lot of heavy going issues that we today don’t really like talking about. Sexuality, sexual assult, pornography and drug addiction. So it’s not for the faint of heart.

Having said that though the show is extremely well delivered, big hearted, energetic and thought provoking. With an outpouring of emotion from the cast that will not disappoint.

The whole cast are simply incredible and each have their moment in the spotlight but it’s the likes of Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Jane Healy and Maggie Mckenna that steal the show with their powerful gutsy vocals and commanding stage presence. In particular Maggie’s number ‘You outta Know’ blows the house down. I’ve never seen anything like it… a standing ovation mid song.

So if your up for some real, open, raw and honest good theatre then Jagged little Pill is for you. And if there is one thing you’ll take away with you it is that we are all perfectly imperfect and we are all still learning, figuring this out on this journey called life.

To find out for information or to secure your tickets visit www.jaggedmusical.com

x Steph

Theatre’s back

Have you ever felt helpless or like a part of you was missing? Well for me that’s exactly how i’ve felt during this Melbourne lockdown and something i’ve really struggled with. Because let’s face it while helpful zoom meetings and the occasional walk with a friend don’t cut it in the long run.

Because we were made to give of ourselves and for community and connection with one-another. So having that taken away and also not being able to do what we love, what brings us life and gives us a sense of purpose (most of you will know that’s theatre for me) has been sucky to say the least. Let alone personally knowing people in the industry and seeing how it’s effected them etc

Fast forward several months and a rough journey of canceled and postponed shows with little to no support from our government, The theatre industry have suffered a lot. Something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Theatre is making it’s come back from November 12th and everyone says hallelujah am I right? I couldn’t be more thrilled to get back into it all and to be reunited with an industry and people that are dear to my heart.

What is my first show back I hear you ask… Well naturally being a big Disney lover as well it had to be a return trip to Frozen before it heads to Brisbane early next year. Then it will be on to Moulin Rouge at the newly revamped Regent Theatre. I’ve got lots of things in the pipe lines for next year to so make sure you stay tuned. And can I encourage all you theatre lovers out there to go see a show and support Melbourne’s rich theatre and live entertainment industry. You’ll never truly know just how much in times like this it means to actors and performers alike.

x Steph

Thoughts in lockdown

Let’s be honest we all have those days right. I mean we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. Well I experienced a roller coaster of different emotions yesterday, I’ve had my moments where i’ve tried snapping out of it and I put a smile on and feel good for a bit but overall i’m tired and worn out mentally and physically and just fed up with this so called way of living (it’s not living at all) I miss working, doing what I love and living freely. If your feeling flat, or any of the above emotions. Try not to let it get you down. I know I try to be a force of positivity on here, but I also need to be real and i’m not like that all the time. Especially not lately. I love you guys and I hope your all ok. Grateful for you all and hopefully we don’t have to much longer of this. Because I miss theatre so much

x Steph

Victorian Artists Benevolent Trust

Those that know me will know just how much the theatre, arts, entertainment industry and people mean to me. They are very dear/close to my heart. And as I’m sure some of you will be aware they have been and still are doing it extremely tough during this time of extreme uncertainty of no work, opening a show and having to cancel it rather suddenly and being the last to reopen. All the while complying with strict government covid safe guidelines and still not getting any support to sustain doing what they love.

It has broken my heart seeing this happen and so I’ve decided to start a go fund me to raise money for the Victorian Artists Benevolent Trust a non for profit organisation that helps actors during times such as these. Every little bit helps and I hope you’ll consider giving back to an industry that gives so much. Together we can make a difference and help this industry come back bigger and stronger.

You can find the go fund me link below

x Steph

Let the storm rage on

Put me in a room full of all things Disney magic and theatre and you’ve pretty much sold me already. And that couldn’t be truer of Disney’s broadway musical Frozen. Knowing the rough beginning the production had opening here in Melbourne and the uncertain times we are living in. I must count myself extremely blessed to have witnessed such a spectacle and on opening night of all things. It was magical and for a sweet moment nothing else mattered only the joy and rush of Disney magic I found myself being swept up in. It’s definitely true that Melbourne has never needed a musical like Frozen more.

From the very beginning the show does what Theatre does best, immerse you in another world. The whole show is visually eye popping to say the least but it’s the scenic designs of Arendelle and it’s surrounds ,combined with the stunning 363 costumes (Fun fact Elsa’s ice dress has more than 18,000 Swarovski Crystals hand sewn into it) by Christopher Oram with the help of special effects aka Disney magic by Jeremy Chernick that truly soar all throughout. Having said that the puppet designs for Olaf and Sven in question are equally impressive, all thanks to Michael Curry.

And what musical isn’t complete without a spectacular cast? That of which Frozen has plenty of. Jemma Rix as Elsa and Courtney Monsma as Anna clearly had amazing on stage chemistry and brought the sisters story to life in such a deep, meaningful and passionate way. Jemma shines as Elsa and brings just the right seriousness and quiet dignity to the role but it’s her powerhouse vocals in the show stopping numbers like “let it go” that bring the house down. But Courtney as Anna is a match made in heaven and a true delight with her playful attitude, bubbly energy and big beaming smile. It’s easy to see why Courtney captures Anna’s unwavering positivity that others fell in love with in the film so well. The shared role of the younger child versions of the sisters who on this particular night were played by Stella Partridge and Isobel Lauber blew me away with there talent, stamina and ability at only 8-10 years of age. Stella who plays young Anna in particular was adorable and had the audience in fits of laughter at several points. Crowd favourite Olaf the loveable and uncomplicated snowman, was very skilfully played by Matt Lee .To bring Olaf to life Matt is tasked with manning an expressive rod puppet while acting, singing and dancing. It doesn’t look like an easy task and Matt doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to steal the show especially during his big number “In summer” which has been updated to include a playful reference to frozen 2. Thomas McGuane is slick as the suspiciously perfect Prince Hans while Sean Sinclair provides the rough around the edges charm that made Kristoff such an unlikely new Disney hero. And might I add his singing and dancing are flawless. Honourable mentions go to Aljin Abella as Duke of Weselton and Blake Appelqvist as Oaken, who were fully committed to their supporting roles.

All in all Frozen is a delight to behold and once you see it for yourself you too will see why you’ll be giving a standing ovation with tears in your eyes and leaving the theatre with a big smile all at the same time.

Frozen is now playing at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, to secure your ticket or for more information visit http://www.frozenthemusical.com.au

x Steph

Shaun The Sheep’s Circus show

Adapted from one of Aardman’s (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit…) academy award winning claymation tv shows/movies. Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show is an exciting new circus, theatre production. Presented and performed by one of the world’s leading performance companies, Brisbane based Circa Contemporary Circus.

Successfully blending together animation, theatre, film and live acrobatics to present a show that is full of mischief and playful adventure. The show was of course aimed at young ones but featured tricks and flips worthy of gasps from an older audience too. A cast member performing aerial silks high above the stage to entrancing music was one of these moments the adults are sure to be captivated by. And might I add for theatregoers both young and old who might not of seen acrobats perform so close, it’s a great chance to be introduced to the magic of theatre.

All in all it’s easy to see why Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show is a must see family entertainment full of heart warming comedy delights and daredevil acrobatics. Proven perfect for that school holiday outing.

x Steph