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

How To Stage Door

Hello Everyone happy Saturday

How amazing is it too have theatre finally back in Melbourne! And with more shows to come. I can’t get over it really, It’s been long overdue.

Anyway with that being said I thought I’d share my tips on stage dooming with you as I know some either don’t know how to go about it or for whatever reason are to shy and don’t know what to say or if they should say anything at all. So I hope encourages you.

  1. First and for first be your amazing self
  2. Always remember they are people just like you
  3. Encourage them and say what you enjoyed about the show. You’ll find it makes their day
  4. Approach them as a friend not a fan this helps makes meaningful and lasting connections
  5. If it helps connect with them on social media first before going to a show. It might help break the ice and help you feel less nervous
  6. If you feel so inclined gifts never go astray either
  7. Commemorate the special occasion with a happy snap
  8. And lastly remember your fully dressed without a smile

I hope these tips help and I can’t wait to hear from you

x Steph

Welcome to the rock

It has been 10 months if not more since theatre closed down here in Melbourne. And with the year we’ve all just had it’s easy for one to become, lets just say disappointed with the state of the world. But perhaps that’s why now more than ever, people need something like ‘Come From Away’.

An inspiring, uplifting and heartfelt true story of the goodness of humanity and how one small town in Gander (Newfoundland) in Canada, literally took in and cared for over 6,000 passengers from all over the world over five days. After numerous aeroplanes were diverted moments after the 9/11 terrorist attack that happened in New York.

The mostly Australian cast of only 12 are just a dream, beyond exceptionally talented and might I add perfectly cast. If you thought nailing the different dialects of Scottish welsh and American wasn’t hard enough. They also are on stage 24/7 with no intermission or break and play several characters with such grace and ease that blows you away. They create the entire world of Come From Away using only wooden chairs, quick costume changes and a centre stage revolve. One minute you are in a cabin of a aeroplane then the very next thing you know you are in a bar/tavern in Newfoundland. So in short there are no starring roles everyone bounces off one another and works together to get the story told.

Some people might not agree with this but another thing I thought was brilliantly executed and thought out was how the band was on stage and gelling with the cast and not in the pit below the stage as is usually the case in productions. In my opinion it gives a bit of extra oomph and hits the nail on the head.

When all is said and done its quite easy to see why Come From Away is the comedy theatres most successful musical.

Come From Away is playing at Melbournes comedy theatre for a limited encore season and must close March 14th. Tickets can be brought at Ticketmaster.com.au

x Steph

Why I’m Passionate about theatre

I quite often get asked… Steph what does theatre do for you? Why do you see a show several times? Go to stage door so much? Always message & encourage the performers? And are so passionate? Or what’s your favourite thing about theatre?

At times it can be a challenge to try to explain this to people I’m not going to lie. But the truth is I love everything about musical theatre (and no that’s not a cop out answer) I love everything from the people, music, beautiful venues and even the elaborate costumes and set designs. It all never seizes to intrigue/blow me away. There is just something so special about the whole theatre world. It’s like a big magnet that draws you in to this bubble that you fall in love with so much so that you never want to leave.

As for the other things, I generally see a show several times because there is so much to take in and I honestly get something new out of it each time I go. There’s always so much one can take away with them. And lastly I’m genuinely passionate about encouraging, uplifting others, treating others the way you’d like to be treated. But especially in this industry where people can be quick to judge or put down or just not bother to say the encouraging thing they feel (for whatever reason)

I want and strive to be a positive voice, influence and light, as our words quite literally have the power to make or break someones day. And in a industry that’s quite demanding, at times tough and where your constantly giving out. It’s nice to see a familiar face and be appreciated for what it is you do. Believe me it makes a world of difference in a performers day.

Can you relate to any of this? What is it that YOU love about theatre?

x Steph