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.
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.
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.
First and for first be your amazing self
Always remember they are people just like you
Encourage them and say what you enjoyed about the show. You’ll find it makes their day
Approach them as a friend not a fan this helps makes meaningful and lasting connections
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
If you feel so inclined gifts never go astray either
Commemorate the special occasion with a happy snap
And lastly remember your fully dressed without a smile
I hope these tips help and I can’t wait to hear from you
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
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?
One of the many beautiful things about theatre is the ability to bring people together from all walks of life and backgrounds. But dare I say it there needs to be so much more of this and also including more diversity because it’s sadly lacking here in Australia.
The Artists of Colour Initiative (AOC) newly founded by Tarik Frimpong (Madiba the musical, Aladdin and Angus is Mary Poppins Returns) is a scholarship program designed to provide financial assistance and industry support, to exceptionally talented theatre performers, based in Australia, that identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour.
For me personally I think this couldn’t of come at a better time and I’m so excited to see what unfolds and to be able to support/get behind this amazing program and artists.
So how to do I sign up and or get involved I hear you ask? that’s a very good question there are several ways you can support and or get involved so allow me to lay them out.
Ah Covid 19, nothing like being in lockdown and not being able to see theatre shows, connect with people or do what you love… said no-one ever.
Ok so I have to be real with you. I have had many teary moments ,of I guess grief that this industry that I love is suffering and has little/no support during this hard time. At times feeling helpless because I wish I could physically do something and help. Because lets face it if I’m not seeing and supporting a show then what I can do is limited . And mostly I just really miss theatre, the joy it brings and just the wonderful people in that industry.
As I have thought about it more and more ,I realised there is something I can do (we can do) and that is, write to our local mp and let them know we are concerned about the lack of financial support for the sector in the governments job keeper scheme. Because at present none of them qualify to receive it. You can find a template for the letter on the MEAA website and facebook page. You can donate to places like the arts well being collective, victorian actors benevolent trust, support act and so much more. Just because we aren’t seeing shows doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference to keep the arts alive.
So for those that don’t think the Arts matter much or that it’s just a glorified hobby, Here is why it actually matters a lot in our world and why it’s vital to speak up and support during this time and beyond.
The arts matter because they are the one thing on this planet with the power to change a person’s perspective, mood, assumptions, beliefs, and ideas; they can transform a place, represent a community, take you back in time, or move your forward into the future; help a person understand from where they came and where they are headed and grapple with the beauty and uncertainty of all that occurs in between–nothing else in the world has that kind of power and responsibility.” –
“The arts matter because they allow you to experience different ways of seeing and thinking about life.” –
“The arts matter because they are like a gift from one soul to another – whether it’s a joyful, simple gift like a child’s drawing, or a play or novel that makes you think and hurt and wish and feel, the arts help us understand ourselves and each other.” – “The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the most important things to us. It can turn strangers into old friends with lots in common.” –
Taking place in Northern England in 1984 during what was possibly their hardest time in history, the UK miners strike. Billy Elliot tells the story of a passionate 11 year old boy in a small miners village who discovers he prefers ballet instead of boxing. Though never truly supported by his father or brother. He is encouraged by a small town dance teacher who sees his potential. With the message being ever so relevant in todays society Billy Elliot addresses the issues of gender roles and the impact of stereotyping on our kids, reducing their potential to be successful, and destroying their future unless the family support whatever life path the child chooses to pursue.
Give it the old razzle dazzle… and shine
The choreography by Peter Darling is simply beautiful and for me, showed off during the scene where young Billy danced with his older self. The acting is also with out a doubt exceptional, guaranteed to bring a tear or two to your eyes.
Four boys share the role of Billy Elliot Omar Abiad (12, from Brisbane) River Mardesic (11, from Melbourne) Wade Neilson (13, from Newcastle) and Jamie Rogers (13, from Canberra) though on this particular night it was the likes of young River Mardesic making his professional debut that stole the show for me. He is so real you can hardly believe he is acting. His dancing is unbelievably good. Not only does he have the moves down pat, but he can communicate emotion through his movements – a rare gift. Lisa Sontag as Mrs Wilkinson was equally impressive. She is quirky, funny, full of energy and completely authentic.
All in all Billy Elliot is a crowd pleaser and a great night out
This funny, uplifting, and spectacular theatrical experience is now playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre for the next nine weeks. So hurry and grab your tickets from billyelliotthemusical.com.au now before they disappear.
Lisa Sontag – Mrs Wilkinson
River Mardesic – Billy Elliot
Oscar Mulcahy – Michael
River Mardesic and Aaron Smyth – Billy and older Billy
It’s always such a joy and privilege for me to go along to GJ Productions annual summer shows at the beautiful Fairfield Amphitheatre. And for those that have been along will no doubt agree with me when I say that GJ are a terrific small theatre company and are always constantly striving to well exceed their goals and improve on what already are great quality shows. And as a reviewer/theatre lover that honestly speaks volumes to me and makes me want to see their next production.
Having said that I loved the new additions of the personalised little fans to take in with you to keep cool and the wrist bands as you got your name ticked off to show that you had paid.
Gj’s latest Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing was certainly was certainly a great quality show. On what was a hot but relaxed Melbourne summers night Much Ado About Nothing closed with a bang. I don’t know about you? but I appreciate a good laugh so for me it was breath of fresh air to see how engaging and comical it was throughout but especially the scene where Benedict (James Martin) is hiding in the trees, improvising and showing great use of the outdoor space. In my personal opinion I also think an amazing cast makes sure to engage with the audience which Much Ado About Nothing had lots of and in a very humorous way.
The choreography was delightful and brilliantly executed especially in the masked ball scene. It was also lovely to hear some singing from Joanna Bakker (Borachio)
All in all I can not speak highly enough of GJ s summer Shakespeare plays and know without a doubt if you enjoy theatre and or Shakespeare then you’ll love this and are in for a real treat.
More shows, dates and info can be found at gjproductions.net
Well, two and a half years have passed since the birth of That Theatre Life. What started out as a small seed/hobby has turned into a passion and love that has only grown since my time in New York and experiencing the bright lights of Broadway for the first time. When I think about what has happened in the past two and a half years, I am filled with thankfulness and awe at the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve met. But at the same time, I’m not settling here, as I know there is so much more in store for me and my page and it’s only onwards and upwards from here. No matter how hard or frustrating it is at times I know I want to be involved so much more.
Sure this all comes with challenges and at times definitely isn’t as easy as it all looks. But without a shadow of a doubt, I LOVE what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Each show, experience and or event has been magical in their own way. I still pinch myself when I think about how truly lucky I’ve been and am.
The hardest but also most rewarding part though will always be the incredible, talented, genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Supporting and forming some sort of relationship with them (yes I always end up seeing a show more than once) I’m one that can’t help but get attached way too easily. So you can imagine that quite literally they all become like friends and family to me. I always burst with pride seeing them and hate saying goodbye and not knowing when I’ll end up seeing any of them again. And I think I’ll feel this way forever.
Having said all that, I am humbled and truly thankful for the countless opportunities given to me to simply be there for them. I am a better person because of it and I only hope there will be more in the future.
By no means all of them but a selection of my growing theatre family