Playing during Mardi Gras and within walking distance of the Museum of Love and Protest, THE VIEW UpSTAIRS (Book, Music and Lyrics by Max Vernon) is set in a skilfully created seedy New Orleans drag bar of the 1970’s. Here the characters lead lives in fear of a persecution which new- to- the- 70’s Wes initially finds impossible to understand. But his awakening to the struggles past will waken in him resolutions toward the struggle both now and still to come. Continue reading A FLARE UP AT THE HAYES: THE VIEW UPSTAIRS
DARLINGHURST NIGHTS is a classic Australian musical which takes place on the streets around the Hayes Theatre itself, and the Hayes celebrates the show’s 30th anniversary with a new production from Helpmann Award-winning director Lee Lewis (The Bleeding Tree). Continue reading DARLINGHURST NIGHTS NOW ON AT THE HAYES
HIGH FIDELITY is playing the Hayes Theatre and spins the platters to give a very entertaining night out. Drawn from the movie of the same name from the book of the same name, it has a slightly overachieving pedigree. Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch, About A Boy) wrote the novel. The book of the musical is by David Lindsay-Abaire (Pultizer for Rabbit Hole), lyrics are by Amanda Green (Bring It On and the Jonathan Larson Award) and music by Tom Kitt (Pultitzer for Next to Normal). Why then did HIGH FIDELITY fail so spectacularly on The Great White Way? Continue reading HIGH FIDELITY SPINS A HIGHLY ENJOYABLE NIGHT OUT
Once upon a time there was a small intimate theatre that decided to put on a musical called BIG FISH and the show became a smash hit and just grew and grew…This captivating musical has a heart bigger than the Nullarbor Plains.
The show is presented as a ‘chamber opera’ in what the producers have called the ‘twelve chairs’ version. Under Tyran Parke’s refined, accomplished direction, and thrillingly staged, the brilliant cast bring this story to magnificent life.
The small orchestra as led by Luke Byrne are invisible behind the scenery – we never see them but they are terrific. The set – young Will’s bedroom with seashell ruffles at the back for the mermaid – allows for fluid scene and locale changes including the moving in and out of beds and tables etc. Continue reading BIG FISH : A MUST SEE @ THE HAYES
It was lights, cameras, action at the Hayes theatre for this very slick production of MACK AND MABEL, book by Michael Stewart and catchy music by Jerry Herman, directed by Trevor Ashley. Continue reading MACK AND MABEL @ THE HAYES THEATRE
I caught up with Mitchell Butel’s zippy cabaret show KILLING TIME last night and the three time Helpmann Award winner was in great form.
Mitchell walked up to the mic looking very sharp, wearing a bright red suit with a narrow black tie and sharp black shoes. After a few songs he took off his jacket and slung it to the side of the stage.
He mixed up his show well … lots of great songs, plenty of one liners, some quirky personal anecdotes and obsessions, and revealed his passion for quotations and poetry.
Damn Tyran Parke. His cabaret CHILDREN AND ART has disrupted my precious sleeping. Not just because it’s a brilliantly written show interpreted by a charismatic and talented star but because it lingers in the twilight, full appreciation of the complexity just slightly out of reach. As the light fades on the experience of seeing his show, the concepts curl into relief and his colours reach into memory demanding further consideration.
CHILDREN AND ART was developed for the Art Gallery of NSW in 2014. The title refers to the scene in Stephen Sondheim’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE where artist George Seurat discusses what it is that he believes that we leave behind after we pass on. Seurat states two things: Children and Art.
Tyran Parke and his 2 brothers are the focus of the story. The three are the children of a creative, photographer mother and an irrepressibly happy father. “My friends thought he was an alcoholic” says Tyran with a cheeky smile. Like their mother who died young, they are all creative and accomplished. But their story is a sad one at heart, though with an affirming ending … at this point. Funny and silly with pathos to spare, sibling love shines through Parke’s writing and storytelling. And he is a wonderful storyteller.
It is getting wintry in Sydney. On a Sunday afternoon in the ‘long, dark teatime of the soul’, the autumn leaves are floating down from a grey threatening sky. A perfect time to curl up with a familiar DVD or a well-thumbed novel. Or…..
Settle in with a hundred other music lovers to be transported to a Prohibition honky- tonk in the infamous Bowery section of early 1900s New York. There to raise a teacup of gin to the loved songs of Irving Berlin interpreted by the elusive Lucy Maunder. LUCY MAUNDER IN IRVING BERLIN: SONGS IN THE KEY OF BLACK was a delicious and warm afternoon’s entertainment.
Irving Berlin was a self-taught pianist who remained unable to read music despite rising from the Jewish ghetto of the New York’s Lower East side to be one of the great American songwriters. Responsible for so many well-known tunes, often written for the black keys because of his poor musicianship, his “God Bless America” is an unofficial national anthem. Continue reading Lucy Maunder in Irving Berlin: Songs in the Key of Black @ The Hayes
It’s doubtful that you will be able to score a ticket to BLOOD BROTHERS playing at the Hayes Theatre at the moment. Why? Because Sydney theatregoers recognize a good thing when they see it … and see it … and see it. I’ve gone twice and so have my friends. Some have managed to scrounge a third ticket from somewhere. What’s so good about this production? Nothing in particular. Just … the cast, the music, the band, the lighting, the audio mixing, the set, the costumes and the rousing applause of a thoroughly satisfied audience.
Mrs Johnstone (to be) is taken dancing by a fancy man whose chat line includes how much she looks like Marilyn Monroe. Marriage and children ensue and the dancing dwindles until Mr Johnstone scarpers with another Marilyn lookalike while his missus is up the duff with twins. Manipulated by the childless Mrs Lyons into handing over one of the twins and swearing on a bible to keep the bargain, Mrs Johnstone’s supposed to see the child every day as she chars for the Lyons. Until she gets the unceremonious boot and a few grotty Pound notes! Continue reading Blood Brothers @ The Hayes
Ask me about live theatre and I will happily talk your ear off. However, after seeing SWEET CHARITY tonight, Mr Dictionary seems to have deserted me. There are no useful words to describe how much I enjoyed this show. I think I will stick to the clichés and say … This show is smashing! With smashing performances that are smashing records and smashing expectations.
SWEET CHARITY began life in the mid-sixties when Bob Fosse conceived of resetting Frederico Fellini’s film, Night of Cabiria, in a Times Square Dance Hall. The original 1966 production took Broadway by storm garnering 9 Tony nominations. The film with Shirley MacLaine , also directed by Fosse, brought the show to a wider audience. Seemingly always in revival somewhere, SWEET CHARITY has an international life and is a favourite for small companies despite the setting and some of the subject matter. Continue reading Sweet Charity @ The Playhouse
Near the finale of NEXT TO NORMAL playing the Hayes Theatre, Diana says “It’s hard to tell the dancer from the dance.” Which is exactly how I feel about this production. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winning show with a wonderful performance at the centre and I was so emotional: angry, and sad and disturbed by the important issues that this play raises. I reflected, how were those emotions triggered? By the show or the production? Does it matter?
A normal suburban family is presented to us in the first few minutes of the opening. Diana (Natalie O’Donnell) is protecting her curfew breaking son, Gabe (Brent Trotter) from the attention of his father Dan (Anthony Harkin). Their teenage daughter, overachiever Natalie (Kiane O’Farrell) feels pretty irrelevant to this happy family. And we soon see why. The act of making sandwiches becomes a bread slice pathway into a disordered mind. Continue reading Next To Normal @ The Hayes
GUILTY PLEASURES indeed. A show about women who murder might be expected to have the feel of those lurid Lady Killer magazines for bored 1950s housewives. Instead, what we get from Angelique Cassimatis in her one-woman show is five case studies in the why. Admittedly it is a bit lurid as she doesn’t shy away from the stabbing, axe work, poison, shooting and clobbering with a champagne bottle of the how.
In episodic scenes we meet the women and they speak for themselves. Taken from the book by Josh Robson, the show is about five women who feel abused, cheated on or taken for granted enough to do away with one of the men in their life.
When we meet them, none of them seem capable of murder because they don’t see themselves that way. With killer smiles they cheerfully walk us through the events and emotions leading up to the deed. And then they stop … they cease to be. A new incarnation arises and we move to the next story. The audience walks blinking in the foyer not knowing where these creatures came from and where they are now. Curiosity is driver of this show and perhaps of society’s interest in female killers in general. Continue reading Guilty Pleasures @ The Hayes
The program for BEYOND DESIRE at the Hayes Theatre is styled as an Edwardian newspaper and what I have to report about the show is both good and bad. Firstly the bad news: I really did not take to this show … for me it was ‘Beyond Dire’. The good news: it’s highly possible that I am wrong. And why is this good news? Because I love the Hayes Theatre. They give new musicals a go, they encourage talent, and they never short-change their loyal audiences. They have longevity and resilience and I have seen some great stuff there this year. Plus … the wonderful Nancye Hayes is on the boards again.
BEYOND DESIRE is the name of booklet of poems written by the dead patriarch of the Pemberton family (Phillip Lowe), father to Anthony (Blake Bowden) and husband to Louise (Chloe Dallimore). Reporting of his demise is the headline story of the broadsheet program. “Man found Dead in London Hotel.” His sudden popping off is ruled a suicide but Anthony and his Oxford roommate, James (Ross Hannaford) believe that there is dirty work afoot.
LOVE BITES at the Hayes Theatre at the moment. Well, sometimes it bites, taking a large chunk out of your heart but at other times it just nibbles your ear and makes you love it. Toe tappers and heartbreak songs sit well together in this deceptively cabaret outing from Wooden Horse Productions.
Act One of the show opens with ‘Falling in Love’ and this is reprised in bookends at interval and the finale. The quartet (Kirby Burgess, Tyran Parke, Adele Parkinson and Shaun Rennie) make it very clear that there is to be no judgement about where the human heart will love. The final tableau of this intro gently reinforces to the audience that they are about to run the gamut of desire. Continue reading Love Bites at the Hayes Theatre
Sheer theatrical delight , this is a superb production of this rarely seen show.
I saw the brilliant London version ( it’s also been on Broadway ) and it has been performed in Melbourne with Geoffrey Rush as Man in Chair , but so far as I am aware Sydney has not had a chance to be enchanted by it previously .
Under the scintillating direction of Jay James-Moody , the superb ensemble glows .With its clever staging and terrific cast the production sparkles and delights. With its infectious rhythms , all-singing, all-dancing superb cast wonderful Squabbalogic have done it again !.
For musical theatre fans it is witty distillation of history and an analysis of theatre itself. The show is a loving parody of 1920’s musicals purporting to be a record of a November 1928 musical that comes alive in the’ Man in Chair’s enthusiastic imagination. Continue reading THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the iconic Sweet Charity, on stage and on film, in the late 1960s. The dance sequences are some of the most striking moving images ever seen, so one of the main challenges in staging the work today would be the treatment given to the re-creation of those scenes.
The current production at Hayes Theatre Co, helmed by director Dean Bryant and choreographer Andrew Hallsworth, straddles between faithfulness and innovation. There is an acknowledgment that times and audiences have changed, but also an awareness that the immortal is a hard act to follow.