It is always exciting to see an Australian premiere of a musical, especially in the intimate chamber space that is Potts Point’s Hayes Theatre.
This is the case with the American work HALF TIME, book by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar with additional music by Marvin Hamlisc, and lyrics by Neil Benjamin. The show was based on the motion picture documentary ‘Gotta Dance’, directed by, written by and produced by Dori Bernstein.
HALF TIME tells the true story of ten ordinary seniors who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team. Only after making the cut do they learn that they won’t be dancing tap, salsa, or swing – instead they have to learn a dance style that is entirely foreign to them, hip-hop. Their head coach is Tara, played by Stefanie Jones, who in her late twenties is deemed too old to be part of the main dance team.Continue reading HALF TIME : STAYING FOREVER YOUNG @ THE HAYES→
It’s great to see the Hayes Theatre open again after the long Covid shutdown.
What a great way to start up again with the complete silliness, zaniness, of Mel Brooks.
Not content with making the hit comedy movie ‘Frankenstein’ in 1974 which was listed as the 13th funniest film ever made by the American Film Institute, in 2007 he transformed the movie into a stage musical which became a Broadway hit.
In YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN scientist Frederick Frankenstein (it’s pronounced Fronk-en-steen) – grandson of the infamous scientist – travels reluctantly to Transylvania where he has inherited his family estate. Before long, he finds himself back in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor, and with the help of hunchbacked sidekick Igor and yodelling lab assistant Inga, he brings to life a new creature to rival his grandfather’s. But this time, when the monster escapes – great hilarity ensues.
The show’s director Alexander Berlage in the last two active year of the theatre,has directed two hit productions; ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Cry-Baby’. With YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, the Australian premiere of this Mel Brooks show, it looks like now he was won the trifecta with this show already booking well.
Berlage continues his tradition of reworking classic old (comparatively speaking) shows and getting new things out of them.
Matthew Backer gives a great performance as Dr Frederick Frankenstein. Becker shines in all areas.
Nick Elyard makes for an alarming monster who does however show a sensitive side.
Other performances to catch the eye include Lucia Mastrantone as the decidedly odd housekeeper Frau Blucher and Shannon Dooley is outrageously good as Frederick ‘s wife Elizabeth who pledges her love to her husband yet will not let him touch her.
Isabel Hudson’s clever set alludes to modern art, and Mason Browne’s costumes are stunning.
The show ends on an appropriately emphatic note with the cast gathered across the front of the stage laughing their heads off as the curtain slowly descends on them even peeking through the curtain as it reaches the bottom.
Running time 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval.
Recommended, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is playing the Hayes Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point until Saturday 20 March 2021.
Performance times Mondays at 6.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Thursdays at 1pm and also matinees on Saturdays at 2pm.
A co-production with Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival in association with the Australian Theatre For Young People, Australian playwright Yve Blake’s FANGIRLS premiered at the Bille Brown Theatre in Brisbane back in September 2019 and then transferred the following month to our own Belvoir Street Theatre.
The Hayes Theatre Company is set to reopen next month with a performance of Young Frankenstein. Their Sydney Festival romp, Rewired : Musicals Reimagined was a showcase for the regular creatives and versatile vocal and acting talent connected with the Hayes.
Its fresh take on established musical theatre favourites sets our regular theatre-going sensibilities on fire. The amazing moments of musical transformation via huge makeovers are stunning new strains for us to cherish.
A revival of the 1974 Broadway hit musical ‘Pippin’ is the show lighting up the Lyric Theatre at the Star for the first time since the Covid 19 virus hit back in March this year.
In the show we follow the title character’s journey. When we first meet Pippin he is fresh out of university and is intent on making his way in the world and finding meaning and satisfaction. He tries different things which satisfy him for a little while and then he moves on, ever restless.
Where will he end up?! Who knows? The Leading Player thinks he does. He is the other lead character in the show, and in his head he has Pippin’s life all mapped out. Together with his performance troupe they interact with Pippin and play out scenes from his life. The Leading Player believes he is in control of everything, that is until Katherine comes along… Continue reading PIPPIN LIGHTS UP THE STAGE AT THE LYRIC→
A highlight of Sydney Festival 2021 is sure to Philip Quast’s show ‘Is This All Then?’. One of our finest ever music theatre performers Quast will take audiences on a captivating journey through the songs and stories of his incredible life.