Little Triangle’s THE WILD PARTY has all the quality we expect of this emerging musical theatre company but with an added extra. There’s evident hard work in the mounting of the production, energy and commitment, excellent musicality and obvious drive to deliver exciting and interesting work to Sydney audiences. What’s different in this offering is the channelling of all that excellence into a focused theatrically in the movement and in the telling of stories.
And the story at the heart of this 2000 musical, music and lyrics by Michael J LaChiusa and book by George C. Wolfe is an interesting one. Set in the twenties, Queenie is the ultimate flapper, carefree and wild, despite a disillusionment with her boyfriend Burrs. His bad boy was once a magnet, now an increasing worry as his behaviours worsen. Looking to escape, the party to end all parties is called for and a bunch of misfit miscreants assemble for gin and dancing and other assorted abandonments. Continue reading THE WILD PARTY: STYLISH MOVEMENT AND PRODUCTION FROM LITTLE TRIANGLE→
A LITTLE CABARET is a fundraiser for Little Triangle’s November production of Michael John LaChiusa & George C. Wolfe’s THE WILD PARTY and its short run at the Sydney Fringe is pretty much sold out. With good reason. There’s a commitment to excellence inside this little company that spills over the footlights in all their work. Staged or simply sung. Here we have seven gorgeous voices performing songs chosen with care to be interesting and unusual. Celebrating the unsung is the publicity tagline and what a great program it turns out to be.
It’s just a lovely night to share with lovers of musical theatre as some songs ooze with familiarity and others are go-home-and-google offerings. Directed by Alexander Andrews and accompanied by Conrad Hamill there are brief introductions “another woman sits at another bar alone” … “ A young wife has a secret.”Continue reading A LITTLE CABARET OF SELDOM HEARD TREASURES→
The two year process has not been easy. Relationships are strained and the pinpoint vision of the eponymous artist has blurred. Yet he creates, before our eyes, his masterpiece. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte arrives fully realised as the first act finale of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.
When I saw the original version on Broadway in 1984 my heart stopped at this sequence. Georges Seurat’s painting flew in as a scrim to be magically framed by staging. It was breathtaking and transformative. I’m not the only one who reveres the show either. A quick search on YouTube shows how many people still engage with and comment on those grainy videos of the original.
So, how do you reinvent a legend? If Sondheim can seamlessly transport one art form to another then surely an up-and-coming Theatre Company like Little Triangle can mount a fully realised reimagining even on an odd shaped stage in a revamped military shed on reclaimed swampland with a rich indigenous and community heritage as part of the Sydney Fringe. They sure can! And the painting is created with as much power and integrity as that seminal production.
The setting for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Everest Theatre is simple. Black risers upstage on the right. On the left, a large, bare branch artfully suspended parallel to the floor above a grand piano. But this is not indicative of stripped back production. There are rich and detailed aspects to this The University Of Sydney Musical Theatre Ensemble (MUSE) production of the Sondheim classic.
Rather, the branch is just a branch. Recognizable for what it is despite its lack of leaves. What lies under what the world sees, is the metaphor.
Fredrik Egerman, a middle aged lawyer, in Sweden in the early 1900s appears to have exactly what other men desire. But he has a reluctant 18 year old bride on his hands. Anne remains a virgin eleven months after their marriage and Fredrik is drawn back to a former lover, Desiree Armfield, formerly a noted actress who is reduced to playing small towns in rep. Continue reading A Little Night Music @ The Seymour Centre→
Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble’s (MUSE) production of Stephen Sondheim’s ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is performed by a group of talented and highly energetic and committed performers. The show is, in part, a social satire and a sharp critique of modern society, breaking the fourth wall, acknowledging itself as theatre and sometimes not following a logical, linear structure.
This Sondheim play is also partly a musical romantic comedy, complete with love songs and happily ever after scenarios for the hero, the heroine and even the villains.
The town in ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is in serious financial trouble and needs a miracle. The scheming Comptroller has a solution and supported by Mayoress Cora creates a water spouting rock and calls it a miracle. Yet when Nurse Fay Apple brings her ‘cookies’ from the local mental institution, the Cookie Jar, to cure themselves, chaos ensues as patients and residents become mixed up. From there the plot twists and turns till all is well – well almost – at the end. Continue reading Anyone Can Whistle→
Company C of Short+Sweet dance continues the exciting season with twelve more short works. Overall there was some very interesting work, but I found several of the pieces unclear and perhaps in need of more development and polishing .
The opening work however Joseph Simon’s ‘String ‘ was magnificent , a short black and white film where Simon’s is caught in string. He uses angular yet liquid movement to stretch and try and escape but is still tied. How does string affect the body? Facial expression and tiny subtle changes in skin texture and layers are important.