The period characters in ASSASSINS, playing at the Sydney Opera House, are a pretty wild-eyed bunch who make meeting them in an abandoned sideshow late at night pretty unappealing. Led by John Wilkes Booth, who considers himself forefather of all American President assassination attempts, they are pretty evidently crazy. But the more modern characters, apart from one, look alarmingly normal and rational. That is … until a rifle is put in Harvey Lee Oswald’s hands towards the confronting ending of this show. ASSASSINS is Stephen Sondheim’s 1990 malignantly comic attack on the American dream where normalcy collides with obsession in a dark musical which is thoroughly entertaining yet ominous. (Book by John Weidman) Continue reading ASSASSINS AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE: DISTURBINGLY GOOD
This joyous, frothy operetta is a sheer delight. Robert Andrew Greene’s TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE is adapted from Charles Lecocq’s 1874 classic operetta Girofle-Girofla. Musically it blends some of the most famous and beautiful songs of the operetta repertoire (Strauss, Offenbach, Lehar, Kalman, Lecocq, Stolz ) yet at times it sounds like Mozart, Verdi or even Gilbert and Sullivan.
There is a lush Oriental minimal set design by Owen Phillips – looking as if it could be for The Abduction From The Seraglio or some such – and stunning costumes by Tim Chappel. Andrew Hallsworth’s choreography is inventive and the small cast of five perform with great comic timing.
Polished musical accompaniment was provided by pianist Robert Andrew Green and violinist Yuhki Mayne. Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA : TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE @ THE PLAYHOUSE
‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, proclaims a massive neon sign above the Merrigong theatre’s stage. Eight scarcely dressed dancers sit astride their chairs, provocatively beguiling audience members as they file into the room. “Come have a dance with me, I’ll show you a good time,” calls one woman, pursing her breasts together and stroking her chair. We are in the seedy Fandango Ballroom of downtown New York – negligées, knee-high boots and sexual innuendo aplenty.
SWEET CHARITY (Book by Neil Simon, Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Dorothy Coleman) completed the final days of an extensive tour on Saturday at Wollongong’s Merrigong Theatre, following a stint of shows at the Sydney Opera House. This is a remounting of the groundbreaking, award winning production that was such a success when it premiered at Darlinghurst’s Hayes Theatre.
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
Tucked away behind the elaborate door of 41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, is an intimate venue called Slide Lounge, host to cabaret, great food and exotic theatre. Slide is where ‘Broadway meets Burlesque’ and ‘Vaudeville and Vamp spectacularly collide’. You can book a full dinner or settle for very tasty $8 snacks – stuffed zucchini, mini spring rolls, pear and rocket salad. Great to see such a vibrant venue thriving.
They are currently hosting the Annual Slide Cabaret Festival with a different local/international act each night. I was fortunate to see Michael Griffiths on July 1st in his compassionate and humorous one man show SWEET DREAMS : SONGS BY ANNIE LENNOX. Griffiths has collaborated with writer/director Dean Bryant on their previous show IN VOGUE: SONGS OF MADONNA and now SWEET DREAMS. The upcoming third show of their trilogy on legendary female singer/songwriters will be worth catching.
Griffiths takes the audience into his confidence from the moment he glides onto his piano stool and breaks into the powerful Lennox song “Missionary Man”. He uses eye contact with both lounge and mezzanine and has us laughing at his wicked innuendos.
With a fabulous song list and extracts from Lennox’s rich tales of love lived and lost, we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster. With the uplifting songs, ’Love Is A Stranger’, ‘Sweet Dreams’ ‘There Must Be An Angel’ and ‘The Miracle of Love’ beautifully and individually arranged by Griffiths, spreading suitable joy, we are taken with equal intensity into Lennox’s darker writings, such as ‘Walking On Broken Glass’, ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ and a beautiful heart-wrenching version of ‘Diva’.
Having just finished a season of THE JERSEY BOYS, Michael Griffiths is a talent to watch out for. His professionalism is evident and his presentation of SWEET DREAMS, with his great voice and storytelling skills, cements his place in the cabaret and musical theatre world.
The final show in Slide’s current Cabaret Festival takes place tomorrow night- Thursday 4th July, when Bernadette Robinson, star of the highly acclaimed SONGS FOR NOBODIES, presents her brand new show, AN EVENING WITH BERNADETTE ROBINSON.