Tag Archives: Elise McCann

MERRILY ME ROLL ALONG RETURNS TO THE HAYES

 

The Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along will recommence at the Hayes Theatre Co on Thursday 21 October. A thrilling and compelling Broadway fable about friendship, compromise and the high price of success, Merrily We Roll Along played its first preview in June before shuttering due to the Covid 19 lockdown in Sydney.

Resuming their lead roles will be Elise McCann (Matilda, Everybody Loves Lucy) as Mary Flynn, Ainsley Melham (Aladdin, Pippin) as Charley, and Andrew Coshan (Jersey Boys, MTC’s A View from the Bridge) as Franklin Shepard. Completing the cast are Georgina Hopson (Ragtime, West Side Story) as Gussie, Aaron Tsindos (Muriel’s Wedding, Shakespeare In Love) playing Joe, Tiarne Sue Yek as Beth, Evan Lever (Anything Goes, Muriel’s Wedding) playing Jerome, and Evan Lever (Six, American Idiot) in the roles of KT and Meg.

The creative team is led by the award winning team that gave the Hayes Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors, director Dean Bryant, choreographer Andrew Hallsworth and musical director Andrew Worboys. They are joined by set designer Jeremy Allen, costume designer Mel Liertz, lighting designer Veronique Bennett and sound designer Dave Bergman. Continue reading MERRILY ME ROLL ALONG RETURNS TO THE HAYES

THE LAST FIVE YEARS @ THE ENSEMBLE

The dramatic conceit behind this show is full of promise. Jamie and Cathy’s five years relationship, which included marriage, has come to an end. We get two different perspectives; Jamie takes up from when the couple first get together and winds forward until the crash whilst Cathy takes up from the heartbreak at the end of the relationship and winds back to the first giving of flowers

This way of playing with time can work very poignantly. Harold Pinter used the reversal of time to great effect in his classic play Betrayal where the play starts at the end of an affair and ends with the first kiss. That first kiss is one of those heart stopping moments. Continue reading THE LAST FIVE YEARS @ THE ENSEMBLE

BEYOND THE BARRICADE: IN SYDNEY AS PART OF A NATIONAL TOUR

After 19 years of touring UK and Europe, BEYOND THE BARRICADE got a standing ovation from some audience members at their State Theatre concert in Sydney as part of their current six weeks Australian tour.

The audience knew it was not going to be as spectacular as seeing the actual shows as the four singers (including a singer on keyboard) and three other musicians brought familiar tunes in concert mode. As Andy Reiss has explained “We don’t use backing tracks, so every musical note is played and sung live, giving a dynamic feel to the show.” There were times when the singers’ ‘performances’ could have been a bit more ‘dynamic’ too, particularly in the first half. Continue reading BEYOND THE BARRICADE: IN SYDNEY AS PART OF A NATIONAL TOUR

DOUG WRIGHT’S ‘I AM MY OWN WIFE’ @ THE OLD FITZ THEATRE

Ben Gerrard gives a stellar performance in a very exacting role. Production photography by Rupert Reid
Ben Gerrard gives a stellar performance in a very exacting role. Production photography by Rupert Reid

Theatre doesn’t get much better than this. The old Fitz theatre is currently home to a revival of American playwright Doug Wright’s play I AM MY OWN WIFE, first performed Off Broadway in 2003, and then went on to take the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the following year.

With painstaking research Wright’s play brings vividly to the stage a remarkable character by the name of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (1926-2000).

Charlotte was a flamboyant gay transsexual who lived her  colourful life out on the streets of Berlin. She wrote a best selling autobiography, and became a figure of great folklore in the great German  city.

In bringing his play together, Wright conducted several lengthy interviews with Charlotte from 1992 to 1994.  The playwright also took into account newspaper accounts of her life, Charlotte’s interactions with key people in her life, and he also sighted the controversial Stasi file held by the East German Secret Police. Continue reading DOUG WRIGHT’S ‘I AM MY OWN WIFE’ @ THE OLD FITZ THEATRE

MATILDA @ LYRIC THEATRE, THE STAR

SWINGS_PIC_BY_JAMES_MORGAN (1)
Production photography by James Morgan

One of Sydney’s major musicals for the year, MATILDA has impressively taken over the stage at the Lyric Theatre at the Star.

This is a bold and colourful, in parts cartoon like and then at other times quite dark and poignant production.

The large ensemble perform with enormous relish and gusto. It is a re-mounting of the multi-award winning Royal Shakespeare Company production currently playing in London and is based on the much loved Roald Dahl book with music by Tim Minchin.

The school is presented as Dotheboys Hall like, with old fashioned desks and huge towering Victorian front gates that the cast climb and rattle. The set also has piles of books and alphabet blocks. There is also a wonderful, exuberant swing sequence for the schoolchildren opening Act 2 When I Grow Up – some of the cast seem to fly out over the audience. Continue reading MATILDA @ LYRIC THEATRE, THE STAR

FALSETTOS

Tamblyn Henderson, Ben Hall, Elise McCann, Margi de Ferranti. Pic Helen White
The scourge of AIDS is poignantly featured in this Broadway masterpiece.
Tamblyn Henderson, Ben Hall, Elise McCann, Margi de Ferranti. Pic Helen White

A strong though flawed revival of the wonderful Tony award winning musical FALSETTOS-music and lyrics by William Finn and book by James Lapine and Finn- is currently playing the Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s pristine new home, the Eternity Playhouse.

With so many different variations in play within the modern family the scenario in place in FALSETTOS is as edgy and relevant as ever.  Marvin and Trina’s goal is to hold family life together and, in particular, the well being of their clever, adorable teenage son, Jason. Not such an easy task when they both move on to new partners,- Marvin falls in love with a guy called Whizzer, and later, Trina falls into the  arms of the  family psychiatrist, Mendel.

There is  much to love about this play,-the plot is involving throughout, the score is a treat with the thirty something songs all commentating superbly on the action, and most of all the unpretentious, erudite humour and resilience with which these characters, in Falsetto land, face the challenges that life throws their way not in ‘single file but in battalions’.

Colyer direction impressed and the simple, adept staging worked well. There was one reservation. The production would have been well served with a dialect coach. The way some of the Jewish expressions and Hebrew passages were delivered more embarrassing. A disappointment.

The actors were a powerhouse. Favourite performances were delivered  by Ben Hall as Whizzer, Katrina Retallick as Trina, Stephen Anderson as the frizzy (a great wig), eccentric psychiatrist, and Anthony Garcia, who showed plenty of promise in his assured performance as a teenager enmeshed in complex adult dramas.

Stephen Colyer’s production is playing the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst until Sunday 16th March.