Tag Archives: Mitchell Butel

DEAD CAT BOUNCE : IMMERSIVE THEATRE @ THE STABLES

Josh Quong Tart_Dead Cat Bounce_ Photo Brett Boardman_

As if their twenty year age gap wasn’t difficult enough, Matilda’s is fighting for space in Gabe’s  life along with his constant companions, misery, writerly angst and booze. She’s not convinced he’s over with his ex girlfriend and publisher, Angela, who is used to picking up Gabe’s  pieces.

If Gabe wants to get sober he’ll have to abandon his image as the tragic, self destructive writer drinking his way to oblivion. And if Angela’s really trying to let Gabe go, like her partner Tony needs her to, she needs to say goodbye to Gabe’s wretched cat that she is looking after.

That is a lot that goes on in Mary Rachel Brown’s play and it’s mostly about  what goes on internally, in the hearts and minds of its  characters. Continue reading DEAD CAT BOUNCE : IMMERSIVE THEATRE @ THE STABLES

CANDIDE: MUSICALLY AND VOCALLY STUNNING

Production Images: Grant Leslie

This is a magnificent semi-staged production combing the forces of around 450 choristers of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, performers from Sydney’s Pacific Opera , 80 musicians from the Sydney Youth Orchestra and glittering stars from Opera Australia and musicals.It was directed by Mitchell Butel with a sure touch and with excellent phrasing ,timing and a wonderful comic touch .

Rarely performed ,the comic operetta originally premiered in 1956 and is adapted from a novella of the same name written by the Enlightenment-era philosopher Voltaire. It satirizes the predominant attitudes of Voltaire’s era , particularly those of the church and of monarchism , as well as class divisions and academe , has chocolate soldiers and question the meaning and purpose of life.

 The plot is perhaps tangled and overly rambling , possibly a little weak in construction but is still very relevant to day and the score itself is infectiously enchanting and ranges in style from tango, Broadway , Gilbert and Sullivan to high opera. Musical director and conductor Brett Weymark energetically and enthusiastically led the Orchestra and HUGE choir superbly – musically and vocally this was a stunning performance . Continue reading CANDIDE: MUSICALLY AND VOCALLY STUNNING

MARJORIE PRIME AT ENSEMBLE: HOW WE COPE WITH FEAR AND LOSS

This image: Lucy Bell, Richard Sydenham.
Featured image: Maggie Dence, Jake Speer and Lucy Bell.                                                                                  Production photos by Lisa Tomasetti

Today, as we look into the future, we are sharing the increasingly sophisticated technologies involving artificial intelligence and robots.  Could they be therapeutic?  Are they truly capable of equaling or out-smarting human intelligence?  Will they ever comprehend human emotion?

Talented American playwright, Jordan Harrison, wrote his play MARJORIE PRIME to question these ideas of artificial intelligence.  First produced in LA in 2014, it was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  The film adaptation premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, starring John Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins.  Harrison also wrote three seasons of the Netflix drama, ‘Orange Is The New Black’. Continue reading MARJORIE PRIME AT ENSEMBLE: HOW WE COPE WITH FEAR AND LOSS

AN ACT OF GOD @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE

Mitchell Butel and Amy Harris in An Act of God Production photos Phil Erbacher (c)

This was such a fun show. Make it an Act of Will to  get yourself over to the Eternity to see it.

American Emmy Award winning comedy writer David Javerbaum’s comedy is an anarchic, wild flight of fancy. Much loved Sydney theatre performer Mitchell Butel plays the part of God. This God has grown weary of the Ten Commandments, He  has come to correct mankind’s dire misconceptions about his teachings and delivers a radical re-write. Continue reading AN ACT OF GOD @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE

SYDNEY PHILHARMONIA CHOIRS 2018: 7 PRODUCTIONS, 12 PERFORMANCES

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs in action.
Photos by Keith Saunders.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs has this morning announced its 2018 Season comprising seven stunning productions, from the cornerstones of classical music to the best of Australian and international contemporary, and a centenary production of Bernstein’s Broadway hit, Candide.

At the heart of the program are three of the great 18th Century choral masterworks, which showcase the drive and ambition behind Australia’s leading choral performance company. These tour-de-force presentations bring their exemplary choristers together with leading Australian soloists and instrumentalists, on Sydney’s premier concert stages, conducted by Brett Weymark.

Composed over the course of 16 years at the pinnacle of his career, JS Bach’s Mass in B Minor is recognised as one of his greatest choral works. Weaving moments of overwhelming majesty with intimate solo arias, the Mass has been likened to a “cathedral in sound”, conveying every aspect of the genius that gives his music its timeless power.

For this epic production, presented on the Concert Hall stage at Sydney Opera House on Easter Saturday, the Choirs are joined by some of Australia’s most accomplished early music specialists, with the magnificent sound of the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra.

Joseph Haydn’s visionary masterpiece The Creation depicts the creation of the universe in music of sublime imagination and power, resplendent with classical optimism, grace and grandeur. Released simultaneously in both English and German in 1798, it was an overnight success and has remained a much-anticipated highlight of choral seasons ever since. Performed in the ornate splendour of Sydney Town Hall, The Creation brings the Choirs together with leading soloists led by award-winning soprano Taryn Fiebig, and for the first time, The Metropolitan Orchestra.

One of Handel’s most grand and gripping dramas, and the first of his great oratorios, Saul is a powerful exploration of love, loyalty and power, inspired by the relationship between Saul, first king of the Israelites, and his successor, David. Adapted from the Old Testament Book of Samuel, this is music of rare beauty and intensity, showcasing Handel’s instinct for vivid characterisation and profound psychological insights.

For Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Music Director, Brett Weymark, the highlight of the coming year’s program is the company’s production of Candide, presented in celebration of the centenary of one of the 20th Century’s most acclaimed and influential composers, Leonard Bernstein. Directed by Australian theatre powerhouse Mitchell Butel, with a stellar cast including Alexander Lewis in the title role, Bernstein’s Candide takes audiences on a wickedly tuneful romp through Voltaire’s classic, from its rollicking overture, through affectionate parodies of opera, Gilbert and Sullivan, tango and Broadway glitz. Candide is presented in collaboration with the acclaimed Pacific Opera and Sydney Youth Orchestra and conducted by Brett Weymark.

Presented for the first time in Sydney, Joby Talbot’s acclaimed contemporary masterpiece, Path of Miracles follows the great pilgrim trail of Camino de Santiago, drawing on the words of English poet Robert Dickinson to take audiences on an acapella journey to the edge of the known world. Composed for the virtuosic British choir, Tenebrae, the work premiered in London in July 2005, in the weeks following the city’s bombing, and became a healing balm for a shattered Sydney.

In 2018, Sydney Philharmonia’s young adult choir, VOX, renowned for their stunning acapella performances, will present one major production, reflecting their focus on modern music and a preference for short compositions that go together to form a whole program, over the longer form classics. Voyage of Voices is a collaboration with Estonia’s acclaimed E Stuudio Youth Choir, whose dynamic brand of contemporary acapella has already seen them perform at Carnegie Hall. This stunning international showcase sees each of the two choirs present contemporary works from their homelands. The VOX program be will conducted by Elizabeth Scott, E Stuudio by Külli Lokko.

It’s a Sydney Philharmonia Choirs tradition to end the year with a Christmas extravaganza, and this year is no exception with Carols at the House. It’s impossible to resist the magic of Christmas as the 500 voices of the combined Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Orchestra and special guests including acclaimed Australian opera star Teddy Tahu Rhodes light up the stage with your favourite Christmas carols, seasonal treats from stage and screen, and much more. This is a uniquely elegant Christmas celebration, on a symphonic scale, with a few surprises in the form of story-telling, sublime silliness and, of course, audience participation. Conductor Brett Weymark .

For more information about Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ 2018 Season visit:

http://www.sydneyphilharmonia.com.au/

Mitchell Butel Performs Killing Time @ The Hayes Theatre

Butel-inset

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.

Continue reading Mitchell Butel Performs Killing Time @ The Hayes Theatre

Emerald City

Ben Winspear and Kelly Paterniti in EMERALD CITY. Pic Brett Boardman
Ben Winspear and Kelly Paterniti in EMERALD CITY. Pic Brett Boardman

Given that the definitive play about Sydney’s shallowness was first performed in 1987, audiences may well question the contemporary relevance of David Williamson’s EMERALD CITY.

And also ask how this intimate Griffin Theatre Company production works on the small screen as it were, seeing as this play is about the lengths to which people will go to bag a harbour view made its sparkling debut oh so appropriately all those years ago at the Sydney Opera House.

EMERALD CITY pits Melbourne against Sydney and values against cash in the shape of fortysomething Colin Rogers (Mitchell Butel) and his publisher wife Kate (Lucy Bell) who make the move from Melbourne to Sydney, the city that gives good hedonism and where vicious cocktail parties are a necessary evil. Continue reading Emerald City

ROMEO AND JULIET (STC)

Dylan Young and Eryn Jean Norvill plays the star crossed lovers. Pic Lisa Tomasetti
Dylan Young and Eryn Jean Norvill plays the star crossed lovers. Pic Lisa Tomasetti

With Kip Williams’s current production of R and J audiences get  a bold, brash and powerful reworking of the Bard’s star crossed lovers tale.

Everything is big and dramatic and  vivid as…one suspect that he was more than a little encouraged by Bazmark’s film to do something similar in a theatrical vein.

Plenty of dollars have been spent on the set and staging,- David Fleischer- which features multiple revolves and ‘boxed’ sets, and the costumes- Anna Lise Phillips as Juliet’s mother comes out in a lavish, extreme pink dress- everywhere there is opulence…extravagance.

Alan John’s, together with Nate Edmonson’s, soundscape works in well with the narrative, mixing cutting edge music bytes with orchestral tones.

Williams’s production, with lighting man Nicholas Rayment’s work, is visually stunning. Williams’s staging is excellent. The scene where Juliet is at the deep back of the theatre in just the barest of lighting, as she waits for Romeo’s appearance is mesmeric.

As is Eamon Farren as he makes his dramatic entrance, full of bravado, that kicks off the second half.

As the star crossed lovers, Eryn Jean Norvill and Dylan Young shine brightly. During the show they have to make some direct audiences from the front centre of the stage and they do so confidently and with eloquent phrasing.

Others to stand out in the cast include some highly experienced performers,- Colin Moody as Juliet’s Dad, Julie Forsyth as her Nurse and Mitchell Butel as the Friar.

Highly recommended, this Sydney Theatre Company production runs at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House until November 2. It is a long night, running over two and a half hours, but worth every minute.