Simba is back! He has returned to Pride Rock ! ( aka The Capitol Theatre ) . Bold ,bright and colourful , based on the Disney musical film and with help from Elton John and Tim Rice the production uses African designs ,rhythm and choreography to tell the dramatic story. Its plot is sort of Hamlet- ish – the young prince Simba must learn to overcome his guilt and grief and reclaim the throne from his evil , usurping uncle Scar and his hideous trio of hyena henchmen .Does he succeed ? Continue reading THE LION KING
Nearly a month ago I watched a rehearsal of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, the new musical based on the movie of the same name, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. With performances at that rehearsal by musical luminaries as Tony Sheldon, John Wood, Matt Hetherington and Amy Lehpamer, deftly directed by Roger Hodgman it was an exciting experience. On that occasion I interviewed Katrina Retallick and Matt Hethrington who both asserted that the rehearsals were such fun that it had to translate to an uproarious, laugh a minute experience for the audiences. Bold predictions all fulfilled and then some!
In what could best be described as an effervescent performance, (the metaphor of a glass of French champagne comes to mind – no make that a magnum), the audience was treated to a deliciously witty, quick succession of gags and musical numbers that positively fizzed on the palate and left one feeling sated. The humour was often tongue in cheek. For instance, as the set is struck through the wings, a hung over Muriel Eubanks, delightfully played by Anne Wood, asks:”Are these stairs moving?”
The tunes were catchy and the lyrics funny. Stand outs numbers were “What’s a Woman to Do?” and “Love is My Legs”. The energetic mischievous cast were matched by great direction from Roger Hodgman, a wonderful set and lighting, (even the lighting was mischievous!) Tony Sheldon, Matt Hetherington, Amy Lehpamer, John Wood and Katrina Retallick were hard to fault, except perhaps for John’s fairly ‘sus’ French accent – but even that was tongue in cheek, puns and all! The ensemble and orchestra were also very good.
When I asked Matt what he thought audiences would remember, he said “A great fun night.” Too true! Don’t miss this.
DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS is playing at the Theatre Royal until Sunday December 8. Bookings Ticketmaster or 1300723038.
It always works! Combine catchy songs, teenage love, lyrics that everyone in the audience knows and an infectious beat – and you have a sensational evening! In Australia we have had Johnny “O’Keefe – the Musical, Buddy Holly – the Musical and Peter Allen – the Boy from Oz, to mention a few, which successfully invoked this formula. You could go a hundred times and still want more!
GREASE is no different. From the moment disc jockey Vince Fontaine (aka Bert Newton) sets the 1950’s scene as the DJ, until the end when Sandy (Gretel Scarlett) turns into “The One that Danny Wants” the audience and the cast have a fun time. A few hours without the Global Financial Crisis or the collapse of the USA Debt Ceiling is a great tonic for the mind. Surprisingly perhaps, most of the audience were from 9 to 35 with only a sprinkling of Baby Boomers who first saw Harry Miller’s production in the 70’s.
The temptation to compare the stage production with the Travolta/Olivia movie will always be there, but this cast put their own stamp on it. We sat next to one of Australia’s emerging young musical stars, and he was constantly leaping to his feet, applauding the dancing of Rob Mills as Danny and marvelling at the incredible range of Gretel Scarlett’s voice.
There were plenty of audience participation segments, led by Principal Lynch (Val Lehman), which were enormous fun! She had the “boys” and “girls” in the audience singing along to “Summer Nights”, as she pointed to the lyrics on a whiteboard. There were big voices and shrieks of laughter all around!
The highlights of the evening were Todd McKinney as the Teen Angel singing “Beauty School Dropout” and the boys dancing in the shower room to ‘Those Magic Changes’. Rizzo (Lucy Maunder) singing “There Are Worse things I Could Do” was powerful and moving.
This does not rate as a show that you should see if you’ve nothing better to do. You must find time to see it, particularly if you are feeling a bit miserable about the outside world.
GREASE is playing the Lyric Theatre at the Star where it will run till the end of the year after which the show then moves to Melbourne.