Tag Archives: Stephen Sondheim

ASSASSINS AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE: DISTURBINGLY GOOD

David Campbell in ASSASSINS.
Production photos: Prudence Upton

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

NT LIVE: FOLLIES

This image: Janie Dee as Phyllis Rogers Stone in FOLLIES at the National Theatre (c) Johan Persson

Sondheim fans rejoice! This is a dazzling , very moving absolutely HUGE production with a cast of 37 and incredible costumes.

The original Broadway production of FOLLIES was in 1971. This is the first time FOLLIES has been staged by the National in the UK . Here in Australia , there have been a couple of concert versions – 1998 and 2016 but so far as I am aware no fully staged version .
Directed by Dominic Cooke FOLLIES has an absolutely stellar cast led by among others Imelda Staunton and Philip Quast. Maestro Nigel Lilley conducts a fabulous orchestra of 21 that is hidden from view but plays superbly. Continue reading NT LIVE: FOLLIES

SONDHEIM’S MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

 

From Little Triangle’s production of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

After debuting with a critically acclaimed sell-out production of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, Little Triangle will present
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG with emerging Australian performers this coming March (7-14th March 2018) for a limited 3-week season as part of The
Depot Theatre‘s 2018 line-up.

It’s our time, breathe it in; worlds to change and worlds to win
Franklin Shepard, a successful songwriter and movie producer in his late thirties, reviews his life, both professional and personal, especially his relationships with his best friends, Mary Flynn and Charley Kringas (his song-writing collaborator), and his two wives, Beth and Gussie.

The action moves backward in time from 1976 to 1957, from the disappointments of adulthood, to the hopeful idealism of youth.

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG has been ‘long regarded as one of the beautiful and damned misfits of the Sondheim canon’ and
yet remains ‘emotionally resonant’, bringing out the ‘sharpness in the showbiz satire’ following this ‘friendship under siege’
(Ben Brantley, The New York Times).

Sydney Arts Guide reviewed Little Triangle’s first production in 2017.

https://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/sunday-in-the-park-with-george-little-triangle-present-a-memorable-production/

For more information about Little Triangle and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG visit:

https://www.littletriangle.com.au/

BLACKTOWN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS INTO THE WOODS @ THE JOAN, PENRITH

ITW - Print-16

Inviting a reviewer to a preview is tricky. Anyone following the London Hamlet furore knows how horribly wrong it can go. People are exhausted, voices are tired, musicians are sore and techies are the walking dead. Writing a review about a preview is even trickier. What will naturally go wrong needs to be separated from what is endemically wrong?

And I hope I’m not wrong about this because I am about to write a glowing endorsement of Blacktown Theatre Company’s INTO THE WOODS at the Joan. I’m leaving out the plethora of things that the cast and crew are tweaking and adjusting and finishing off over the next 24 hours because the only thing a review reader needs to know is that this exuberant, colourful production is rich in concept and execution. I loved it warts and all. Continue reading BLACKTOWN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS INTO THE WOODS @ THE JOAN, PENRITH

A Little Night Music @ The Seymour Centre

Louise Flynn as Desiree and Stuart Bryan as Fredrik in the Sydney University Music Ensemble's production of Stephen Sondheim's classic, A LITTLE  NIGHT MUSIC
Inset pic- Louise Flynn as Desiree and Stuart Bryan as Fredrik . Featured pic- The cast of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC in the Sydney University Music Ensemble’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

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

INTO THE WOODS @ Rockdale Town Hall

Into The Woods- inset
Production photos by Andrew Croucher Photography

Rockdale Musical Society with a very well chosen cast, is revisiting this Sondheim classic, for the first time since its production in 1994.

How far would you go, to make your wish come true? INTO THE WOODS challenges our perceptions of what makes a fairy tale, by taking many of those well-remembered classic fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, Jack and the Beanstalk and many more) and sends them all into the woods, all at the same time. Continue reading INTO THE WOODS @ Rockdale Town Hall

Sweeney Todd @ The New

Mrs Lovett with the Ensemble. Pics by Bob Seary
Lucy Miller as Mrs Lovett with the Ensemble in SWEENEY TODD. Pics by Bob Seary

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd: he served a dark and vengeful God!” After a visit to the New Theatre’s website advertising their current production of Stephen Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD, with its graphic image of a throat being cut and a viewing of the teaser video with its huge blood splash finale, one might be forgiven for thinking a dark evening is in store. In lesser hands perhaps the show could float in gore like the 2007 movie. This production, however, focuses on an exploration of what it takes to make a monster. It seems that answer is … love!

Benjamin Barker arrives back on the docks of Victorian London. He is accompanied by his shipboard companion, Anthony Hope. Anthony knows this man as Sweeney Todd. He rescued Sweeney from a mysterious shipwreck and honours his vow not to ask questions even after a mysterious beggar woman confronts them both. Sweeney’s past is revealed as he revisits his old haunts and meets up with Mrs Lovett who recognises him at once as the man she adored from afar. She has even saved his silver razors and offers him her upstairs room as a barber shop. Continue reading Sweeney Todd @ The New

Anyone Can Whistle

 

Muse-minor
Production photos care of nickandnickphotography

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

O.C.DIVA

Hilary Cole shines in her one woman show O.C. DIVA at the Hayes Theatre
Hilary Cole shines in her one woman show O.C. DIVA at the Hayes Theatre

Since her arrival in Sydney last year talented young diva Hilary Cole has impressed theatre music afficianados with stand-out performances in the leading role of two productions, CARRIE and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, both by the highly regarded Squabbalogic Theatre Company.

In the last week of the CHAPERONE season, back in early April, the Hayes theatre offered her a three Sunday night spot, as the space had suddenly become free. Keen to further her career, Hilary jumped at the opportunity.

Continue reading O.C.DIVA

ASSASSINS

Second Image

Held up at glorious gunpoint between Miranda Musical Society’s previous show OKLAHOMA and the upcoming ANNIE comes a successful revival of Stephen Sondheim’s ASSASSINS. This show is a cavalcade of would-be killers and successful assassins from several eras of history. They taunt and help each other from an impossibly simultaneous present when the opening number sends them off in a carnival game to kill with guns of various descriptions.

As the eight assassins interact and react to their failed American Dreams they reveal a myriad of personal sensitivities, disorders, obsessions and excuses. All believe their only solution is to kill a president. This production’s faithful depiction of the show contains much humour as well as accuracy of accent and cultural predicament.

Continue reading ASSASSINS

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

The cast of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
The cast of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

Sondheim and musical theatre fans rejoice! And stampede now to the box office to catch this more than splendid production.

This is the first in a series of HD productions, WEST END THEATRE SERIES, direct from London, brought to us by Cinema Live and Digital theatre. Following a sold out run at the Mernier Chocolate Factory, this was filmed at the Harold Pinter Theatre during the production’s final performances.           Continue reading MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG