Monday 29 October 2018

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Oct 28, 2018

NB: This short review will appear only on this blog. It is not written for, or published in Herald Sun. I've been having a break from reviewing. KH
Music & Lyrics by Steven Lutvak;  Book & Lyrics by Robert L Freedman; Based on novel by Roy Horniman; by The Production Company
At Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, until November 18, 2018
Reviewer: Kate Herbert; reviewed on Sun Oct 28, 2018

Alec Guinness’s inimitable virtuoso portrayal of multiple characters in the British comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, inspired me as child to choose a career in character comedy (Yes, I was doing that long before reviewing!).

This daffy, Tony award-winning musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, is the same story with a different title and, in a nod to Guinness’s performance, Mitchell Butel plays all eight, toffy members of the D’Ysquith family.

With consummate comic timing and versatile characterisation, Butel plays pompous aristocrats, a camp dandy, a blousy dame, an execrable actress, a lisping vicar and the refined head of the D’Ysquith family. 

Chris Ryan is in fine voice playing Monty Navarro, the penniless clerk who discovers he is ninth in line to be Lord D’Ysquith. But the D’Ysquiths dismiss Monty’s claim so he starts knocking off all eight heirs to the Earldom. Monty narrates his story from a jail cell. 

The show is a diverting night in the theatre, with plenty of laughs at the expense of these upper class Twits and lots of quirky character performances by Butel. 

The orchestra is tight and finely tuned, but the songs (music & lyrics, Steven Lutvak; book & lyrics, Robert L Freedman), despite their witty lyrics and smart rhymes, all start to sound the same in the end. 

This show is like Gilbert and Sullivan colliding with Oscar Wilde and an old fashioned Ealing comedy. It's fun and frivolous but it breaks no new ground in musical theatre.
by Kate Herbert

Mitchell Butel -all eight members D’Ysquith family
Chris Ryan -Monty Navarro
Nancye Hayes- Miss Shingle 
Alinta Chidzey – Sibella Hallward
Genevieve Kingsford – Phoebe D’Ysquith

Roger Hodgman director
Kellie Dickerson Musical Director
Isaac Lummis Costumes
Christine Smith Set
Matt Scott Lighting
Production Company Orchestra
Dana Jolly choreography

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Julius Caesar, Bell Shakespeare, July 21, 2018 ***

By William Shakespeare, by Bell Shakespeare Company
At Fairfax Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until July 28, 2018, then touring 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ***
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Wed July 25, 2018 and in print on Thurs July 26, 2018. KH
Kenneth Ransom, pic Prudence Upton
Citizens and politicians love powerful, popular leaders – until they don’t – and so it goes when opposing forces wrestle for power in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, set in Ancient Rome.

When Caesar (Kenneth Ransom) becomes too ambitious, former supporters, incited by conniving Cassius (Nick Simpson-Deeks), convince Caesar’s friend, Brutus (Ivan Donato), to conspire with them to assassinate Caesar on the Ides of March, a date about which a soothsayer warned Caesar.

Shakespeare’s play is an epic political thriller with slaughter, battles, treasonous plots and a political coup.

James Evans’ scaled-down, touring production is a novel interpretation of a power grab, but its severely edited script and grungy style cannot deliver Rome’s grandeur or the devastatingly vicious in-fighting of its formidable antagonists.

Wearing modern, casual clothes, the actors look more like competing street gangs or rebel tribes than noble Romans, and the masked rabble look absurd.

Had this edgy interpretation gone further – tougher street attitude, grittier violence – the production may have been more successful, with greater dramatic tension and danger. Evans’ stylistic choices often jar with Shakespeare’s soaring language.

Donato brings strength and truthfulness to Brutus’s struggle with his decision to murder Caesar, delivering Brutus’s monologues with clarity and conviction, while Ransom’s Caesar is vain, insecure and easily swayed by flattery.

Simpson-Deeks’ Cassius is suitably manipulative while convincing Brutus that their treachery is reasonable.

Mark Antony (Sara Zwangobani) is played here as a woman, and Antony’s renowned speech, ‘Friends, Romans and countrymen,’ is uncomfortably split before and after interval, although Antony’s rhetoric to rile citizens to mutiny against Caesar’s assassins is effective, despite Zwangobani’s mild delivery.

Caesar’s gruesome assassination is stylised but awkwardly choreographed and his bloodied corpse is never seen, while the deaths of Cassius and Brutus are so casual as to be dismissive and lacking tragedy or drama.

This production will not appeal to Shakespeare purists but may engage those unfamiliar with his plays with its stripped back, industrial grunginess.

by Kate Herbert

Director James Evans
Designer Anna Tregloan
Lighting Designer Verity Hampson
Composer & Sound Designer Nate Edmondson
Movement & Fight Director Scott Witt
Voice Coach Jess Chambers
Assistant Director Nasim Khosravi

Kenneth Ransom
Jemwel Danao
Ivan Donato
Maryanne Fonceca
Ghenoa Gela
Neveen Hanna
Emily Havea
Nick Simpson-Deeks
Russell Smith
Sara Zwangobani

Tuesday 24 July 2018

An Ideal Husband, (No review) opened July 20, 2018

By Oscar Wilde, by Melbourne Theatre Company
At Playhouse Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until August 18, 2018.

I didn't review this show but here is some info & a pic. KH

Director - Dean Bryant  
Dale Ferguson - Designer

Cast includes:
Gina Riley - Lady Markby
William McInnes - Earl of Caversham.
Brent Hill - Lord Goring
Simon Gleeson and - Sir Robert Chiltern
Zindzi Okenyo - Lady Chiltern

Friday 20 July 2018

Rocky Horror Show (no review)

Book, Music and Lyrics by Richard O’Brien
Produced by Howard Panter, John Frost and GWB Entertainment
At Her Majesty’s Theatre, until August 26, 2018

I couldn't review this show, but here's a couple of pics. KH


Melancholia, (no review)

Melancholia, from the film by Lars von Trier
Adapted for the stage by Declan Greene
By Malthouse Theatre.
At Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse, until August 12, 2018.

 I didn't review this show but here is a pic and some info. KH
Pic by Pia Johnson

DIRECTOR- Matthew Lutton
CAST / Alexander Artemov, Maude Davey, Steve Mouzakis, Eryn Jean Norvill, Liam Smith, Leeanna Walsman, Gareth Yuen


Lip Service (no review)

Lip Service, by John Misto
By Strange Duck Productions.
At Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until July 28, 2018.

I didn't review this show but here is a pic and some info. KH 
Amanda Muggleton, Linden Wilkinson, Septimus Caton - Pic Robert Catto

Lip Service is set during ten years of Helena Rubenstein's career in New York and deals, among other things, with her rivalry with Elizabeth Arden.

Amanda Muggleton - Helena Rubinstein
Linden Wilkinson-  Elizabeth Arden
Septimus Caton - Patrick “Irish” O’Higgins

Director - Jennifer Hagan


Coral Browne, by Maureen Sherlock (No review)

Coral Browne: This F***ing Lady! 
Written by Maureen Sherlock
By Prospect Productions
At fortyfivedownstairs, until July 22, 2018

I didn't review this show, but here is a pic and and some info. KH

Genevieve Mooy - CORAL BROWNE  Pic Rob George
Genevieve Mooy plays Coral Browne, an Australian actress who made it big in England and America. She even married Vincent Price! Browne is relatively unknown here despite having been born in Footscray.

Maureen Sherlock - writer / director  

Festen, by David Eldridge (no review)

Festen, by David Eldridge, by Play Dead Theatre
Rippon Lea Estate Ballroom, Elsternwick, until July 22, 2018.
 I did not review Festen, but here is a pic and cast/ creatives.
 Based  on an award-winning Danish film of the same name.
L-R Michael Mack, Johnathan Peck, Mark Yeates, Pic Sarah Walker  

Jennifer Sarah Dean - Director

Mark Yeates - Christian
Michael Mack - Michael
Adrian Mulraney - Helge 
Rosie Traynor - Else
Hester Van Der Vyver -Mette
Johnathan Peck  and others