Tuesday 29 May 2018

Oklahoma! May 26, 2018 ****

Music by Richard Rodgers; book & lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book based on the play, Green Grow The Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs
By The Production Company 
At State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until June 3, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert (on May 26, 2018) 
 Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online, Mon May 28, 2018, & in print May 29. KH
Anna O’Byrne, Simon Gleeson pic im Carrafa
Oklahoma! premiered in 1943, but it remains a masterful, Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘book musical’ with Richard Rodgers’ inspired score and Oscar Hammerstein II’s clever lyrics integrated into a romantic narrative about farmers and cowboys, set in 1906.

Chris Parker’s production is joyful and celebratory, with a fine orchestra, talented ensemble and two exceptional singers playing the romantic leads: Simon Gleeson as cowman, Curly, and Anna O’Byrne as Laurey, farm girl and Curly’s love interest.

There is a ripple of excitement at the start, when the audience hears Gleeson singing off-stage, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the exhilaration escalates when he delivers a spirited version of The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, with O’Byrne and Robyn Nevin as hilariously feisty Aunt Eller.

Gleeson’s resonant tones, extensive range and impeccable vocal control combine with his sassy, nuanced characterisation to create a charming, heroic Curly.

O’Byrne’s classical soprano is perfect for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s tunes, with her clear, beautiful and joyful delivery and enthralling upper register.

Gleeson and O’Byrne’s voices blend faultlessly in the playful duet, People Will Say We’re in Love, and their chemistry makes Curly and Laurey’s burgeoning but intense relationship believable.

Act Two is less consistent than the first, but it compensates for any bumps with the final, rousing chorus of Oklahoma!, with its stirring score and thrilling harmonies.

The onstage orchestra, under Guy Simpson, stylishly plays Rodgers’ soaring music, Isaac Lummis’s costumes capture the period with pastel, frilly petticoats partnered with plaid, denim and leather, while Amy Campbell’s choreography is vivacious, incorporating Agnes De Mille’s original ballet.
 Bobby Fox, Robyn Nevin-pic Tim Carrafa
Elise McCann is suitably flirty and mercurial as Ado Annie, singing I Cain’t Say No, while Bobby Fox is audacious as her love-addled beau, Will Parker, and commands the stage, dancin’ and singin’ in Kansas City.

Grant Piro is mischievous as saucy pedlar, Ali Hakim, and Ben Mingay’s rich baritone and menacing performance make the outcast Jud Fry villainous and frightening.

Oklahoma! depicts an America long-gone, but the consummate tunes, lyrics and style of Rodgers and Hammerstein live on in this rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ musical.

by Kate Herbert

Directed - Chris Parker
Musical Direction - Guy Simpson
Choreography - Amy Campbell (Original dances by Agnes De Mille)
Set - Dale Ferguson
Costumes Isaac Lummis
Lighting - Matt Scott

Simon Gleeson - Curly
Anna O’Byrne - Laurey
Elise McCann –Ado Annie Carnes
Bobby Fox – Will Parker
Robyn Nevin – Aunt Eller Murphy
Ben Mingay – Jud Fry
Richard Piper – Andrew Carnes
Grant Piro – Ali Hakim
Greg Stone – Ike Skidmore.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Barry Humphries, May 23, 2018 ****

The Man Behind the Mask
At Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, until May 26, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ****
 Also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Thus May 24, 2018 & later in print (Fri 25 May). KH

‘Don’t look at Barry. He’s drawing attention to himself,’ said Barry Humphries’ mother when he was a child.

Humphries made a wildly successful career of drawing attention to himself and, in Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask, rather than playing his infamous characters, he uses personal, sometimes revealing storytelling to allow his audience into the life and mind of the man himself.

The show is not gut-wrenching, laughter-inducing comedy but, rather, a relaxed, fireside chat with Humphries directly addressing the audience as he lounges in a leather armchair, strolls across the stage, or leans on the piano to reminisce with his long-term accompanist, Andrew Ross.

Humphries cuts a dashing figure, sporting a fuchsia jacket drawn across his ample girth, and, before telling stories of celebrity and success, he reveals funny or intimate snippets about his childhood in Camberwell, his critical, superior mother and generous dad, and his school days where he bullied and was bullied.

He spins yarns about his life as a university dropout and aspiring, but badly cast actor with the Union Theatre Repertory (now Melbourne Theatre Company), touring bumpy productions of Shakespeare and Noel Coward.

His stories are peppered with acerbic comments, witty repartee, and Australianisms that, sadly, have gone out of fashion, such as ‘You don’t know me from a bar of soap’.

Of course, fans are hanging out for a visit from the vain and volatile Dame Edna Everage, so Humphries delights fans by relating Edna’s evolution from dowdy, suburban Aussie woman into Housewife Superstar.

The highlights are video excerpts of Edna’s outrageous chat show, her gob-smacked guests, Royal Command performance and the unforgettable interview that dissolved Michael Parkinson into giggles.

Humphries tells tall tales and true of intrusive fans, and revisits – on video –other favourite characters: boozy Sir Les Patterson and poignant Sandy Stone.

Older Australians will recognise people, places, expressions and attitudes as Humphries talks about his past in Melbourne, but this show is a tribute to Humphries’ life and achievements and should appeal to fans of all ages.

by Kate Herbert

Tuesday 22 May 2018

BULLY VIRUS has a new venue for this last week of production!


BULLY VIRUS has a new venue for this last week of the production.
Carole Patullo - Geoff Wallis - Jenny Lovell - Pic by Joe Calleri

It is David Williamson Theatre at Melbourne Polytechnic, 35 St John St Windsor. 
(Don't go to High St entrance of Poly)

Shows are still the same days & times:

Wed 23 May at 6.30pm
Thus 24 May at 7.30pm
Fri 25 May at 7.30pm
Sat 26 May at 7.30pm 
Sun 27 May at 4.00pm 

It's been an emotional and difficult week for us, but more so for Liz Jones. and her La Mama staff.

The cast & crew of Bully Virus transferred the show to the Kathleen Syme Centre in Faraday St, near La Mama. 

We did two performances ion Saturday and Sunday in rooms with no theatre facilities, with borrowed chairs and scavenged costumes (the cast's costumes, their own clothes, were burnt) and props, and no lights (we used the domestic dimmers in the room), but we had music (instruments were not in the theatre!)

Both shows were strangely successful, with audience moved not only by the content and the performance, but also by the valiant efforts of the company to solider on after losing our venue and our gear.

Parking & Public Transport at David William Theatre
There is evidently parking in a staff car park after hours: High St and Thomas St.
There is also street parking freely available from 6.30pm, and 2 hr parking before that.

#6 tram goes to Poly High St from city. Train to Prahran station and exit the High St exit.


$30 full,; $20 concession; $10 student tics this week.


Wednesday 16 May 2018

Bully Virus photos -16-27 May 2018

Dress rehearsal photos for Bully Virus

*Geoff Wallis
*Carole Patullo
*Jenny Lovell

Photos by Joe Calleri
Jenny Lovell - Carole Patullo - Geoff Wallis - Pic by Joe Calleri

Jenny Lovell - Geoff Wallis  -Carole Patullo - Pic by Joe Calleri

Geoff Wallis  -Carole Patullo - Jenny Lovell - Pic by Joe Calleri

Carole Patullo - Pic by Joe Caller

Carole Patullo - Geoff Wallis - Jenny Lovell - Pic by Joe Calleri

Jenny Lovell - Pic by Joe Calleri

Saturday 12 May 2018

BULLY VIRUS by Kate Herbert 16 to 27 May, 2018

 Australia! Gold Medal Winner in Workplace Bullying!

BOOK NOW:  www.lamama.com.au or 03 9347 6142
Jenny Lovell  & Carole Patullo

Workplace bullying is the new virus and Australia is really good at it! We have one of the highest rates in the world!  Are we proud?

Bully Virus is satirical, moving Verbatim Theatre with actors telling real people’s stories about workplace bullying. Many victims escape to new jobs, most take no action against bullies, some seek compensation. However, bullying claims are frequently denied which compounds the victim’s indignity and anxiety.

Bully Virus does not try to tell everyone’s story or even the worst stories, but it shows that, despite myriad anti-bullying initiatives, workplace bullying is alive and well – and hurting workers.

Bully Virus is directed and written by Kate Herbert and performed by Jenny Lovell, Carole Patullo, Geoff Wallis and Anna Durham (music). The play is developed from interviews with real victims of bullying.

Kate Herbert is a Melbourne-based playwright, director, theatre reviewer, performer and lecturer in performing arts and writing.
Reviews of previous productions:
‘Love Is My Sin is a beautiful and complex layering of Shakespeare’s sonnets with a woman’s voice, a man’s voice and a cello’s voice...’ Joanna Bowen, Aussie Theatre.
‘...an engrossing war of words in iambic pentameter.’ Jim Schembri, Herald Sun (Love Is My Sin).

VENUE: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday St. Carlton
DATES/ TIMES:  16 to 27 May, Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 4pm
DURATION: Approx 75mins, no interval
TICKETS: $30 full, $20 concession
BOOKINGS; 03 9347 6142 or www.lamama.com.au
Sophia Constantine, Marketing and Communication La Mama
9347 6948 sophia@lamama.com.au

Thursday 3 May 2018

Hello Beautiful!, May 2, 2018 ***1/2

By Hannie Rayson, produced by Performing Lines
At Theatre Works, St Kilda, until May 6, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ***1/2

 Review also published n Herald Sun Arts online on Thurs May 3, 2018 and later in print (Fri 4 May?). KH

'Welcome to my life', says Hannie Rayson as she bursts enthusiastically onto the stage at the beginning of her one-woman storytelling show, Hello Beautiful!, based on her 2015 memoir of the same name.

Whether she is addressing the audience directly or reading stories selected from her book,  Rayson exudes warmth and a quiet humility tinged with gentle confidence that comes from a successful writing career.

Directed by Matthew Lutton, she reads her stories standing at a small lectern or seated at a desk littered with papers, while story titles and family photos are projected on a screen behind her.

Rayson wears her heart on her sleeve as she reveals her emotional and psychological quirks, and embarrassing or enlightening experiences during her evolution from psychology student at Melbourne Uni, to drama student then, eventually, into successful playwright.

Leaky is a series of witty observations about her childhood and the whispered secrets about ladies' internal plumbing and other secret women's business, while The Snake and the Shared House captures with acerbic wit, the chaos, foibles and grubbiness of life and love as a student in the 1970s in a shared house in Fitzroy.

Other stories address Rayson’s social and political views about feminism, work and the politics of the nation, while the story titled Arthur Boyd is a poignant tale not only of meeting the great artist himself, but also of a tragic turning point in her own life.

Drama School reveals with incisive observation, the quirks of studying theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts in the 1970s and the launch of Rayson’s career as a playwright when she and her colleagues formed the company, Theatreworks.

Hollywood is a hilarious insight into Rayson's experience writing a Broadway musical, and the title story, Hello Beautiful!, reveals a secret graffiti artist in Rayson's beloved Fitzroy.

This hour-long show will appeal to fans of Rayson’s writing and those who value simple, engaging storytelling about ordinary and extraordinary moments and familiar people and places.

By Kate Herbert