Baden Street Singers
Calendar, Choral, July 18, Music

Music: Seasons of Love

1 July @ Judith Cottier Theatre, Perth College ·
Presented by The Baden Street Singers ·

Join The Baden Street Singers and special guests as they take you on a journey through the seasons. With charming love songs, wintry choral pieces and heartwarming classics, this selection of captivating a cappella music will make you want to sing, dance and reminisce about seasons past. As your only chance to see the Baden Street Singers in concert before they compete nationally in Adelaide, Seasons of Love is not to be missed!

Three-time national gold medal-winning chorus The Baden Street Singers have enchanted audiences around Australia with their diverse repertoire and captivating performance style. This group combines the rich blend of high quality barbershop singing with the crispness of classical training. Seasons of Love will showcase the talent these dynamic young performers bring to the stage and the passion they all have for creating music together.

More info: www.facebook.com/events/320747761791711/
Email: info@thebadenstreetsingers.com

narrative threads
August 18, Calendar, July 18, June 18, Visual arts

Visual arts: Narrative Threads

30 June – 11 August @ The Gallery, Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, 3 Rocca Way, Wanneroo 6065 ·
Presented by City of Wanneroo ·

Narrative Threads explores place, history and identity. The artists involved are all women with an interest in history and place and how these relate to their own identity. Among them are collectors, re-users of other people’s discards, explorers of everyday life and domestic traditions; those who draw on family stories and memory; and migrants whose work investigates the divide between different landscapes and cultures.

The exhibition features artwork by Wendy Lugg, who has lived a lifetime in Western Australia, and invited artists Helena Bogucki, Trish Little, Elisa Markes-Young and Janie Matthews, who were all born elsewhere.

They come together to exhibit textiles, jewellery, installation and photography, alongside artefacts, tools and samples that give insight into their inspiration, ideas and processes.

The themes being explored by the artists closely align with the history of Wanneroo, which has strong elements of migration, maintaining cultural and domestic traditions, adjusting to new landscapes and creatively using and repurposing available resources.

Open Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm
Closed Sundays and Public Holidays.

More info: www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au/wanneroogallery
Email: arts@wanneroo.wa.gov.au

Momentum Dance
Calendar, Dance, July 18, Performing arts

Dance: Momentum Dance – UNBREAKABLE

28 & 29 July, 3.00pm @ Redmond Theatre, Prendiville College Ocean Reef ·
Presented by Momentum Dance ·

Momentum Dance presents ‘Unbreakable’ – new dance works on old bodies. The momentum continues with two world premieres highlighting the unbreakable spirit of people who just want to dance. The program features live music by duo Four on Six.

Richard Cilli’s ‘PRELUDIUM’ shows the game before the game, the work before the work.

Daryl Brandwood’s ‘JOURNEYING’ follows the dancers on a journey through life distilling moments of joy and reflection interwoven with violin and guitar by Gillian Catlow and Charles Hoernemann.

More info: Facebook: Momentumdanceperth
Email: julieanddamiandoyle@gmail.com

Pictured: Momentum Dancers in rehearsal for ‘Unbreakable’ Photograph by Damian Doyle.

Fairytale of Sorts
Calendar, July 18, June 18, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Fairytale of Sorts

28, 29, 30 June, 4, 5, 6 and 7 July, 8pm, with a 2pm matinee July 1 @ Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo ·
Presented by Limelight Theatre ·

ONCE upon a time Perth playwright John Grimshaw had an idea – to stage a madcap fairytale that adults would enjoy.

The writer and director is presenting Fairytale of Sorts at Limelight Theatre, partly inspired by the films A Knight’s Tale and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“Fairytale of Sorts harks back to those medieval times, as we join the good folk of Partridgedale and meet with a host of lovable misfit characters,” Grimshaw said.

It’s the second time Grimshaw has mounted the show – but this version has several key differences to the debut production six years ago.

“After that first show, I was encouraged by my publisher to re-write the final third of the play to make it easier to stage,” he said.

“It differs in that several madcap characters from version one have been omitted and their places taken by new madcap characters.

“The final scenes differ greatly from the original but great care has been taken to ensure the new version retains the fun and lunacy of its predecessor.

“I also had a hunch that Limelight Theatre’s ex-pat English theatre community may be receptive to a fun story set in medieval England – proof will be in the telling.”

The main challenge, according to Grimshaw, is for the cast members playing more than one character.

“Some characters are very different, in terms of accents and mannerisms, and some are in quick succession, requiring swift costume changes,” he said.

Performing at a variety of venues, including the Old Mill, Phoenix and Camelot Theatres and Midland Junction and Don Russell Performing Arts Centres, Grimshaw was named best new writer at the 2009 and 2010 Dramafests, the annual state drama festival.

He also staged 14 productions with his own company A lad in sane productions before its closure and has several plays listed with South Australia’s Moore Books and Lazy Bee Scripts in England.

Grimshaw said audiences should expect nothing but pure fun from Fairytale of Sorts.

“It may differ from many plays in that there’s no ‘take-home’ message,” he said. “It’s a play for those who adhere to the old saying laughter is the best medicine.”

Fairytale of Sorts plays at 8pm June 28, 29, 30, July 4, 5, 6 and 7 with a 2pm matinee July 1. Tickets are $21, $18 concession – book at http://www.limelighttheatre.com.au or on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday.

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

More info: www.limelighttheatre.com.au

Pictured: Fairytale of Sorts features Regan Agostini as King Percival and Tori Brown as Queen Bodecia.

Voyces
Calendar, Music, Performing arts, September 18

Music: Voyces – Plus One

9 September, 3pm @ Perth Modern School, Subiaco ·
Presented by Voyces ·

Plus One is our second concert for the 2018 season, and will feature a work commissioned by Voyces by local Perth composer, Perry Joyce. Joyce’s premiere work will feature as the central work of the concert and will appear alongside composers such as John Tavener, Paul Mealor and Matthew Orlovich.

The choir will be joined by eminent Perth instrumentalists for each of these pieces, as well as presenting a piece by each composer that showcases the choir independently. This varied program will include bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, cello, viola, violin and tubular bells.

More info: https://voyces.com.au/
Email: rachel.singer@voyces.com.au

Photo: Nik Babic Photography

Co3
Calendar, Dance, July 18, Performing arts

Dance: Project NEXT 2018

6 July, 7.30pm, Saturday 7 July, 2pm & 7.30pm @ Centre for Performing Arts, All Saints’ College ·
Presented by Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble ·

See a new generation of young dancers take to the stage in Project NEXT, an impressive contemporary dance performance jam-packed with youthful energy, creativity and local talent.

Project NEXT is an annual program for Co3’s Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble, where the young dancers reimagine existing Co3 repertoire, creating an important artistic dialogue between generations, and producing fresh and original dance works.

For 2018, the Co:Youth Ensemble have crafted three new works in response to THE ZONE, the critically acclaimed performance created by Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill in 2017. Three central themes from THE ZONE (community, natural disasters, and surrealist art) form the thread for the trio of new works.

Join us for this unique performance and celebrate a new generation of contemporary dancers and creatives thinkers in Project NEXT.

More info: https://co3.org.au/project-next-2018/
Email: info@co3.org.au

When he gets that way
News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

A restrained battle of wit

Review: Susie Conte, When He Gets That Way ·
Subiaco Arts Cenre, 15 June ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

Directed by Susie Conte, When He Gets That Way is one of seven performances by Western Australian theatre makers being presented this month as part of the Subiaco Theatre Festival. An unspecified period drama, the play pits a Downton Abbey-style upper-class mistress against her new handmaiden; the pair cleverly competing in a restrained battle of wit.

Lady Annabelle desperately seeks a life beyond her vacuous existence, craving a tryst and striving for the romantic connection that is alive in her mind. Socially upward scullery-turned-handmaid Christiane (whose peasant upbringing “wasn’t all peaches and creme”, she’ll have you know) seeks to move above mediocrity and has the charm to do so.

The dialogue between the two characters is packed with simile that gets increasingly preposterous (and hilarious) as the show unfolds. Using their diaries as weapons, the two women set creative entries against one another in an absurdist comedy where each yearns to be relevant in a society that doesn’t offer much agency to women of either class.

A private diary has long been a place where women are allowed to be themselves, to exercise freedom and voice desires, and the characters in When He Gets That Way use this tool to break free of patriarchal constraints, if only for a little while.

Both actors give fantastic performances. Lady Annabelle (director Lisa Louttit) embodies the excess that her upper class character oozes. Appearing with a comically oversized skirt, complete with tulle tendrils, Louttit’s shrill character teeters on the edge of overplay, but her experience on the stage shines through; she doles out as much ridiculousness as can be handled in a 75 minute show and no more.

WAAPA Music Theatre graduate Tarryn Ryan, playing Christiane, is a revelation. She allows her character to feign innocence and servitude whilst cleverly manipulating dialogue to convince the audience that there is more to this peasant girl than meets the eye.

While the sharp script delivered by two expressive actors kept me engaged, I spent the latter half of the performance waiting for another piece of the puzzle. When it didn’t come, I couldn’t help but feel that I had been left out of a private joke. I exited the theatre wishing I’d been in on it, just like Lady Annabelle listening to some salacious gossip.

Although When He Gets That Way has finished its short season, you can catch other works on the Subiaco Theatre Festival program before it finishes at the end of June. Check out Seesaw’s interviews with Andrew Baker, producer/performer of/in Gutenberg! The Musical, and with Timothy Green and Samantha Nerida, directors of Tissue.

Pictured top: Tarryn Ryan and Lisa Loutitt in ‘When He Gets That Way’.

Carousel
Musical theatre, News, Performing arts, Reviews

The roundabout course of love

Review: Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Carousel ·
Regal Theatre, 16 June ·
Review by Leon Levy ·

In 1909 Hungarian writer Ferenc Molnár’s play Liliom was withdrawn after a short run in Budapest. In 1943 Rogers and Hammerstein, in their first collaboration, wrote the musical Oklahoma! to unprecedented acclaim. Such is some of the unlikely background to the composition of Carousel: on the one hand a seemingly-failed Hungarian play with its uncongenial social and political background and gloomy storyline, and the refusal of the playwright to allow even Puccini to set it for the operatic stage; and, on the other hand, the unlikelihood that the American partnership of composer and lyricist could possibly find in this joyless play a successor to the widely acclaimed Oklahoma!. Indeed, Samuel Goldwyn advised that Rogers simply shoot himself in order to avoid the inevitable humiliating failure.

But fate took an altogether unexpected course: after World War I, Liliom was successfully remounted in Budapest and later New York. Then in 1943, searching for material for a follow-up to Oklahoma!, Liliom was suggested to a sceptical Rogers and Hammerstein. Meantime Molnár had moved to the US and was so taken with their sympathetic adaptation of the play Green Grow the Lilacs into Oklahoma! that he capitulated, attended Carousel rehearsals enthusiastically and permitted certain modifications to avoid a totally bleak ending.

In this production of Carousel – performed by WAAPA’s second and third year musical theatre students accompanied by the WAAPA orchestra under David King – Sydney-based director John Langley has most effectively repositioned the action in the Vietnam War era and thus side-stepped any unhelpful cutesiness. Even the prologue, with its carnival scene and “The Carousel Waltz”, suggests the joylessness that is to follow and that makes for a satisfyingly consistent prevailing atmosphere.

Carousel
Jason Langley and his large team bring this challenging work to vivid life. Photo: Jon Green.

The main protagonists appear without delay: the loving and trusting Julie Jordan (Amy Fortnum), flattered by the attentions of handsome barker Billy Bigelow (Andrew Coshan), friend Carrie Pipperidge (Jessica Clancy) and jealous carousel owner, the widow Mrs Mullin (Stacey Tomsett) immediately establish themselves, as does the electricity between Julie and Billy. Confident anticipation (Carrie’s “When I Marry Mr Snow”) and uncertainty (Julie’s “If I Loved You”) are beautifully projected by Clancy and Fortnum respectively, and confirm the integration of the vocal and dramatic qualities that reflect and advance the drama throughout the evening. Coshan’s rendition of Billy’s “Soliloquy” on learning that he is to become a father, is another one of many fine moments. As Enoch Snow, Kurt Russo is all moral certainty combined with 1950’s country-boy naivety, making a satisfying contrast to the more conflicted folk around him: later this re-emerges most deliciously when he chances upon his wife describing what was effectively a drag-show that they had, in innocence, attended in New York.

Carousel
Amy Fortnum as Julie Jordan and Andrew Coshan as Billy Bigelow. Photo: Jon Green.

The rare carefree scenes that end Act I and begin Act II (the ensemble in cracking form in “This Was a Real Nice Clambake”) lead to Billy’s descent into disaster, led by the cynical low life, Jigger (Todd Peydo). Act II is marked by tragedy and by Molnár’s potentially unconvincing device of having Billy observe his now teenaged daughter Louise (Alexandra Cornish) from his detention in a heavenly police court and during a brief earthly return. This must have been an unsympathetic development for both composer and lyricist and, indeed,  poses a challenge for cast and audience in 2018. But the WAAPA team bring dramatic strength to these moments, with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – sung by Elise Muley as Nettie, Julie’s protector – consolidating the prospects for a more hopeful future for Louise.

Working from the narrow confines of the Regal stage, Jason Langley and his large team – cast, choreographer, lighting, set, costume and sound designers, musical director and orchestra – bring this challenging work to vivid life. This is a compelling production in which the spectre of domestic violence is ever-present and where there are all-too-few moments of unalloyed happiness. But it will, without doubt, come to be seen as one of the theatrical highlights of 2018.

Carousel plays the Regal Theatre until June 23.

Pictured top: Alexandra Cornish as Louise Bigelow. Photo: Jon Green.

Carousel
A compelling production. Photo: Jon Green 2018
Dust on the Shortbread
Calendar, Dance, Performing arts, September 18

Dance: Dust on the Shortbread at MoveMe Festival

11-15, 18-22 September @ North Perth (details provided at time of booking)  ·
Presented by Anything Is Valid Dance Theatre  ·

Imagine your life unsaved, unhappened. How do we go on when we begin to lose touch with the moments that have shaped our lives? How do we define ourselves when the memories we build together start to crumble?

Award-winning company Anything Is Valid Dance Theatre returns to the MoveMe Festival in 2018 with Dust on the Shortbread. Performed inside a suburban house for an intimate audience of just 15, Dust on the Shortbread offers a window into how Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease impacts our sense of identity and intimate relationships.

You are invited to experience two of Australia’s most celebrated performers, together for the first time – Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, founder of Australian Dance Theatre and beloved WA actor George Shevtsov. From the creative team that brought you Life in Miniature, this captivating new work takes you into the heart of the home to grapple with what may be a future reality for many of us.

Tender, funny and poignant, this intimate dance theatre performance peers behind a facade presented to friends and family even as the things we hold on to begin to slip through our fingers.

More info: www.stickytickets.com/aivdt
Email: contact@aivdt.com

Andrew Baker and Tyler Jacob Jones
Features, Musical theatre, News, Performing arts

West side stories

Although the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts is home to one of Australia’s most prestigious musical theatre courses, the job opportunities for its graduates have, traditionally, been on the other side of the country. One WAAPA musical theatre graduate is doing his bit to help change that, however. Producer and performer Andrew Baker is staging musicals in Perth under the name Western Sky Theatre. Seesaw’s Nina Levy spoke to Baker to find out more about Western Sky and its next production, Gutenberg! The Musical.

Andrew Baker

Nina Levy: Tell us about the path that led you to forming Western Sky Theatre…
Andrew Baker: My background is in musical theatre performance. I trained at WAAPA in the BA course there and then followed the well-worn path over East. I had a great time over there working ever-so-occasionally in professional theatre, but got a bit disillusioned and went back to my old career as a lawyer. Since returning home to WA, I’ve found my way back into working in the arts sector in various roles. My passion for musical theatre has returned and it’s clear to a few of us that there is an audience for quality, smaller scale professional musical theatre in WA. So there’s a bit of a gap in the market between, say, the always great work that WAAPA does in presenting a range of new and classic shows, and the big touring productions. There actually aren’t many opportunities for WA raised or trained musical theatre performers to work on their craft in Perth. So that’s how Western Sky came about. But it’s early days.

NL: When did you found Western Sky Theatre? And what is its raison d’être?
AB: Western Sky is pretty new. Our first musical was the gorgeous Australian piece Once We Lived Here, which we did at the Blue Room Theatre last year. It won two Blue Room Theatre awards and I think broke the Blue Room box office record.

The idea at the heart of Western Sky is to give people who are from WA or who may have trained at WAAPA (and so have a WA connection) a reason to come home to Perth and perform in a well-produced small-scale musical (and hopefully get paid). In Once We Lived Here, for instance, three of the five cast members came home from the East to do the show, and all five had done undergrad. musical theatre degrees (four at WAAPA, one from Lasalle, Singapore). It’s about people getting a chance to do what they were trained to do, in front of their home audience.

NL: Gutenberg! The Musical made its Perth debut back in 2016 and is returning this month. For those who missed it the first time around, tell us a bit about the show…
AB: Gutenberg is a rollercoaster ride of laughs. It’s about two dreamers, Bud and Doug, who have written a musical about the inventor of the printing press, Johann Gutenberg. They are presenting it as a backers’ audition, where they show it to a room full of Broadway producers in the hope someone in the room will take it to Broadway. They’ve written what they think is a big, splashy, epic musical that is serious. You’ll have to come and see if they get it to Broadway or not.

NL: The Perth indie theatre sector is (usually) very much about presenting locally written work… what made you choose to buck the trend and present Gutenberg! The Musical?
AB: The presentation of locally written work is vital and there are some excellent writers in Perth creating original musicals (my co-star in Gutenberg, Tyler Jacob Jones, is one such artist who is doing awesome work). In fact there is a big conversation going on at the moment about original Australian musicals. It’s a hot topic over East. But I feel that the original works space is pretty well looked after in Perth so our focus is producing shows that artists and audiences already know and love, and to bring them to new audiences in a new way. However, we’re open to all excellent musical theatre (especially when a lot of new work is written with small spaces and budgets in mind!).

NL: And what made you decide to give this production another outing?
AB: It was just so much fun the first time around but we performed it in a less than ideal space. We want to do the show in a real theatre space now! It’s also a big honour to be asked to be a part of the Subiaco Theatre Festival with the best of Perth’s independent producers and theatre artists.

NL: You act in this show, as well as producing it… what are the pros and cons of being both producer and performer?
AB: There are certainly times when I need to step away from marketing and other producing duties to make sure I’m giving my performance the time it needs. This is a really challenging show and it takes a lot of focus. So it’s about finding a good team, time management and prioritising well.

NL: After Gutenberg, what’s next for Western Sky Theatre?
AB: One of the important things we want to be mindful of is to take our time – to grow a culture around the company and to find a tribe of like-minded people over the first few years. We’re focusing on achievable, small shows and doing them really well! We have the next show in mind. And we’re chatting to people. It’s exciting!

Catch Gutenberg! The Musical at Subiaco Arts Centre, as part of Subiaco Theatre Festival, 27-30 June.

Pictured top: Andrew Baker and Tyler Jacob Jones in ‘Gutenberg! The Musical’.