Ladies all dressed in black as shop assistants in a 1950s store
Calendar, March 19, Musical theatre, Performing arts

Musical Theatre: Ladies in Black

1 – 17 March @ Stirling Theatre, Innaloo ·
Presented by Playlovers ·

An Australian musical with a warm heart.

Playlovers present Ladies in Black, a new Australian Musical with a book by Carolyn Burns and music and lyrics by Tim Finn. Popularised by the recent Australian feature film, it is based on the novel  The Women in Black by Madeleine St John.

Set in Sydney in the 1959, bookish school leaver Lisa joins the sales staff in fashionable department  store, F.G. Goodes. Over a summer that changes her life, she befriends the colourful characters of the women’s clothing department. Each is on the precipice of change – facing independence, working for a living and discovering what it means to be a woman.

Described by The Age as “a unicorn of the stage: a full-blown, home grown musical that actually works” and “probably the best Aussie musical since Priscilla went global.”

“Tim Finn’s songs range from Broadway-inspired numbers to true blue ballads, from witty patter songs to shares of blues and jazz standards. They’re beautifully integrated with the dramatic action, and the comic lyrics are priceless.” (The Age) Directed by Kimberley Shaw (Bickley), director of multiple prestigious Finley Award Winning Musicals, it features Musical Direction by Tyler Eldridge (Pickering Brook), and choreography by Madeleine Shaw (Bickley), and has an outstanding highly renowned cast.

Playlovers, are being hosted by Stirling Players, while they await re-entry to their traditional home at Hackett Hall, Floreat, with this production being performed at Stirling Theatre, Morris Place, Innaloo.

“Ladies in Black” plays at 8pm Mar 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 with 2pm matinees on Mar 3 and 10. Tickets are  $25 (Adult), $20 concession and group bookings – book now at www.playlovers.org.au/online-bookings or bookings@playlovers.org.au or 0415 777 173

More info
W: www.playlovers.org.au
E:  info@playovers.org.au

Pictured: The Ladies of Goodes Department Store

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One man stands on a small table others dance in front of him
Musical theatre, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Fiction at the forefront of Mandela tribute

Review: Madiba: The Musical ·
Crown Theatre, 3 January ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

On the surface there’s a lot to like about Madiba: The Musical. Originally written and composed in French by Jean-Pierre Hadida with co-author Alicia Sebrien, the work has been adapted into English by Dylan Hadida and Dennis Watkins in this new, Australian production. Directed by Pierre-Yves Duchesne, it’s a fast-paced, frenetic story about one of the world’s most celebrated revolutionaries, Nelson Mandela.

Aside from some wavering South African accents, the cast delivered a flawless performance on opening night, packed with booming vocals from Ruva Ngwenya, Tarisai Vushe, Tim Omaji, Barry Conrad, Madeline Perrone and Blake Erickson. The indefatigable ensemble, led by Tiana Canterbury, kept the energy high as they performed Johan Nus’s dynamic steps, in striking costumes (designed by Sabrina Gomis Vallée) which evoked the colours and streets of South Africa over four decades.

Dancer, rapper and singer David Denis was a crowd favourite as the narrator, weaving together the story which spans 42 of Mandela’s 95 years, whilst Perci Moeketsi offered depth and dignity in the title role.

Yet despite the star power spilling from the stage, Madiba: The Musical doesn’t do the Mandela story justice.

Mandela seems more of a background character than the main event. The show skips lightly over much of his life, choosing instead to focus in depth on fictional characters. His activist wife, Winnie, is also given a smaller part than befits her life’s achievements. While Ruva Ngwenya performed the role of Winnie with grace, I was still left feeling that a strong voice had been silenced. It is disappointing that, with the wealth of material available in the true stories of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, so much time is spent on fabricated scenarios.

In particular, too much stage time is given to an interracial love story between idealistic Helena and aspiring artist and activist Will, as well as to Helena’s father Peter Van Leden, a racist white police officer who later struggles to come to terms with guilt about his actions. The message here is unequivocal: oppression doesn’t just hurt the oppressed, but the oppressors too, and the scars left on a nation’s psyche as a result of brutal injustices run deep on both sides. It’s a valuable lesson but it doesn’t need to be taught through a white lens. Even the police shooting of a black individual becomes more about the effect it had on the white policeman than the man whose life was stolen, or his family left behind. Does the story benefit from these white voices? Not for me.

While Madiba: The Musical may not hit the mark as a tribute to Mandela, it does, nonetheless, make for an entertaining and thought-provoking couple of hours. This is an uplifting tale of good triumphing over evil and a celebration of resistance, culture and, of course, freedom.

Madiba: The Musical plays Crown until January 12.

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Kate, Gus and the Other Kids
Calendar, Fringe World, Musical theatre, Performing arts

Musical Theatre: Kate, Gus & The Other Kids

31 Jan – 2 Feb @ Subiaco Arts Centre ·
Presented by Neylon & Peele ·

‘Gus and his band want top place on the Hottest 100, Kate just wants to get the f**k out…’

The brainchild of Neylon & Peele; ‘Kate, Gus & The Other Kids,’ is a never before seen Australian musical comedy with a rock/rap/ alternative/indie/pop score that dares to be anything but conventional.

Imagine if Once (The Musical), John Butler and Scott Pilgrim had a baby. This is that baby.

More info:
www.facebook.com/KateGusOtherKids/

Pictured: Kate, Gus & The Other Kids, credit Marshall Stay

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Madiba the Musical
Calendar, January 19, Musical theatre, Performing arts

Musical Theatre: Madiba the Musical

2 – 12 January @ Crown Theatre Perth ·
Presented by Crown Theatre ·

Energetic and compelling new stage show Madiba the Musical – a Celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela opens in Melbourne on October 4 and will tour to Sydney, Canberra Perth and Adelaide. Madiba the Musical, which celebrates the life of the former South African leader, who would have turned 100 in July this year, is interwoven with stories of the fight against apartheid and forbidden love in a troubled land.

Playing the role of Nelson Mandela is Perci Moeketsi, a South African star of stage, television and film, who dared to dream the impossible, encouraged by Mandela’s own words: “It is impossible until it’s done”.

Popular Australian Actor and singer, Tim Omaji, also known by stage name Timomatic, plays the role of Sam Onatou, a young black activist who is arrested in South Africa. In prison he meets the man known as “Madiba”, Nelson Mandela.

More info
W: www.crownperth.com.au/entertainment/live-theatre/madiba-the-musical 
E : entertain@crownperth.com.au

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The Envelope Please
Calendar, December 18, Musical theatre, November 18

Musical Theatre: The Envelope Please

22 Nov – 8 Dec @ Limelight Theatre ·
Presented by Limelight Theatre ·

A Celebration of Academy Award-winning songs is set to hit the right note for
Limelight Theatre’s last season of the year. Devised and directed by Gillian Binks, The Envelope Please pays homage to the best  original song category first introduced to the Oscars in 1934. While the movies weren’t always winners, songs that came from them proved to be and many have gone on to become classics. The Envelope Please presents some of the best from the past 84 years through song and dance, including Over the Rainbow, White Christmas, The Way We Were, Fame,Arthur’s Theme, Up Where We Belong, What A Feeling, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, Beauty and the Beast, My Heart Will Go On and Let It Go, among others.

Binks described the show as a colourful, musical tribute.“I was keen to do a true theatre Christmas show, which gave opportunities to inexperienced and young performers alongside the more seasoned players,” she said. “But it is challenging getting more than 30 people together all at the same time.”

First performing in Godspell in 1986, Binks has gone on to direct and choreograph
shows for Limelight, Playlovers and Yellow Glass Theatres and the Goldfields
Repertory Club over the years. She directed The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1998 and choreographed Cabaret in 2000, both winners of best musical at the annual Finley Awards.

“The Envelope Please is the result of me wanting to do something fun and colourful in honour of my dear friend Terry McAuley, a Playlovers stalwart whom we lost this year,” Binks said.

The Envelope Please plays at 8pm on 22, 23, 24, 29 , 30 November and on 1, 6 , 7 , 8 December and at 2pm on 25 November.

Tickets are $21, $18 concession and $15 children under 13 – book at
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 

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Bare a Pop Opera
Calendar, Musical theatre, November 18, Performing arts

Musical Theatre: Bare: A Pop Opera

22 – 25 November @ Nexus Theatre ·
Presented by Hand in Hand Theatre Company ·

Being performed in Perth WA, ‘Bare: A Pop Opera’ will be showing from the 22nd to the 25th November 2018 in Nexus Theatre. Claire Mosel-Crossley brings her fantastic and professional directional skills to the piece as Krispin Maesalu beautifully guides the musical direction of the show. With a talented and local cast and crew, Bare: A Pop Opera promises to be exciting, powerful, relatable and beautiful.

Bare: A Pop Opera tells the story of a forbidden love story between Jason and Peter. The show highlights the struggles and relationships of a group of Catholic High School students exploring sexuality, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy.

This production is for mature audiences, age 15 +

More info:
W: trybooking.com/XFRI
E:  handinhandtheatrepr@gmail.com

Photographer:
Nicola Macri

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Court my Crotch
Calendar, Musical theatre, October 18, Performing arts, September 18

Musical Theatre: Court My Crotch

18 Sep – 6 Oct @ The Blue Room Theatre ·
Presented by The Blue Room Theatre & FUGUE ·

Two elite bodies compete under the strict gaze of an umpire. Each presents a facade, each pushes against prejudice. Pick a side and see who can flaunt their way to victory first.

Tennis meets drag in this high-octane, high-spectacle performance investigating the toxicity of sporting and drag culture.

From the company that brought you Arteries by Ancestry comes a new competition of fierce backhands and ferocious song and dance. Born directly from Australian stories and interviews, Court My Crotch is an uncompromising look at our society’s current relationship with gender and sexuality.

Producer: Ellen-Hope Thomson
Writer/Director: James McMillan
Assistant Movement Director: Nicole Harvey
Performers: Ash Traylia, David Mitchell, Morgan Owen
Dramaturg: Geordie Crawley
Sound Designer: Alex & Yell
Set Construction: Paul Grabovac
Lighting Designer: George Ashforth
Stage Manager: Sally Davies
Publicity & Marketing: Alexandre’ Egloff

More info:
W: www.blueroom.org.au/events/court-my-crotch/
E:  info@blueroom.org.au

Photo by Marshall Stay

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19th century park scene
Musical theatre, News, Performing arts, Reviews

A case for Sondheim

Review: WAAPA Third Year Music Theatre, Sunday in the Park with George ·
Geoff Gibbs Theatre, 28 August ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

In the world of show-goers there are Sondheim people: a unique congregation of theatre lovers who worship at the alter of Stephen Sondheim. Then there are others, myself included, who appreciate good performance and can’t deny the mastery of the composer and lyricist’s work. Award-winning singer, actor and director Tyran Parke is – self-confessed – one of the former.

A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Parke has returned to his alma mater 20 years on to direct its third year Music Theatre students in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George. The subject of the text is post-impressionist French painter Georges Seurat, and Parke is no stranger to the script, having played the lead of George in the 2007 Australian premiere of the work. He’s well placed to understand the power of Sondheim and the cyclical nature of his involvement seems a case of life imitating art.

artist painting
The artist returns to his studio to paint in frenzied preoccupation: Jarrod Draper as George. Photo: Jon Green.

Sunday in the Park with George is a fictionalised account of the work and life of Seurat, known in the musical as George, and the time he spent creating his most famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-1886). George (Jarrod Draper) sits in the park on Sunday afternoons, creating studies of a cross-section of the contemporary French public milling about with their own affairs and concerns. The artist returns to his studio to paint in frenzied preoccupation. In Act II, a century has passed and George’s great-grandson, also George and also an artist, is at a crossroads searching for new meaning and new direction in his work. The story is about the passing of time, the cost of obsession and possibilities of the future.

Fittingly for a show about visual art, Maeli Cherel’s set is delightfully pictorial. Using digital media, the locations are depicted in watercolour beauty, as is Seurat’s seminal painting. Georgia Manning’s clever costuming represents both the 1880s and 1980s with aesthetic cohesion.

Georgia Manning’s clever costuming represents both the 1880s and 1980s with aesthetic cohesion. Photo: Jon Green.

While Sunday in the Park with George is not a musical punctuated by dance numbers, movement is vitally important in this visually driven piece. The stage is regularly filled with supporting and bit roles, and each tableau is a visual treat. Special mention to Emma Bradley, a vocal force, and to Maverick Newman and Stacey Thomsett, for their comic representation of an American couple on holiday, which garnered hearty laughs from the audience. Last but certainly not least, Jarrod Draper handled the demanding role of George with skill and assurance.

With this winning combination, Parke makes a case for us all to become Sondheim people.

Sunday in the Park with George plays until September 1.

Pictured top: Sezgin Aygun and Elise Muley (front left), and Jarrod Draper, with the cast of “Sunday in the Park with George”. Photo: Jon Green

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Jesus Christ Superstar
Calendar, Musical theatre, November 18, October 18, Performing arts

Musical Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar

31 October – 4 November  @ The Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach ·
Presented by Platinum Entertainment ·

From the team that brought you We Will Rock You Perth comes
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR in November 2018 at The Quarry Amphitheatre.

A rock masterpiece that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is a timeless and extraordinary production. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s global phenomenon exploded onto the stage in 1971 and changed the world of musicals forever.

This, the greatest story ever told, is based on the last week of Jesus’s life. Propelled by a stirring score, by tunes driving and majestic, satirical and tender, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart.

Enjoy a night under the stars with the stars in this ultimate theatrical experience.

STARRING:
Sam Rabbone Music Page – The Voice Australia
Clay Darius – AViiDA and The Voice Australia
Jamie Mercanti – Slim Jim Enterprises

AND INTRODUCING:
Vin Trikeriotis as Jesus
Genevieve Wilson as Mary

“A triumph…Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score is vibrant, richly varied and always dramatically right and much the same things can be said of Tim Rice’s lyrics.”
– Daily News

“For a 2,000-year-old story set to 30-year-old music, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR still has a fresh, timeless appeal. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is haunting, snappy and touching… Tim Rice’s lyrics are too good to miss a word.”
– Sue Merrell Grand Rapids Press

TICKETS ON SALE NOW.

More info
W: www.platinumperth.com/
E:  hello@platinumperth.com

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A woman, a man and a bird surrounded by flowers.
Circus, Music, Musical theatre, News, Opera, Performing arts, Theatre

First peek at 2019 Perth Festival

Perth Festival has given us a tantalising glimpse of its 2019 programme, revealing four of the works on the line-up.

Returning to open the Festival will be Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, a nocturnal wonderland that will, once again, light up Kings Park over four nights. This free, outdoor event is a celebration of Noongar culture and the beauty and biodiversity of the South West of WA, that sees audiences take a kaleidoscopic walk through projections, animation, sound and lighting effect along Fraser Avenue and deep into Kings Park.’

Balls of light in a park at night
‘Boorna Waanginy’. Photo: Toni Wilkinson.

That weekend will also see two international shows, both Australian exclusives, open in Perth. The first, Lang Toi, by Nouveau Cirque de Vietnam, is a daring display of acrobatics, physical theatre, live traditional music and playful bamboo constructions, that transports the audience into the heart of a Vietnamese village.

an acrobat standing on one hand
A scene from ‘Lang Toi’. Photo: Nguyen Duc Minh.

The second work, The Great Tamer, sees Greece’s Dimitris Papaioannou explore the mysteries of life, death and the beauty of humanity with enigmatic, dreamlike scenes and visual riddles. Using ten performers and a shape-shifting floor that undulates to Johann Strauss’s “Blue Danube”, Papaioannou’s magical stagecraft brings to life a series of inventive live paintings.

Last – for now – but not least, flying elephants, gaudy 1920s flappers, comic-book villains, gigantic spiders, butterflies and wolves run rampant as performers interact with animated characters in Barrie Kosky’s exhilarating production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, presented by Kosky’s Komische Oper Berlin, British theatre group 1927 in association with West Australian Opera and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

The full 2019 Perth Festival program will be announced 1 November 2018.

Pictured top is a scene from Komische Oper Berlin’s “The Magic Flute”.

A man throwing seeds over his head
A scene from ‘The Great Tamer’. Photo: Julian Mommert.
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