Melbourne, Australia


In Comedy, Festivals, Review, Whats On on September 20, 2014 at 11:17 am

Madcap musicals made to order

By Narelle Wood

Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is improvised comedy and musical theatre all rolled into one and a show you could certainly see more than once, because every night is a brand-new performance.

Whose Chorus Line Is It Anyway

The premise of the show is simple; the audience give the cast the title of the musical and what happens from there is anyone’s guess, even the cast members. We were treated to a musical entitled Friday Nights, which had jail breaks, glitter use and a campaign for culottes, which are able to free women from the oppression of skirts and men from the constriction of tight pants. The result of these shenanigans was the creation of a genderless society, mnan, who put the ‘com (that is communication) back in community’. In the realisation that a genderless society would struggle to repopulate the earth, the mnan once again become man and woman. But there are no spoilers in this tale, for who knows what new journey tonight, or any of the shows, will take you on.

The extremely talented cast includes the likes of the company’s director Emmet Nichols, Stuart Packham, Emily Taylor and George Gayler, just to name a few. It was fascinating to watch how they were able to pick up and run with whatever their fellow cast members came up with, no matter how insane or bizarre. This was especially evident during the musical numbers where they seldom missed a beat. Nichols’ portrayal of a Scotsman, with an accent so thick it’s unintelligible to anyone but a fellow Scotsman, was a highlight, and epitomised the phrase ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.

Lights and musical accompaniment helped set, or in this case develop, the scene and musician Rainer Pollard provided the cast with every music theatre genre, from ballads to toe-tappers, to work with: there was even a dance break. Musical highlights included “There’s a Jail Break”, “I’m Changing Me”, and the title number from the show, “It’s Friday Night”.

If you’re comfortable with laugh-out-loud, zany storylines, put together by clever performers, who can and do change the story’s trajectory on a whim, then Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is a show well worth seeing.

Venue: The Loft, Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Season: September 20th to October 4th, 6.45pm, Sundays 5.45pm
Tickets: Full $24| Conc $19

REVIEW: Isabella Valette in MEDIA RELEASE

In Festivals, Musical Theatre, Review, Whats On on September 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

The turn on of reality TV

By Myron My

Media Release for this year’s Fringe Festival is a cautionary tale about the follies of fame, the foibles of being popular and the extent people to which seek such fantasies. The story revolves around a young woman April (Isabella Valette) who is at a audition and is asked to deliver her lines like specific Hollywood celebrities, such as Britney Spears, Emma Watson, and Mischa Barton – and to be sexier. From there, we witness her demise – in a lighthearted way – as she betrays family members, friends and herself in succumbing to the lure of being a reality star.

Media Release

 Spanning a two-year narrative time period, a lot is covered in this 55-minute show – so much in fact, that I feel there was too much going on to let the story feel fully organic and believable. It would have been nice to see the story driven by the actions of the characters, rather than the characters going through the motions to tell the story.

Apart from Valette, the rest of the cast (Oliver Waters, Maddie Chaplain and Luke Chaplain) perform a variety of characters, some of which are brought to life convincingly and others that don’t seem as realistic. Surprisingly, the latter appear more often to be the “straight” roles, rather than the over-the-top but more plausibly portrayed characters of producers, narcissistic “actors” and talent agents.

However, Valette brings April’s innocence and naivety to the surface with conviction and believability, as well as  exploring her desire to achieve her dreams. The well-paced and cleverly re-written musical numbers performed by Valette showcase her voice and are definitely a highlight of Media Release.

Media Release is an entertaining hour of song and laughs for audiences that have been surrounded by and obsessed with reality TV “stars” for almost two decades, and there is definitely potential for this to develop into something bigger and generate an even more dynamic response .

Venue: Court House Hotel, Cnr. Errol & Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Season: Until 26 September | Tue–Sat 6:00pm, Sun 5:00pm

Tickets: $21 Full | $16 Conc


REVIEW: Speakeasy and MKA: Theatre of New Writing Present MKA: RICHARD II

In Cabaret on September 20, 2014 at 9:36 am

Time doth waste him

By Narelle Wood

MKA: Richard II is a little hard to describe. Not being familiar with the Shakespearean work, it is a little hard to know how true to the original storyline this modern adaptation is. Regardless of accuracy, it is a highly entertaining and sometimes uncomfortable look at leadership.

Richard II

This tale of Richard II begins with 11 year-old Richard (Mark Wilson) and 10 year-old Henry (Olivia Monticciolo) already establishing their leadership rivalry, citing everything from age lineage and gender as reasons for their own superiority. Flash forward a few years, Richard is king and the bids for leadership takeovers, strip-teasers and political rants begin. Monticciolo is great, but there is something about Wilson that is hilarious.

Interspersed throughout the dialogue, which may be closely based on recent political events, there are excerpts from the Bard’s Richard II and what appears to be some ad-libbed political ranting. What Wilson and Monticciolo have created is a very funny link between Shakespeare’s world and the Australian world of politics; the parallels that are drawn are brilliant and the resulting commentary on leadership resonates as true.

The set is simple but effective, with a runway becoming the political platform whereby each leader assumes their position. It did seem a little long at times (it kept to the hour timeframe) but this was mostly during the Richard II soliloquies that remind you that Shakespeare, whilst brilliant, had some exceptionally verbose tendencies, especially when his characters are wallowing. The costumes were also really well done; Richard’s costume was amazing and certainly had all the embellishments one would expect from royal robes. It was interesting to see Wilson’s skill at putting on tights and Monticciolo’s ability to tastefully get changed while dancing to some good old-fashioned 80’s rock.

MKA: Richard II is a fun, but fairly intense show. It has certainly inspired me to read Shakespeare’s Richard II (and maybe a Henry or two). It would certainly be a good Fringe Festival choice for anyone interested in Shakespeare, politics or planning their own political upheaval.

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St Northcote
Season: Saturday 20th September to Sunday 28th September, 9.30pm, Sundays 8.30pm
Tickets: Full $26| Conc $21
Bookings: mka-richard-ii/


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