Tag: Alex Rathgeber

The Production Company Presents CURTAINS

 Marvelous music and joyously good fun

By Bradley Storer

The madcap trials and tribulations of a Broadway-bound musical falling apart at the seams, a classic ‘whodunnit’ murder-mystery, a romantic comedy as well as a tribute to all people with passion for the theatre, all bound together by the final score devised by the legendary team of Kander and Ebb – who could ask for anything more in a show?

Curtains

Simon Gleeson in the role of Lt. Frank Cioffi – lead investigator of the aforementioned murder – is a revelation, his leading man charisma channeled into a role that would be the comedic sidekick in any other piece but here is the focal point of this ode to the theatre world and its people. His comedic timing is exceedingly precise and his rendition of the wistful ‘Coffee Shop Nights’ is absolutely mesmerizing, his rich resonant voice peeking through at a few artfully chosen moments.

The rest of the cast work wonderfully as an ensemble but a mixed bag in terms of individual success. Melissa Langton as the brassy producer of the show nails her character’s bitter (and hilarious) one-liners, but her big number ‘It’s a Business’ falls slightly flat despite her magnificent belt. Alex Rathgeber finds the heartfelt sincerity in his caddish composer, and his touching ballad ‘I Miss the Music’ is a highlight of the show – Lucy Maunder is radiant as his estranged lyricist/wife. Alinta Chidzey sang beautifully as the ingénue Niki Harris but tended to vanish in a role that seems bland and underwritten.

Colin Lane was slightly off-kilter at first as the British director of the show within the show, his accent seeming a little wobbly, but found his feet with pithy non-sequiturs punctuated throughout the evening. Nicki Wendt as the woefully untalented diva whose demise launches the plot delivers a performance of such scene-stealing awfulness that it feels slightly disappointing (in the best possible way) to see her for only the first five minutes of the show.

The ensemble had clearly worked hard at creating individuated background characters, devising moments of sneaky comedy for those looking hard enough, and danced brilliantly in all their numbers, with the orchestra under musical director John Foreman giving the glorious Kander and Ebb score the magnificent treatment it deserved at all times.

Balancing an incredibly tricky mixture of narrative tones, The Production Company delivers this Australian professional premiere with panache, this tribute to the ‘theatre people’ of the world as a whole shining with warm-hearted joy.

Venue: The State Theatre, The Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne.

Date: 20th August – 28th August

Times: 7:30pm Wednesday – Saturday, Matinees 1pm Wed/2pm Saturday/3pm Sunday

Prices: $42 – $130

Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au , 1300 182 183, or at the box office.

REVIEW: Opera Australia and John Frost Present ANYTHING GOES

This production is oh so easy to love…

By Amy Planner

This Cole Porter theatre classic has smashed audience expectations with its all-singing, all-tap-dancing stage spectacular. Bursting with maritime hilarity and whimsical choreography is the latest production of the stupendous Anything Goes.

Anything Goes

When the ocean liner SS America sets off from New York to London with a few lovers, a night club evangelist and a couple of criminals on board, anything goes! This group of unlikely travellers set off in search of the ultimate destiny, true love; but who can find true love without a little help from a bunch of singing sailors and a little criminal activity?

Caroline O’Connor should be marvelled at for her audacious performance as Reno Sweeney, the club performer moonlighting as an all-hailing all-saving evangelist. O’Connor brought the house down with her slapstick humour, formidable voice and step-perfect dance routines.

Todd McKenney was almost unrecognisable as the seemingly pompous but all-round fun loving, Lord Evelyn Oakley. His outrageous wig and goofy demeanour made for a truly amusing performance, and when McKenney’s dancing there’s nowhere else you can look.

Other more than notable performances included the criminally hilarious Wayne Scott Kermond as Moonface Martin, the suave and charming Alex Rathgeber as Billy Crocker, the seductive yet comical Debora Krizak as Erma and of course Gerry Connolly and Josh Gates as The Captain and Purser.

The large ensemble cast was brilliantly talented and each performer just as entertaining as the next; any one of them could have danced alone on the stage under a single spotlight for two hours and the audience would never complain.

From the glorious gowns of the pre-show on-stage bar mingling to the effortless poolside swing shorts, the costumes were impeccable. Dale Ferguson had such a theatrical and applaudable vision for this Broadway classic despite countless productions before it. Visually this cast would stand out from any revival; the team deserves huge amounts of praise for their nautical flair.

Unique choreography by Andrew Hallsworth paired with this impressive cast has resulted in good honest entertainment that leaves you clapping after every toe tap. Musical Director Peter Casey delighted with a truly refreshing and soulful interpretation of Cole Porter’s most wonderful songs.

Opening night had a couple of lengthy scene crosses and a lost line or two but it took nothing away from this production, receiving a standing ovation that demanded several bows. Be amazed by the spectacular nautical explosion that is Anything Goes. You’ll get a kick out of this one.

Venue: Princess Theatre, Spring Street, Melbourne
Season: Until 119 July, Tues/Wed 1pm, Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 3pm.
Tickets: From $50.54
Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com or www.anythinggoesmusical.com.au

Image By Jeff Busby