Tag: Alex Theatre

REVIEW: Natasha York in THESE THINGS TAKE WINE

Raise your glasses to wild and witty cabaret

By Narelle Wood

Natasha York takes us to the slightly grittier, grungier side of cabaret in her one-woman show, These Things Take Wine.

These Things Take Wine

Performing a selection of songs from Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Michael Jackson and many other familiar tunes, York takes us on a journey through her love affair with wine and all antics wine-related. York debunks the stereotype that cabaret is glamorous by embracing the look and behaviour of ‘drunk Tash’. In fact York’s intoxicated performance is so believable that the only thing indicating that York might be sober is her unfaltering vocal performance.

York’s drunken anecdotes cash in on the ‘it’s funny because it’s true’ motif. These familiar stories makes it hard not to smile and laugh throughout the cleverly selected and witty rewritten songs, not to mention the repartee between York and her accompanist and musical director Daniele Buatti. Buatti adds some deprecating humour to the performance, calling out some of the more obvious puns for what they are – not particularly ‘punny’.

These Things Take Wine unfortunately had only a short run at the 2015 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, but hopefully this is not the last we hear from York or this show. This show is cabaret, comedy and drinking rolled into one, making it a perfect accompaniment to a good night out.

Venue: Alex Theatre, Level 1, 135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda

Tickets: $35 Full | $32 Conc

Bookings: www.natashayork.com

Image by Ange Legas

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REVIEW: Melbourne Premiere of SEXERCISE THE MUSICAL

Working out the kinks

By Myron My

Who ever said that sex and exercise have to be mutually exclusive? This is definitely not the case with the new musical comedy directed by Sara Grenfell and presented by Aleksandar Vass and Malcolm C. Cooke, Sexercise, where we follow a married couple’s journey to rediscovering the fun and sexy times in their relationship.

Sexercise the Musical

The strength and success of Sexercise lies very much with its talented group of actors. Despite two solid hours of acting, singing and dancing, the small cast all manage to keep their energy levels up and the further we progress with the story the more this dynamism is visible. Clearly there is much fun to be had on stage, with the audience and with each other.

Nicole Melloy and Lyall Brooks are both extremely likeable as married couple Sam and Joe. They could easily have been pigeonholed as the annoying nagging wife and the insensitive, ignorant husband but they are able to expose a vulnerability to their characters that is natural and subtle whilst still bringing on the laughs and delivering the jokes.

The rest of the cast consisting of Fem Belling, Cameron MacDonald, Kristin Holland and Lulu McClatchy display their ability to support the protagonists but also command the stage when required. It almost reached the point where I wanted to learn more about these people than Sam and Joe: what exactly is going on in Andy’s marriage and who is this woman that has broken Tania’s heart? Writer Derek Rowe does well to feed the audience just enough information that we eagerly await the return to the stage of these characters.

While there may be some funny and touching moments in Sexercise, there are scenes that are too long and seem to drag to their conclusion and others that apparently don’t even need to be included. At a running time of over two hours, I felt some editing is required to allow the story to stay snappy and constantly moving forward at a pace that allows our attention to not falter.

While the musical numbers, also by Rowe, are on the whole enjoyable, there are some that seemed unnatural and awkward but due to the talent of the performers, were still fun to watch. Sexercise’s musical highlights )directed by Trevor Jones and choreographed by Dana Jolly) included ‘Mates For Life’, ‘Are We Done Yet’ and ‘36 not 23’ but by far my favourite song of the evening would be MacDonald and McClatchy singing ‘It Might Be Different This Time’, a wonderful number which could have been the signature song for every characters’ journey in this production.

Sexercise is more than just a story of 30-somethings wanting to have sex. It is cheeky, it is fun and it is naughty but it’s also about a group of individuals trying to connect with someone else. By cutting down the running time and undertaking some rewriting, this new musical has the potential both to make that theme more meaningful and create greater enjoyment for the audience. Nonetheless, this production of Sexercise is still worth seeing for the stellar effort by the excellent cast.

Venue: Alex Theatre St Kilda, 135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
Season: Until 15 March | Tues-Sat 8.00pm, Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 3pm
Tickets: From $50.87
Bookings:  http://sexercisethemusical.com