Tag: Angela Scundi

Monster Media Presents ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

Impeccable
By Ross Larkin

When a show is preceded by its own reputation as an iconic, Oscar-winning film, one might be forgiven for having reservations about subsequent incarnations of any kind. Thankfully, Monster Media’s interpretation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest puts all reservations to rest in a production that succeeds at the highest level.

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When Randle McMurphy (Michael Robins) is committed to a psychiatric asylum, he unwittingly provokes the menacing Nurse Ratched (Catherine Glavicic), who controls the ward with an iron fist, while forging the most unlikely of friendships in the process.

With award winning director Carl J. Sorheim at the helm, the play by Dale Wasserman and based on the novel by Ken Kesey is executed with delicate precision and just the right amount of integrity, light and shade.

The casting, in particular, is of exceptional note with an ensemble cast that bring complete authenticity and charm to the stage from the outset, including Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, Natalie BondNicholas DentonJack Dixon-GunnJosh FutcherDavid GannonKostas Ilias, Troy Larkin, Stephanie LillisPaul MorrisSeton PollockAngela Scundi and Ben Sofowora.

Michael Robins provides a fresh take as the mischievous McMurphy; a complex and demanding role which, in the wrong hands, could easily fail to affect. However, Robins makes the character his own and does very well in the process.

Catherine Glavicic as the subtly twisted Nurse Ratched is chilling yet sincere, offering an excellent concoction of kindness, authority, manipulation and bite, while Troy Larkin as the troubled Dale Harding is outstanding in a portrayal laden with conviction, torment and tenderness.

Add to the brew an alluring lighting (Jason Crick) and sound design, and a pace and energy to match, and Monster Media’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is most definitely not to be missed.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is playing now until June 11, 2017 at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Melbourne. Tickets available at www.mtc.com.au or by phone on (03) 8688 0800.

Image by GW Photography

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Pursued by Bear Presents TICK TICK BOOM

Engrossing and innovative musical theatre

By Sally McKenzie

Tick Tick Boom is a cleverly-written one act musical which beautifully illustrates the struggles of the composer Jonathon Larson (who also composed Rent) to ‘make his break’ in the world of musical theatre.  In this new production presented by Pursued By Bear, I was captivated from beginning to end. I doubt you will find a better portrayal of this autobiographical piece by Larson.

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Upon entrance to ‘The Loft’ performance space at Chapel Off Chapel, we are immediately immersed in the ‘chaos’ of Larson’s musical mind as we walk on a floor covered in pages of sheet music, and are surrounded by a clutter of suitcases and neglected musical instruments randomly stacked against walls.

In the middle of this there is a floor-boarded stage, slightly raised with a piano as the centre piece. Three wooden chairs are the only other set pieces on this stark performance space. A dozen hanging exposed light bulbs also frame the space, helping to bring a distinct realism to the set.

The role of Jonathon Larson is played by Luigi Lucente. He is simply brilliant. The audience immediately empathizes with the heightened anxiety of his character and – through the passing of time (which is likened to the strict timing of the metronome) – are captivated with his journey as an artist.  Lucente is compelling as he delivers his soliloquies to the audience. Through superb timing and natural alliance with the character,  he is able to bring out the comedy in an otherwise ‘serious’ plot.  Moreover, Lucente is perfectly cast as he also is an impressive musician/pianist and rock vocalist. His playing of the piano is interwoven superbly into the music of the show. His performance of ‘Why’ was particularly moving, and the ‘out of tune’ piano was a perfect vessel for his emotions.

Angela Scundi gives a solid performance of the role of Jon’s girlfriend Susan, and effectively doubles as other characters throughout the show.  Her rendition of ‘Come To Your Senses’ was very well-received by the audience. Quin Kelly depicted the more conservative character of Michael, which was an apt juxtaposition to the spirited nature of ‘Jon’. Although his voice didn’t quite seem suited to the more contemporary style of the show, but he brought a lovely energy to the ensemble-style cast. Mitch Roberts and Rebecca Heatherington provided extra vocal harmonies for songs and portrayed their cameo roles with conviction. Their presence in the Sondheim parody ‘Sunday’ was particularly engaging.

Paul Watson’s direction is stunning and completely fitting for the venue. The multiple uses of the piano as a set piece and the ‘domestic’ lighting doubling as the perfect tools to create the needed intimacy of such a personal story are just two examples of his stylish creative choices. His ability to convey the different tensions in the space with the positioning of actors alone is impressive.

The musical direction by Jess Barlow is well-executed. Vocal harmonies are tight and the band is well-balanced with the vocalists. There was the occasional imbalance of vocal harmonies (the men sometimes overpowering the women), but this did not deter from the enjoyment of such a fabulous score.

Tick Tick Boom is playing in The Loft at Chapel Off Chapel until May 2nd. Tickets can be booked online at http://chapeloffchapel.com.au/ticket-sales/