Tag: Anna Cordingley


Blithely bewitching cabaret

By Amy Planner

Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid is a quirky take on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale that looks into the modern gal’s plight for romance. This cabaret performance is a quest for love explored through music, a journey that discovers the two are sometimes unescapably intertwined and a tale that proves sometimes you’ll find it where you least expect it.

Meow Meow's Little Mermaid.jpg


With a little burlesque, a smidge o’ circus, a touch of mermaid-esque audience participation and a whole lot of cabaret, Meow Meow has created a truly original show based on an age-old tale.

Meow Meow is a real performer’s performer. She has a voice that would silence a riot and a performance capability that would have the rebels all in a conga line in no time. Comedy Director Cal McCrystal did a fantastic job keeping the hilarity rolling, and when paired with Meow Meow’s innate sense of farce, it was utterly entertaining.

Meow’s on stage lover, Chris Ryan, enters the show quite late but has the desired effect. He has an important charisma and deserves major kudos for singing wonderfully in German, not to mention pulling off some outrageous costume moments. Ryan had a subtle presence, but perhaps that was just in comparison to Meow Meow’s tremendous allure and sparkle that we know and love.

The flow of the cabaret style show was a little unsteady in parts: Meow Meow seemed to become so wrapped up in the audience’s favourable reception that there was a little rockiness created. However, it was barely a blip on the cabaret radar as the audience awaited the next unpredictably delightful moment.

The costuming by Anna Cordingley is unique and impressively well-fitted in Meow Meow’s case. She sparkled as she crowd-surfed over the unsuspecting audience, hung from the ceiling, wriggled and writhed in a net that swung over the stage, and hobbled around in a high heel and in a ballet toe point as her ‘land legs’ grew.

Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid is certainly not for the faint of heart, unless of course your heart is faint but in desperate need of a lesson on love and a night of superbly witty entertainment.

Venue: Merlyn Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 28 Jan – 14 Feb
Tickets: Adult $65, Senior $60, Concession $50, Student & Under 30s $35
Bookings: malthousetheatre.com.au

Image by Pia Johnston

REVIEW: Daniel Schlusser Ensemble in M+M

Daring to unravel a Russian classic

By Christine Moffat

M + M is the theatrical reworking of Bulgakov’s classic Russian novel The Master and Margarita by exploratory masters the Daniel Schlusser Ensemble for this year’s Melbourne Festival.  Approaching such a novel with reverence, and producing a slavish retelling is not in this Ensemble’s vocabulary.  Instead, this innovative group always attempt to crack the code underpinning the work of art, and present its inner workings to the audience.  Unfortunately, in this production they have taken a risk that has not entirely paid off.


Some elements of this show are truly superb.  The set design by Anna Cordingley and Romaine Harper is outstanding, and used extensively and with great effect by director Daniel Schulusser.  Every performer (Johnny Carr, Josh Price, Nikki Shiels, Karen Sibbing, Emily Tomlins, Mark Winter & Edwina Wren) bravely attacks the show with energy, commitment and obvious talent.

Deconstructing such rich source material is ambitious for when it comes to reconstructing, how do you decide which elements must be reinstated?  The attempt to connect the novel to Pussy Riot and modern Russian social oppression is disjointed.  Instead of combining these themes, the performance gives the sense of empty, barren space between them.  The program invites the audience to view the piece as “…theatrical architecture…”, but the parts are too loosely connected to achieve this.  It could be better compared to blueprints and a collection of building materials.

It is not a narrative that this production lacks, but rather any emotional resonance.  The vignettes performed on stage are diaspora; closer to resembling performance art than theatre, but not managing the shock or provocation common to that art form either.  Whether this production succeeds in affecting others in its audience emotionally, or merely works visually, the Daniel Schlusser Ensemble have achieved an outcome that can inform and feed their future works.

Sometimes parts do not create a cohesive and greater whole.  In approaching a seemingly impossible novel, this Ensemble should impress us in the attempt, and in the many successful moments it produces.  Sadly, this reconstruction still feels as if it has major elements of the original source missing.  It is like a beautiful watch that has been rebuilt without hands – each component is lovingly crafted, but it has no way of performing as intended and so we have no way of receiving its ultimate message.

Oct 12 – 16 (no show Oct 15)

Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street St Kilda

Tickets: $65 / $50 / Under 30s $35, Student $25

Bookings: theatreworks.org.au, 03 9534 3388, or Ticketmaster 136 100