Tag: Ben Kiley

Vass Productions Presents YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Adorable family fun

By Narelle Wood

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters come to life. From the outset everything about this musical is cartoon-esque and it is hard not to grin like a buffoon the whole way through.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown

With book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, the musical is based on the life of Charlie Brown (Cameron MacDonald) the eternal optimist, despite Lucy (Courtney Glass) pointing out loudly and frequently what she labels as his ‘loser’ tendencies. The key members of the gang are there to help Charlie along the way: Sally (Sarah Morrison), Linus (Adam Porter), Schroeder (Joshua Robson), and of course the forever-faithful puppy with attitude Snoopy (Luigi Lucente). There is kite-flying, choir practice, book reports, a nail-biting baseball game and the intellectual conversation of adults interspersed with childlike behaviour that made, and still makes, the antics of Charlie Brown and co. both subtle social commentary and very funny.

The storyline has been put together through the use of Schulz’s comic strips, so some of the plot points are very familiar. And the staging is in keeping with his art style too: it looks as though to walk on stage would be to walk into the comic strip itself. The sets, courtesy of set designer Jacob Battista, are simple but impressive, making very clever use of frames and staircases to change scenes. As the show commenced, he only thing that was perhaps a bit jarring initially was accepting adults play the roles of such familiar child characters and this may have been the reason the first part felt a bit flat, at least for the adult members of the audience, though there were several kids who found it all very funny.

Once the audience and the musical warmed up, it became absolutely clear that this is an extremely talented cast. It is difficult to pick a standout when the small ensemble is so strong, but I would have to say Glass’s portrayal of Lucy is spectacular. That been said, MacDonald’s sad Charlie Brown made the audience sigh with sympathy on more than one occasion. And while Snoopy was played by human Lucente, he captured all of Snoopy’s attitude and some beguiling beagle-like behaviour as well: if only dinner time was always that entertaining.

Gary Abraham’s direction combined with choreography by Dana Jolly and Ben Kiley’s music direction has resulted in an absolutely joyful production that really showcases the singing, dancing and acting talent on stage. The intricate timings in most of the production numbers were accomplished with seeming ease; my favourite was easily The Book Report, mostly due to how well I identified with each of the approaches to work, and I don’t think I will ever think of Beatrix Potter in the same way again.

The night show might be a late time slot for any little person in your life, but the children I overheard discussing it at the end of the show were so excited at seeing these characters live on stage. Charlie Brown is indeed a good man, and this is a must for fans of the cartoon and anyone looking at escaping into the lovable and complicated world of Charlie Brown and his gang.

Venue: Alex Theatre, Fitzroy St, St Kilda

Season: Until 2nd July, Wed-Sun 7.30pm Matinees: Tues 11.30am, Wed & Thu 10.30am, Sat 1pm and Sun 3pm

Tickets: Concession from $25 | Adult from $35

Bookings: www.alextheatrestk.com/whats-on-alex/youre-good-man-charlie-brown

Image by James Terry Photography

Advertisements

Review: BLOODLINES starring Bradley Storer

Halloween horrors worth feasting upon

By Emma Muiznieks

Walking slowly into the showroom at The Butterfly Club, Bradley Storer tells us his favourite fairy tale, one filled with murder, music and ghosts. This sets the scene perfectly for the following hour, as he takes us through the dark, sordid (and hopefully fictitious!) history of his family tree.

We are treated to a mix of personal anecdotes and theatrical readings from the family codex he compiled going back hundreds of years. These stories are interspersed with songs accompanied by Ben Kiley and ranging from Nick Cave and the Dresden Dolls to Kylie and Garfunkel & Oates, not to mention a very funny take on a classic Broadway hit by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Storer has crafted a stage persona that is both endearing and sinister, a cheeky lad who goes through life with an invisible peanut gallery of voices in his head. This polarity of character allows him to move into darker areas that may not suit the seven o’clock timeslot without losing his audience.

 Indeed, Storer’s portrayal of a man’s decent into insanity, executed with such utter conviction, left the audience breathless and almost uncomfortable from the reality of the performance, and yet Storer was able to snap us back skilfully with just the right amount of levity.

As smooth and versatile as his vocals are (a haunting rendition of I Just Can’t Get You Out Of My Head in particular shows off his amazing range and easy tone), it is as a storyteller that Storer really shines. The creepy tales are evocatively written, with strong narratives and vivid imagery, and the sombre delivery draws you in so well that you can clearly see every tiny detail in your mind’s eye.

When he is not singing or reading stories, Storer’s interaction with the audience can feel a little wooden, and there is a tendency to perform to the back wall rather than the people in front of him, however these issues are bound to disappear with time and experience.

Bloodlines runs the gamut from hysterically funny to positively bone-chilling, and is an excellent example of a classic cabaret experience. Storer has immense potential as a performer and artist, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Venue: The Butterfly Club

Dates: Thur-Sun 27-30 Oct

Time: 7pm Thur-Sat, 6pm Sun

Bookings: http://www.thebutterflyclub.com/

Halloween Horror Unleashed: BLOODLINES – A Gothic Cabaret

It’s only a story…

Imagine, if you will, a cabaret composed of one part the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft. The delectably black ironies of The Twilight Zone. The operatic madness of Lucia di Lammermoor. And the haircut of Justin Bieber. If your mind can conceive of such a nightmarish creation, it might yield something similar to: BLOODLINES – A GOTHIC CABARET.

After emerging from treatment for cupcake-related trauma, horror-enthusiast/formerly-disturbed child Bradley Storer brings with him a collection of delightfully demented tales rightfully destined for consumption on the eve of Halloween.

Unearthing the hidden gems from the crypts of his family history, the serenely sinister Bradley intertwines them with music from dark artists like Nick Cave, Tom Waits, the Dresden Dolls and the Decemberists.

Haunting The Butterfly Club for four performances, this gothic-indie cabaret playfully blends the boundaries between good and evil, past and present, imagination and reality into a sweetly poisonous concoction fit only for an after-dark feast at the dead of the night’s high noon.

Prepared to be amused, enthralled and terrified (often all three at the same time!)

 

Remember: Don’t be afraid.

It’s only a story…   

 

 

Bloodlines: A Gothic Cabaret

Directed by Kim Edwards

Accompanied by Ben Kiley

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank St, South Melbourne VIC

Dates: Thursday 27th October – Sunday 30th October

Time: 7pm Thursday – Saturday, 6pm Sunday

Price: Full $22 / Conc $19 / Group (8 +) $18

Booking/ Info: www.thebutterflyclub.com