Tag: Caroline O’Connor

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

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Review: The Production Company Presents GYPSY

Everything’s coming up up roses

By Bradley Storer

The Production Company brings together a star-studded cast in this presentation of what can be described as the greatest musical in the American tradition. Like a musical version of King Lear, Gypsy presents the tale of Mama Rose as she fights, batters and tramples all the obstacles in the way of propelling her two daughters to stardom, even as they resist and try to escape her iron grip.

Caroline OConnor

Christina Tan as the young girl who grows up to be the eponymous Gypsy Rose Lee, is perfect as both the boyish, plain Louise at the beginning of the show, looking adorably innocent in her baggy oversized clothes, as well as the glamorous and seductive burlesque star that she becomes over the course of the narrative. However, in the strip tease sequence in Act Two (which illustrates Gypsy’s rise to her full potential as well as to stardom) Tan does not fully embody the burgeoning self-confidence and realisation that would bridge the gap between the two sides of the character.

Gemma-Ashley Kaplan as Baby June, Rose’s favoured child, brings both perkiness, a bright piercing belt and an underlying exhaustion to the role – her younger counterpart is equally amazing, possibly more so in some of her dances! Nathan Pinnell as the dancer who runs away with her steals the show with just one song and a brilliant choreographed dream ballet (choreography by Andrew Hallsworth).

The brilliant Caroline O’Connor is a phenomenon as Mama Rose, bringing layer upon layer to this larger-than-life character. This is a woman so consumed by her dreams and fantasy of stardom (vicariously lived out through her daughters) that she is hopelessly disconnected from everyone around her, most of all her family. In every one of Baby June’s dances we see Mama Rose flitting in and out of the background and off to the side of the stage repeating the choreography; whenever she by chance enters the spotlight her face breaks out in with unadulterated pleasure that is simultaneously comic and pathetic. O’Connor’s characterization brings to mind those other great tragic characters of American literature, Willy Loman and Blanche DuBois, both sustained and eventually destroyed by their dreams.

Matt Hetherington as Herbie, her lover/business partner is quite subdued, but the pair have a sweetness that makes the disintegration of their relationship as a result of Rose’s ambition all the more poignant – here Hetherington shines with a quiet dignity.

Gale Edwards brings an expansive directorial vision to this great American musical, emphasising how all these characters, whether or not they are onstage, are performers – acting out their own internal fantasies or forced to live inside a role that has been thrust on them by someone.

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

Dates: Sat July 6th/Wed 10th/Thur 11th/Fri 12th/Sat 13th at 7:30pm; Sat July 6th/Sat 13th at 2pm; Sun July 7th/Sun 14th at 3pm

Prices: From $23 (C Reserve U18) to (A Reserve) $115

Bookings: http://www.theproductioncompany.com.au/