Tag: Craig Irons

REVIEW: Cheeky Theatre Company’s COME BLOW YOUR HORN

Welcome to the ’60s!

By Jennifer Coles

Set in the swinging ’60s and covered in class and charm, Cheeky Theatre Company’s presentation of Come Blow Your Horn is a wonderful return to the fast-paced action of that era. Slick, sophisticated and witty, Neil Simon’s much-acclaimed play is in good hands as handled by the Cheeky Theatre crew, with solid direction, performances and design. Telling the tale primarily of the Baker brothers, Buddy (a hilarious and endearing Simon Alderman) leaves home for the first time as an innocent 21-year-old to move in with his older playboy brother Alan (played with gusto by Antony Talia).

Come Blow Your Horn

In the wrong hands, this play could quite easily become a mess. The dialogue is fast and thick, and requires constant diction and attention. Thankfully, the cast adhere to the brash and bold Brooklyn style and are not afraid to enjoy the dialogue they’ve been given. The jokes are paced well, with clear evidence of solid direction by Craig Irons, and the characterisation is well emphasized and exaggerated for comedic effect. The subtle mannerisms of Buddy’s bundle of nerves are offset wonderfully by the smooth movements of Alan, and the pair have wonderful interplay. In fact, the interaction between the Baker brothers is the highlight of the show, as it is so expertly written by Simon and here delivered by Alderman and Talia. It was also fantastic to see wonderful performances from Lucy Gransbury as the strong and determined Connie, and lighthearted Lucinda Burney as the contrasting Peggy.

Since the Warehouse is a somewhat unusual space to work in, The Cheeky Theatre Company used it to their advantage. Because there was no stage to speak of, the actors weren’t afraid to get close to the audience, and it was like we’d been transported back to the time period and were quietly observing this little piece of history. However, this proximity did sometimes result in the actors ‘stepping out of the light’ every so often, which can be fixed easily. And apart from a few opening-night jitters, the space was used well.

For a first performance, this production of Come Blow Your Horn was incredibly strong, and will no doubt have a stellar season. So take trip back to the 60’s with the Cheeky Theatre Company- it’s a blast!

Venue: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street

Season: Until September 14
Tues – Sat: 8pm, Sun: 5pm

Price: Full $32, Conc $26

Bookings: http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=58045

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REVIEW: Cheeky Theatre Company Presents ORDINARY DAYS

Contemporary quartet give voice to the modern musical

By Myron My

Ordinary Days is a nuanced look at four people living in New York, and explores how chance encounters with others – no matter how small – can affect one’s life in significant ways. This original indie musical, with music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and directed by Chris Parker, is a great choice as the debut show for Cheeky Theatre.

Ordinary Days

The four performers (Anna-Louise Hammar, Caitlin Penno, Craig Irons and Nicholas Renfree-Marks) are all highly talented singers and when their voices were combined they created some truly electrifying moments.

Hammar is perfectly cast as the somewhat aggressive Deb. Her comedy timing is spot on and more often than not, merely her facial expression had the audience in stitches. Irons was also strong and committed as Jason, for even when singing and letting the song take him over, he remained passionately in character.

There are a few songs though that seem to be simply “filler”, and don’t do anything except showcase the singers’ obvious talents. The songs that really deliver are those that deal with the characters’ emotions and assist in moving the story forward. The four singers really connect with those moments, especially Penno as Claire, when singing of the tragedy of a past love in the moving “I’ll Be Here”.

However, there were times where projection was not as loud as it should have been and key lyrics were sometimes drowned out by the piano. Having said that, the music played by Stephen McMahon during the 80-minute show is quite mesmerizing and really holds this whole production together.

Despite the New York setting, the set design by Adam ‘Gus’ Powers and costumes for me brought flashbacks of John Brack’s famous Australian painting Collins St, 5pm. Everything we see is in shades of black, white and gray. This effectively conveyed the idea that these people are lost in the humdrum crowd but are trying to find their own path. The projection of various images at the back of the stage as crafted by Barton Thomas was used well to add to the physical environments we were seeing, such as city skylines and a painting to portray the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Overall, Ordinary Days is a strong debut production for Cheeky Theatre and they should be congratulated for championing original musicals, and bringing something so different to Melbourne’s burgeoning theatre scene.

Venue: Revolt Productions, 12 Elizabeth Street Kensington

Season: Until 6 July | 8:00pm

Tickets: $33 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: http://revoltproductions.com