Tag: Cyndi Lauper

Melbourne 2016: KINKY BOOTS The Musical

Dazzling

By Jessica Cornish

In case you haven’t heard the Tony award-winning musical, I’m glad to inform you Kinky Boots has come to town. Reminiscent of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, Rent and with a splash of La Cage Aux Faux, this musical was two hours of pure joy, inspiration and all things that glitter. It challenges the broader community to accept all people for who they are (Maybe Malcom Turnbull should grab a ticket?), and for us all to have the courage to be proud of who we are.

kinky-boots-2016-melbourne-just-be-australian-cast.jpeg

With music and lyrics created by 80’s pop icon Cyndi Lauper, orchestrations by Stephen Oremus, a book by Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell, this beautiful story tells the tale of Charlie Price (Toby Francis) trying to save his family’s shoe factory by creating a new line of shoes for the transgender community inspired by an unexpected friend, Lola (Callum Francis).

The Australian cast were magnificent, giving an energetic and believable performance. But hands down, Callum Francis stole the show. This performer is a super star, his performance was flawless with silky smooth vocals, ounces of charisma and an overall incredibly strong stage presence. He was well complimented by leading man Toby Francis whose beautiful voice and vulnerability translated on to the stage effortlessly alongside Lola.

The music was playful and continuously rolled forward, and contained a balance of upbeat numbers interweaved with some beautiful ballads such as “Not My Father’s Son”, which explores the fallout of trying to live up to the expectations of those we love the most. And don’t worry, there are some more humorous numbers also thrown into the mix with the likes of “What a Man” and “The History of Wrong Guys”, the latter being a personal favourite that I feel a lot of women can relate to also.

The stage was painted with colour and beauty by the incredible costumes designed by Gregg Barnes, and further highlighted by clever lighting (Kenneth Posner), while the sound design was well-balanced and bright (John Shivers).

This modern-day musical is an upbeat, melodic pop-masterpiece that can live on outside of the walls of Her Majesty’s once the performance is done. Kinky Boots is easily one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve seen in Australia for years. If you only see one musical in the next twelve months, this is your pick!

12 October- 11 December

Ticket bookings: Call Ticketek 1300 795 012 or http://kinkybootsthemusical.com.au/

Price range: $60-$140

Her Majesty’s Theatre
219 Exhibition Street Melbourne

Image by Matthew Murphy

REVIEW: Melbourne Jazz Festival and CASSANDRA WILSON

Innovative, iconoclastic and exquisite

By Anastasia and Peter Slipper

The Melbourne International Jazz Festival certainly brought out the star power for their closing night last night with a standing ovation for singer Cassandra Wilson at Hamer Hall.

Cassandra Wilson

Wilson’s voice – honey-smooth, seductive and powerful – had the entire audience under her spell for two deceptively long sets, so that it almost seemed that she had the power to control time itself. Infused with the swampy blues sound of her native Mississippi, her performance showcased songs ranging from her early career to her latest album, Another Country, released last year. Wilson’s performances of covers were as heartfelt and individual as that of her own material, and the encore of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time was a masterpiece.

She is known as a performer who transcends genre, and this performance was no exception, although the blues were never far away. The backing ensemble of bass, percussion, guitar, violin and harmonica wove elements of latin, country and folk around jazz- and blues-based grooves in a perfect synergy. Arrangements were often sparse, providing plenty of opportunities for the five musicians to show off their improvisatory prowess – exciting and very much in-the-moment.

Swiss harmonica player Gregoire Maret was an absolute stand-out, kicking off the gig with his version of Stevie Wonder’s The Secret Life of Plants. Often compared with Wonder, Maret created supple tendrils of sound from his chromatic harmonica, building into virtuosic extended solos.

The diversity of Wilson’s performance reflected the nature of jazz in the twenty-first century – it doesn’t fit into neat little boxes of genre, or exist in isolation, but is one of many musical styles constantly evolving and adapting with new influences and innovation.  Under the stewardship of Michael Tortoni the Melbourne International Jazz Festival is to be commended for reflecting this diversity in the programming for 2013 – and these reviewers are certainly looking forward to what delights next year’s festival may bring.

Cassandra Wilson performed at Hamer Hall on June 9 2013 for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.