Tag: Daniel Tobias

Daniel Tobias in THE ORCHID AND THE CROW

A warm and witty look at life and brush with death

By Myron My

Our twenties are generally spent figuring out who we are and what we want to get out of life. At 29, Daniel Tobias just wanted to live. Diagnosed with stage-four testicular cancer, with stage five being death, Tobias faced a long and scary battle, and despite the cancer having spread to his abdomen, lungs and neck at one point, it has been a battle he has been winning for the last twelve years. In The Orchid and the Crow, Tobias retells significant moments from this experience through a variety of songs, music and performance.

The Orchid and the Crow.jpg

From the instant he appears on stage, it would be hard not to like Tobias. He is very affable and while there is a cheeky grin to him, there is also a vulnerability that he displays to the audience. Moreover, the show’s constant dynamic style and story switching – from a rock song about his parents falling in love to a retelling of how he was diagnosed to even an ode to his fallen testicle in Italian – keeps his audience engaged the whole time.

In the early part of the show, Tobias focuses on his “religious” upbringing: being an atheist Jew who ate bacon and celebrated Christmas. There are some light-hearted moments but with the well-placed hospital curtains as stage backdrop, there is a distinct sense of something looming. Given the show’s premise, it’s of course no surprise what this is. However it still feels like a bomb has been dropped when his story reaches his diagnosis, upon which the latter part of the show focuses.

Tobias raises some interesting points about life and beliefs, but after that dramatic turning point in the narrative, I felt that there needed to be a stronger link or call back with the initial religious aspects of his show. Furthermore, while the Italian song is executed brilliantly with the projected animations and surtitles, I wonder if it could have had even more impact had it been sung in Hebrew and thus tie in better with the story.

It feels wrong to say I enjoyed The Orchid and the Crow, given the nature of the show and the experience that Tobias has had, but it is enjoyable, and is a testament to his performance and writing skills that there are plenty of laughs to be had. It may even be the reminder call you need to re-evaluate what is important in your life, regardless of how old you may be.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda

Season: Until 15 May | Tues – Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5pm

Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc

Bookings: Theatreworks

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MICF 2016: SUNNY RAY AND THE MAGNIFICENT MOON

Family festival fun with the sun

By Joana Simmons

Our favourite friends who warm our days and add wonder to our nights bring songs, stars and sparkle to the Spiegeltent and the 2016 Melbourne Comedy Festival for ages four and up. Fresh from a critically acclaimed world premiere at Sydney Festival, Sunny Ray and the Magnificent Moon, invented by Clare Bartholomew and Daniel Tobias (creators of Comedy Festival favourite, Die Roten Punkte) is a polished, humorous take on what happens when the sun stays up all night to party with the moon.

Sunny Ray

Every day Sunny Ray (Clare Bartholomew) wakes up before everyone else (even the birds!) She brings life to the plants and the sky with her cherry songs and sparkly demeanour before sending them to sleep and handing the sky over to the Magnificent Moon (Daniel Tobias). In an Elvis-meets-Abba white jumpsuit and silver cape, he hangs out with the stars and parties through the night: playing his electric guitar, crooning about his face and his phases, and I can’t help but take a shine to him. Sunny Ray wants to stay up late like and party with the Magnificent Moon so hides behind a cloud and they do all sorts of fun and naughty things all night!

This show has colour and heart. It promotes the ideas that ‘you are the best at being you’ and ‘sunshine never goes out of style’ and teaches us all sorts of things, like where daylight savings comes from. The puns and funny bits for the big kids sprinkled throughout are clever to the point where I wanted more, and the original songs of various genres- folk, funk, disco and pop give the show pace and a chance for the audience to get involved.

Bartholomew’s portrayal of Sunny Ray is bright and likeable and whilst her delivery of her songs was animated, the vocal quality was rather lacking and pitchy in contrast to the more accomplished Tobias. That being said, the harmonies and movement in the duo numbers are bang on. A highlight for me is the physical comedy and clowning between the two- you can tell they are seasoned artists, and the audience is onboard the whole way.

A magical starry curtain and well-designed props provide the perfect backdrop for this Arena Theatre Company gem directed by Christian Leavesley, with dramaturgy from Casey Bennetto (Keating! The Musical).  If there’s only one show you take your kids big and small to this festival, make it this one- it’ll brighten your day.

Venue:        The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne

Dates:          Tuesday 5 until Sunday 10 April

Time:          11am

Tickets:       $25

Bookings:   www.comedyfestival.com.au