Tag: Giancarlo Salamanca

StageArt Presents THE FULL MONTY

Yes, they do

By Tania Herbert

StageArt‘s production of the Broadway version of The Full Monty with book with Terrence McNally and score by David Yasbek opened to a full house and enthusiastic audience, and a vibrant cast and impressive production team certainly gave it their all.

the-full-monty2017-stageart-wem-etuknma-scott-mackenzie-giancarlo-salamanca.jpg

That said, there is a reason that The Full Monty doesn’t get regularly produced in Australia – unfortunately the show is, overall, fairly awful. The same storyline as the wonderful 1997 British film is more or less followed, however by Americianising the storyline and approach, nothing is gained but so very much is lost. Lacking depth, sensitivity, and self-insight, it’s inherently a limited script which doesn’t even get close to doing justice to the range of social and emotional issues that the original film touched upon.

That said, this cast certainly performed the heck out of it– managing to bring likeability to a series of fairly unlikable American stereotypes. Scott Mackenzie took on the lead of Jerry and did an admirable job of pulling the story along, and sidekick Dave, played by Giancarlo Salamanca, sang beautifully. However, the somewhat dragging first act was well and truly saved by the character roles-  Wem Etuknwa as ‘Horse’, Barbara Hughes as Jeanette and Ana Mitsikas as Vicki all enter the show quite late, but really added the comic element and brought about a much needed lift.

It said something that the musical’s showstopper was the filler number Jeanette’s Showbiz Number– although the better-paced second act not only brought a lot more laughs, but really built a sense of anticipation of the finale as the other big and highly enjoyable showstopper moment (and in case you’re wondering- yes, they do).

The music is neither memorable nor particularly interesting, with the exception of the exquisite funeral song You Walk With Me, touchingly performed here by Montgomery Wilson with Adam Perryman. Despite this, the musical direction (by Nathan Firmin) was superb, utilising the very vocally strong ensemble to the fullest.

The staging under the direction of Drew Downing was interesting and contemporary- a minimalist construction site set brought in lots of movement and levels, and the onstage band added a bit of a rock-musical feel.

The Full Monty is, unfortunately, not a great musical,- but StageArt’s production was still a highly enjoyable evening with a rocking cast, slick production and plenty of talent on show (pun intended).

The Full Monty is presented by StageArt and is playing at The National Theatre from March 3 until March 19.

Tickets: $49-$74 from www.stageart.com.au

Image by Belinda Strodder

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REVIEW: StageArt Presents A SUPER BRADY CABARET

TV’s favourite family hit the stage

By Narelle Wood

It’s a story we’re all familiar with; a woman with three girls, a man with three boys and a happy household where no problem is ever too big to solve. But A Super Brady Cabaret explores more than the wholesome, teeth-flashing, perky family, it also delves into the darker side of the Brady Bunch.

A Super Brady Cabaret

The show opens with a familiar tune and the ‘on air’ antics that ensue are all the smiley, over-enthused fun and cheese you would expect from the Brady Bunch. Then the ‘on air’ light blinks off and the ‘real’ relationship between each of the cast members comes to life.

Lauren Edwards (Carol), Paul Congdon (Mike) and their six children (Kathleen Amarant, Thomas Bradford, Sophie Weiss, Giancarlo Salamanca, Nicola Guzzardi, Dylan Licastro) are perfectly casted. Under the direction of Drew Downing, this cast form is a flawless ensemble; it was impossible to pick a favourite amongst Marcia’s overt sexuality, Bobby’s watermelon smile, Cindy’s lisp or Jan’s whining. Instead, the highlights of the show come from the onstage chemistry between cast members and their well-timed interactions, as well as some witty and unexpected moments in the script.

The storyline is tight and the songs are well suited to the era of the tv show, featuring hits such as “Islands In The Stream”, “Happy Together:, and “Keep On” made famous by the original Brady Bunch. For all the frivolity of the cabaret there are also some poignant questions that the show deals with, such as what happens to each member of the bunch when the Bradys are no longer?

It’s hard to leave A Super Brady Cabaret without feeling warm and fuzzy, with every moment having either made me smile or laugh out loud. A Super Brady Cabaret is a feel-good way to finish off your day.

Venue: Chapel off Chapel
Season: Wednesday – Saturday, 6.30pm, until 13th June
Tickets: $39 Full | $31 Conc
Bookings: chapeloffchapel.com.au

Image by Belinda Strodder

REVIEW: Seussical – The Musical for MICF

Cute  and crazy musical comedy

By Deborah Langley

The Athenaeum stage was at bursting point last night for the opening of Seussical: The Musical when the 25+ cast from Old Carey Performing Arts Club brought all your high school musical fantasies to bear in this larger-than-life production.

Seussical

Based on the extraordinary children’s books by Dr Seuss and after the runaway success of the Broadway version of this magical tale, the show is a song-and-dance feast for the little people in your life.

The story follows the adventures of Horton the Elephant (Sam McPartlan), who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. He soon discovers that within this tiny speck exists the smallest planet in the sky and on this tiny planet is a race of creatures, known as the Whos, that need his help. Horton does everything in his power to save them because ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’

While the premise of the production relies on a clever lighting design by Giancarlo Salamanca and a childlike imagination,  we are introduced to many new creatures and jungle animals – some easier to envision than others – as we get thrown around from story to story in this crazy Seuss world.

The highlight by far is the vocals of the amazing cast: Eleanor Horsburgh gave a cute and comically infectious performance as Gertrude with her lovely voice and characterisation, and Elise Cavallo was appropriately amazing as Mayzie with her powerful vocals and brilliant back-up birds (Charlie Helliwell, Samantha Paulin and Sarah Cuthbert). Andreas Katsiroubas as Jojo sang well and gave a solid performance, but Cat in the Hat (Mark Yeates) only came into his own in his audience interaction in Act Two (although some of his antics seemed to verge on inappropriate for a family show). Professional musical theatre performer Nicholas Renfree-Marks (The Wind In The Willows) was the stand-out as Sour Kangaroo, channeling both Freddy Mercury and Aretha Franklin in his memorable performance.

Playing at the Athenaeum Theatre from Monday 7 April, OCPAC’s Seussical: The Musical will inspire your children to imagine anything is possible, even if the second act leaves them a little dumbfounded as to how. It’s just a shame they can’t appreciate the amazing orchestra directed by Daniel Donovan who are hidden away behind a scrim until curtain call.

Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: Monday 7th through Monday 21st April (for times, see below)
Tickets: $30 adult, $19 children under 16. $79.80 Group of 4 ($19.95 per ticket)
Bookings: Ticketek, Comedy Fest Box office, at the door
Info: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/seussical

Times: Monday 7 April 6:00PM, Monday 14 April 11:00AM
Tuesday 8 April 2:00PM, Tuesday 15 April 2:00PM
Thursday 10 April 11:00AM, Thursday 17 April 11:00AM
Friday 11 April 11:00AM, Saturday 19 April 11:00AM
Saturday 12 April 11:00AM, Monday 21 April 6:00PM