Tag: John Frankland

REVIEW: The Owl and Cat Presents BORDELLO

The brothel is open

By Myron My

Bordello, the newest production from The Owl and Cat Theatre, is an immersive theatrical experience revolving around one fateful evening at a brothel. We are free to explore the three-storey building of the well-known venue and follow the interlocking stories between the two owners of the brothel, Yvonne and David, its three employees, Trisha, Frankie and Cherry, and two of its clientele, Harry and Matthew.


This is very much a voyeuristic experience as the audience wanders around the premises, watching secret conversations and some highly intimate moments take place. Audience members are required to wear plain black masquerade masks (in the style of the famous New York installation production Sleep No More) throughout the course of the evening, which feels like a buffer between passively watching the story unfold and actively spying on these character’s lives.

Even though the story unfolds via multiple scenes being acted out simultaneously from various rooms in the venue, the script written by Thomas Ian Doyle and directed by Gabrielle Savrone is so well constructed and thought-out we can gradually put the pieces of the story together and understand the nature of the relationships between the characters. The pacing of the story, along with the snippets of intriguing conversations and scenes we watch, allows us to be absorbed by the world around us. However, the script itself needs some work in placing us in the time period in which we are supposed to be located. Despite the costumes indicating a 1920s environment, the words and language used were more suggestive of a modern vernacular.

Aly Calder is brilliant as Frankie, one of the employees at the bordello. Despite the character’s roughness, Calder very clearly shows her innocence and naivety allowing Frankie to come to life. Similarly, John Frankland as Matthew also does well with his characterisation and building on his character’s emotional development. However, I feel the rest of the cast need to work on creating more authenticity in establishing their characters’ thoughts, words and actions. There are many scenes that lack the passion or the rawness that a piece of work such as Bordello requires to be a success.

Bordello is definitely a great concept and offers an immersive entertainment opportunity I’ve not been able to experience for quite some time. It is a unique piece of theatre that is worth watching, but ultimately requires a clearer creative process underpinning its development in order to elicit a stronger response from its audience.

Venue: The Owl and Cat Theatre, 34 Swan St, Richmond
Season: Until 17 October | Fri-Sat 8.30pm and 10pm
Tickets: $39 Full | $32 Conc
Bookings: http://www.owlandcat.com.au

Review: THE BAD BOYS OF THEATRE are Not Quite Right In The Head

The boys are back in town!

By Meg Richardson

John Frankland and Andrew Strano are the Bad Boys of Music Theatre. And these well dressed, so called “Bad Boys” are back with their second full-length cabaret.

While their show last year declared their undying “bromance”, the boys have delved deeper into their psyches in this year’s show to explore psychological issues that are often found in the showbiz industry such as upstaging, narcissism, identity issues and many more.

This hour-long comedic cabaret has Andrew trying to help John to solve his crippling social anxiety by convincing him that he is a qualified psychiatrist. The audience is then taken on a journey of hypnosis, confessions and stories of daddy issues, childhood bullying and other would-be-sensitive issues of both John and Andrew’s pasts that have been stripped naked in the most jocular of ways. (We also see John literally stripped during the performance).

John and Andrew have a dynamic chemistry on stage that is apparent from the very beginning of the performance  with Andrew’s manic energy and lanky physical comedy balanced perfectly with John’s firmer, drier (and considerably shorter) comic stance.

With a clever blend of silly banter, re-worded cover songs, original numbers and multi-media, these two men have created a pace that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.  The boys cover artists ranging from Queen to (a rather large dedication to) Justin Bieber so there is something for almost any age group throughout the performance.

The multi-media arrangement of sound and video was near flawless and the cheesy, OTT pre recordings added an atmosphere to the show that couldn’t have been created on stage alone. Among these recordings were mock-up music video clips, television drama clips and a view into the human subconscious which had the audience laughing, singing and dancing along.

On top of all this, the duo have compiled a number of original songs that showcase their not only their hilarious writing ability, but their excellent vocal talent. They have also utilized their pianist, Lachlan – for more than just a few punch lines, but also as a vocal accompanist to add further levels to their already smooth, well blended harmonies.

The pair make a dynamic team and their newest production is really a delight to watch. They may not be “quite right in the head” but this performance is quite right in almost every way.

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran VIC 3181
Dates: 28 March- 1st April
Times: Wed-Sun 7:30pm, Thurs, Sat & Sun 2pm
Tickets: $25 Full, $20 Concession
Bookings: (03) 8290 7000, www.chapeloffchapel.com.au

REVIEW: The Bad Boys of Music Theatre are A FINE BROMANCE

Classic, charismatic and campy good fun!

By Kim Edwards

There were tech problems, the show went up late, and a Sunday night crowd were initially unreceptive. But Andrew Strano and John Frankland ( in order of appearance, lads) worked their considerable charm and won over their audience with aplomb.

Think the Rat Pack meets Lano and Woodley. The Bad Boys are all about on-stage dynamic and the banter is brisk and boisterous. The show itself hinges on the hilarity and harmonics of their (denied) homoerotic relationship: it’s a testament to the lovability of the characters and their love/hate/show-tune chemistry that they even got some ‘aws’ among the laughs as they expounded the perils of bromantic guy love.

Strano’s loud lanky comedy is both cute and clownish. His pace is feverish and his energy frenetic, while Frankland plays the – er – straight man, offering a more subtle and natural comic timing and tone. Last night some glib patter drowned out key jokes with premature reactions, and a few bawdy jokes missed their mark, but it was obvious this was well-tuned material that any other night would chime resoundingly.

Accompanied by the ever-versatile Trevor Jones at the piano and some fun multimedia, the Bad Boys did wonderfully bad and witty things to music theatre lyrics (including their own original song Amazing which you can find on Itunes) and best yet, these guys can really sing. Great warmth of sound together, and their harmonies were lovely as a counterpoint to snappy self-conscious jokes and the tales of their rambunctious relationship.

It’s a familiar formula, but the Bad Boys of Music Theatre hit all the right notes in the classic two-hander cabaret comedy-style. With their brand of sleek slapstick humour and their musical bro-etry, it’s clear these two boys were simply and bromantically meant to be together. Catch them for their last week of their Melbourne International Comedy festival season!

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Dates: 31st March – 23rd April
Tickets: $25*, Tight Arse Tuesdays $17.50* (*plus transaction fee)
Times: 10:15pm, Sun & Mon 10pm
Bookings: (03) 8290 7000, www.chapeloffchapel.com.au