Tag: Judy Garland

Review: EMILY TAYLOR in Cannonball

Dark clever comedy in MICF debut

By Tania Herbert

As the hub for the MICF, audiences are always full of energy at the Victoria Hotel. And energy is certainly not lacking from Emily Taylor in her one-woman show Cannonball.

Emily Taylor

The audience files in to Judy Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, but it is certainly a somewhat darker place than Oz that we find ourselves drawn into.

Initially a seemingly innocent comic farce set in a glass tower shopping mall, Taylor moves effortlessly through an array of comic characters connected to the tower. Be it a precocious child, an uptight German receptionist or a vomiting neurotic cat, Taylor completely transforms herself voice and body to encapsulate each character.

From a depressed window washer to a self-absorbed CEO Taylor was convincing throughout. “Deedee” the demonic cabbage patch doll was perhaps one of the creepiest comic characters I’ve ever had the somewhat uncomfortable pleasure of meeting.

However, as Cannonball charges on, we come to realise that the characters are not linked by the tower, but instead by their neurosis, with each fighting their own private battle with a problematic unconscious. Despite the increasingly heavy content, there is certainly no lack of comedy, and laughter came easily and in good measure. The adaption to each persona showed a truly consummate performer, and from Emily we see not merely a joke writer, but a formidable actor.

There is a fair bit of wrong in this show- but not enough that it stops you laughing, and the depth of content kept me musing through the next day. The show definitely had more of a feel of “Fringe” then “Comedy” and a very dark ending did not leave the audience laughing in the closing stages. However, it is always rewarding to be reminded that comedy is not only goofy stand-ups, but can also be clever, satirical theatre. If you like to mix drama with your comedy, Emily Taylor is certainly a performer to look out for in the future.

Cannonball played March 29 – April 7 at MICF. Emily Taylor’s next performance dates can be found here.

REVIEW: Declan Greene’s POMPEII, L.A.

A wry, absurdist take on the celebrity life

By Myron My

The Malthouse Theatre production of Declan Greene’s Pompeii, L.A. follows the fortunes of a troubled young child star after a terrible accident leaves him in hospital. Green looks at the influence and effects Hollywood has on such young impressionable people and speculates as to the ultimate fate that most of them will meet.

To begin with, Nick Schlieper’s slick set design was flawless: I would go so far as to say it was right up there with the most impressive stage designs I have seen.  There was so much attention paid to detail and ensuring the environment was as real as possible. Having such extravagant sets did run the risk of a clumsy transition with getting rid of and adding so many props and pieces, but scene changes were executed well and went very smoothly.

Also worth mentioning was the great play across such a large space. There were lavish scenes that spread out all over the stage which did create a sort of divide between us and the action and whether this was intentional or not, it worked well. In contrast, the scenes in the hospital which used a much a smaller space and moved closer to the audience created that intimacy and solitude one would expect.

I did find the story a little hard to follow, even somewhat convoluted. I appreciate what Greene was attempting to do in showing the surrealism existing between celebrity life and real life and exploring what can happen when the two worlds blur together but as an average audience member I was left wondering what was going on quite a few times which detracts from being able to immerse oneself into the experience. 

However, what the story lacked was more than made up by the actors, in particular David Harrison as the unnamed protagonist. Harrison played the role with realism and honesty, especially his scenes in hospital. Even when he was surrounded by exaggerated caricatures of people in those scenes, he still maintained the humanity and true emotion of his character. Belinda McClory was also great with her opening cameo as Judy Garland and continued to impress with the other characters she portrayed throughout. There were times I was unsure if there was a different actor performing, such were her chameleon ways.

Overall, Pompeii, L.A. is a thought-provoking production and considering how strongly obsessed our culture is with celebrities and their lifestyles, it’s an interesting piece of theatre that is well worth watching.

Venue: The Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank

Season: Until 9 December | 7:30pm, Sat 2:30pm, Sun 5:30pm

Tickets: $58 Full | $48 Concession | $28 Student

Bookings: https://boxoffice.malthousetheatre.com.au


Well-crafted cabaret nostalgia for the great jazz era

By Myron My

Fancy Meeting You is a cabaret set in a New York 1930’s jazz bar where the three employees of the bar – the Maitre D, the showgirl and the musician – share their stories of love to the beautiful music of Harold Arlen.

There is strong chemistry between the three stars, Amalie O’Hara, Kathleen Douglas and Izaak Lim as Maitre d’, Showgirl and Musician respectively while each character struggles with their own concept of love, for Miss Lucille (the Maitre d’) is pregnant and single, Maggie May Adams (the Showgirl) has a fleeting encounter with a stranger and Abe (the Musician) is losing the man he is in love with.

O’Hara is particularly strong as the Maitre d’ and demands your attention when she is on stage. In contrast, you have the aloof pretty showgirl in Douglas who offers the lighter moments of the show. Lim, who also performs some of the music, finds the nuances of his character and makes you feel the pathos he is trying to bring to the surface.

All three have strong voices, give exceptional performances when singing alone and complement each other when singing together. The great strength of Fancy Meeting You as cabaret is that the songs selected help further the story and show the feelings, desires and vulnerability of the characters. The accompanying piano skills of Tim Cunniffe are flawless and delightful throughout the show.

It wouldn’t be a homage to Harold Arlen without performing what is his most famous song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – the song that even to this day gives me goose bumps when I hear it.

Despite its fame and frequent use in cabaret, the trio manage to evoke the same yearning here that Judy Garland did when she sang the song – an impressive achievement.

In its homage to the Great American Songbook, Fancy Meeting You has strong performances and tunes that leave you with a bittersweet feeling by the end of it. A rich cabaret experience.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Season: Until 18 November | 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm

Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Concession

Bookings: http://thebutterflyclub.com