Tag: Nathan Pinnell

REVIEW: Twisted Broadway 2015

“Broadway in a Brand-New Key”

By Bradley Storer

Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS brought together a stunning ensemble of Australian music-theatre talents last night for Twisted Broadway, a gender-bending re-interpretation of musical theatre’s greatest hits, to raise money for research and developmental programs for people living with HIV/AIDS. The sense of community and giving was palpable, all the performers and creative team donating their time and energy – even the set for the show was donated by The Production Company‘s current show Nice Work if You Can Get It.

2015 Twisted Broadway Hosts_Photo by Kayzar Bhathawalla

Kate Ceberano, one of the evening’s hosts, began the show as a literal MC – the classic character from Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, spiritedly singing ‘Wilkommen’ and showing some impressive high kicks as she introduced us to the ‘twisted’ male and female ensembles and the Twisted Broadway orchestra, under the direction of James Simpson. She was followed by the glorious tenors of Blake Bowden and Josh Piterman, both bringing lead man charisma to the Jekyll and Hyde duet ‘In His Eyes’, before fellow host Eddie Perfect joined Ceberano onstage to introduce the evening officially.

The first half of the show was dedicated mainly to ensemble numbers, highlights including a cheeky ‘Gee Officer Krupke’ by the female ensemble of West Side Story, a campy male version of ‘Make Him Mine’ by Ed Grey, Alex Given and Drew Weston, a bevy of showgirls accompanying Melissa Langton as she charmingly crooned ‘All I Care About is Love’, a trio of male Lion King ensemblists bringing Motown realness in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ all the way to Nathan Pinnell leading the ensemble of Anything Goes in a joyous ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’. A few choice solo performances were dotted throughout, Akina Edmonds‘ soulful take on the Schwartz classic ‘Lost in the Wilderness’ standing out in particular.

After a fantastic ensemble opening of ‘On Broadway’ choreographed by Michael Ralph, the second act brought spectacular solos from a variety of performers. Rob Mills hilariously sent himself up in a re-vamped version of the audition sequence ‘Climbing Uphill’ from The Last Five Years, Tom Sharah stole the show with his ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’, and Queenie van de Zandt brought the audience to their feet in a roof-raising ‘What Kind of a Fool Am I?’. Perfect debuted a charming song from his unseen musical version of the classic Australian film Muriel’s Wedding with help from Casey Bennetto, and the male ensemble delivered a testosterone-charged ‘Be Italian’ led by Mike Snell before Josie Lane closed the evening with a thunderous ‘Goodbye’.

Producers Michael Benge and Kate MacDonald informed the audience at the end of the show that over $50,000 had been raised for Oz Show Business Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, making a perfect end to this marvellous night of music theatre all done in the name of a good cause.

Venue: State Theatre, Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda, Melbourne.
Date: 17th August, 2015
Time: 8pm

http://www.twistedbroadway.com.au/

Image by Kayzar Bhathawalla
Advertisements

Review: The Production Company Presents GYPSY

Everything’s coming up up roses

By Bradley Storer

The Production Company brings together a star-studded cast in this presentation of what can be described as the greatest musical in the American tradition. Like a musical version of King Lear, Gypsy presents the tale of Mama Rose as she fights, batters and tramples all the obstacles in the way of propelling her two daughters to stardom, even as they resist and try to escape her iron grip.

Caroline OConnor

Christina Tan as the young girl who grows up to be the eponymous Gypsy Rose Lee, is perfect as both the boyish, plain Louise at the beginning of the show, looking adorably innocent in her baggy oversized clothes, as well as the glamorous and seductive burlesque star that she becomes over the course of the narrative. However, in the strip tease sequence in Act Two (which illustrates Gypsy’s rise to her full potential as well as to stardom) Tan does not fully embody the burgeoning self-confidence and realisation that would bridge the gap between the two sides of the character.

Gemma-Ashley Kaplan as Baby June, Rose’s favoured child, brings both perkiness, a bright piercing belt and an underlying exhaustion to the role – her younger counterpart is equally amazing, possibly more so in some of her dances! Nathan Pinnell as the dancer who runs away with her steals the show with just one song and a brilliant choreographed dream ballet (choreography by Andrew Hallsworth).

The brilliant Caroline O’Connor is a phenomenon as Mama Rose, bringing layer upon layer to this larger-than-life character. This is a woman so consumed by her dreams and fantasy of stardom (vicariously lived out through her daughters) that she is hopelessly disconnected from everyone around her, most of all her family. In every one of Baby June’s dances we see Mama Rose flitting in and out of the background and off to the side of the stage repeating the choreography; whenever she by chance enters the spotlight her face breaks out in with unadulterated pleasure that is simultaneously comic and pathetic. O’Connor’s characterization brings to mind those other great tragic characters of American literature, Willy Loman and Blanche DuBois, both sustained and eventually destroyed by their dreams.

Matt Hetherington as Herbie, her lover/business partner is quite subdued, but the pair have a sweetness that makes the disintegration of their relationship as a result of Rose’s ambition all the more poignant – here Hetherington shines with a quiet dignity.

Gale Edwards brings an expansive directorial vision to this great American musical, emphasising how all these characters, whether or not they are onstage, are performers – acting out their own internal fantasies or forced to live inside a role that has been thrust on them by someone.

Venue: The State Theatre, The Arts Centre, 100 St Kilda Rd

Dates: Sat July 6th/Wed 10th/Thur 11th/Fri 12th/Sat 13th at 7:30pm; Sat July 6th/Sat 13th at 2pm; Sun July 7th/Sun 14th at 3pm

Prices: From $23 (C Reserve U18) to (A Reserve) $115

Bookings: http://www.theproductioncompany.com.au/