Tag: Nicholas Renfree-Marks

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

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REVIEW: Cheeky Theatre Company Presents ORDINARY DAYS

Contemporary quartet give voice to the modern musical

By Myron My

Ordinary Days is a nuanced look at four people living in New York, and explores how chance encounters with others – no matter how small – can affect one’s life in significant ways. This original indie musical, with music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and directed by Chris Parker, is a great choice as the debut show for Cheeky Theatre.

Ordinary Days

The four performers (Anna-Louise Hammar, Caitlin Penno, Craig Irons and Nicholas Renfree-Marks) are all highly talented singers and when their voices were combined they created some truly electrifying moments.

Hammar is perfectly cast as the somewhat aggressive Deb. Her comedy timing is spot on and more often than not, merely her facial expression had the audience in stitches. Irons was also strong and committed as Jason, for even when singing and letting the song take him over, he remained passionately in character.

There are a few songs though that seem to be simply “filler”, and don’t do anything except showcase the singers’ obvious talents. The songs that really deliver are those that deal with the characters’ emotions and assist in moving the story forward. The four singers really connect with those moments, especially Penno as Claire, when singing of the tragedy of a past love in the moving “I’ll Be Here”.

However, there were times where projection was not as loud as it should have been and key lyrics were sometimes drowned out by the piano. Having said that, the music played by Stephen McMahon during the 80-minute show is quite mesmerizing and really holds this whole production together.

Despite the New York setting, the set design by Adam ‘Gus’ Powers and costumes for me brought flashbacks of John Brack’s famous Australian painting Collins St, 5pm. Everything we see is in shades of black, white and gray. This effectively conveyed the idea that these people are lost in the humdrum crowd but are trying to find their own path. The projection of various images at the back of the stage as crafted by Barton Thomas was used well to add to the physical environments we were seeing, such as city skylines and a painting to portray the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Overall, Ordinary Days is a strong debut production for Cheeky Theatre and they should be congratulated for championing original musicals, and bringing something so different to Melbourne’s burgeoning theatre scene.

Venue: Revolt Productions, 12 Elizabeth Street Kensington

Season: Until 6 July | 8:00pm

Tickets: $33 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: http://revoltproductions.com