Tag: Rainer Pollard

2016 Graduating Music Theatre Company of Federation University Australia Presents THE ADDAMS FAMILY

Inventive and energetic production of quirky gothic musical

By Amy Planner

That kooky family that we all know and love has been reborn in musical form in this production of The Addams Family, with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Presented by this year’s music theatre Arts Academy graduates from Federation University Australia in Ballarat, and based on the original cartoon characters by Charles Addams, this amusingly spooky tale is witty, unique, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky.

The Addams Family.jpg

This gloriously gloomy tale follows the Addams clan as they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Wednesday decides she wants to marry the very normal, very cheery, yellow wearing boy, Lucas Beineke. When their families meet for the first time, when basic black meets bright and shiny, something is bound to go wrong.

This off-beat musical was decisively dependent on their creative team, whose unique vision of this crazy family and willingness to step outside the box certainly paid off. Director and choreographer David Wynen and musical director Rainer Pollard proved satisfyingly that what you think you know should never be what you expect when it comes to musical theatre.

The cast were diverse, multi-talented and even controversial at times. As is often the case in large-scale productions, some performers were stronger than others and deserve special mention such as Andrew Thomas as the seductively romantic Gomez Addams, Liam Dodds as the hilariously kooky Uncle Fester, Georgia Moore as the solemn but somehow hopelessly in love Wednesday Addams, and of course Paige Easter as the slightly off-centre and forever rhyming Alice Beineke.

The ensemble is also highly engaging: long moments pass where your eyes are glued to the ghostly figures in the background and yet you are still more than thoroughly entertained. These Addams ancestors, decked out in clothing from various eras, dance and sing their way through the entire show, including most notably the Roman Luke Wilson and Equestrian Rider and show dance captain Eliza Grundy.

These sleek era-styled costumes of the ensemble were the work of costume & set designer Adrienne Chisholm, whose work was artistically distinctive in the face of the extremely iconic image that is the Addams Family.

There were a number of technical difficulties throughout the performance I attended, with a few mic fades, some lighting trouble, a couple of projection issues and a 47-minute technical-related intermission. But despite all this, the performers remained calm and in character and should be commended for their professionalism.

If musical theatre and a little nostalgia are what you’re after, this production will delight and stimulate. You really should go and see ‘em, they really are a screa-um – check out The Addams Family. *Click *Click.

SHOW DETAILS

Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda

Season: June 18th-25th 2016 – Wed to Sat 7.30pm, Sun 19th 3pm, Sat 25th 1pm.

Tickets: $50 Full, $40 group 10+, $35 Conc, $10 Fed Uni Students (plus $2.50 booking fee)

Bookings: theatreworks.org.au

Image by Jodie Hutchinson

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REVIEW: Impromptunes – WHOSE CHORUS LINE IS IT ANYWAY?

Madcap musicals made to order

By Narelle Wood

Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is improvised comedy and musical theatre all rolled into one and a show you could certainly see more than once, because every night is a brand-new performance.

Whose Chorus Line Is It Anyway

The premise of the show is simple; the audience give the cast the title of the musical and what happens from there is anyone’s guess, even the cast members. We were treated to a musical entitled Friday Nights, which had jail breaks, glitter use and a campaign for culottes, which are able to free women from the oppression of skirts and men from the constriction of tight pants. The result of these shenanigans was the creation of a genderless society, mnan, who put the ‘com (that is communication) back in community’. In the realisation that a genderless society would struggle to repopulate the earth, the mnan once again become man and woman. But there are no spoilers in this tale, for who knows what new journey tonight, or any of the shows, will take you on.

The extremely talented cast includes the likes of the company’s director Emmet Nichols, Stuart Packham, Emily Taylor and George Gayler, just to name a few. It was fascinating to watch how they were able to pick up and run with whatever their fellow cast members came up with, no matter how insane or bizarre. This was especially evident during the musical numbers where they seldom missed a beat. Nichols’ portrayal of a Scotsman, with an accent so thick it’s unintelligible to anyone but a fellow Scotsman, was a highlight, and epitomised the phrase ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.

Lights and musical accompaniment helped set, or in this case develop, the scene and musician Rainer Pollard provided the cast with every music theatre genre, from ballads to toe-tappers, to work with: there was even a dance break. Musical highlights included “There’s a Jail Break”, “I’m Changing Me”, and the title number from the show, “It’s Friday Night”.

If you’re comfortable with laugh-out-loud, zany storylines, put together by clever performers, who can and do change the story’s trajectory on a whim, then Whose Chorus Line is it Anyway? is a show well worth seeing.

Venue: The Loft, Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne
Season: September 20th to October 4th, 6.45pm, Sundays 5.45pm
Tickets: Full $24| Conc $19
Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/impromptunes/