Posts Tagged ‘amanda harrison

30
Jan
18

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show

 

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show

Gordon Frost Organisation, GWB Entertainment and Howard Panter Ltd

QPAC Concert Hall

January 19 – February 11 2018

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

Don’t dream it, be it.

 

The message has never been clearer: you can be whatever you want to be. But somewhere along the way, has Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show taken this lesson a little too literally, and lost some sense of self?

 

It’s still a ridiculously fun, kitsch show (a ridiculous, fun, kitsch show) – it’s even retained a little bit of its naughtiness (the bed scene is still hilarious, although, thank Adam, not quite as lewd) – but it seems it’s not only the size of the production that’s been scaled back. With Craig McLachlan’s departure from this slick little mini-production from London and even less time allowed than in 2014 for the double entendres and sight gags to sink in, it’s no longer a wild and untamed thing. Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is practically PG.

 

 

In London, in 1973 the very first Rocky Horror Show genuinely shocked audiences, and with the 1975 release of the film (a dismal failure at first, and let’s not even speak of the appalling remake from 2015), based on the stage production by Richard O’Brien, this strange encounter of virgins and phantoms and aliens quickly became a cult classic. The show has played all over the world non-stop for 45 years, and in case you were unaware, an audience participation ‘script’ informs both screenings and live performances, although the Brisbane Cards 4 Sorrow crowd (if that’s who they were. Incidentally, their next floorshow is in March; check it out here) didn’t get much of a look in this time, the couple of determined callouts deflected without hesitation by Narrator, Cameron Daddo, superbly and very suavely his natural self in this coveted role). Perhaps they felt, after the initial bold outburst, that QPAC’s Concert Hall was not the place for it…

 

Tim Curry remembers the moment he realized that his performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in “The Rocky Horror Show,” the London stage precursor to the 1975 cult film, was no longer his alone.

 

David Bowie and his wife at the time, Angela, were in the audience that night in 1973. Onstage, Frank, the hypersexual alien mad scientist, was being held at ray-gunpoint by his former servants, Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn). They were about to shoot when Ms. Bowie shouted, ‘‘No, don’t do it!”

 

Indeed, the Concert Hall feels like the least likely space in which to experience Rocky Horror, but Mamma Mia! continues to claim the Lyric until February 4. According to one of the venue’s producers, we’ll likely see more of this use of the Concert Hall, which has historically been home to artists and acts of a slightly different ilk. Perhaps the precedent was set by Harvest Rain, with their full-scale musicals in this space before a move across the road, or had it been set already? It’s truly magnificent to have so much coming to Brisbane that QPAC (booked ahead for years you understand), must utilise every space, but by the same token, it’s a firm reminder that we are in desperate need of another performing arts venue in Brisbane that doesn’t also serve as a convention centre or conference location.

 

In exciting news for independent artists, presenters and producers seeking a brand new and intimate performance space, XS Entertainment is issuing an invitation to come play with us on the Sunshine Coast. 

Email xanthe@xsentertainment.com.au for available dates and details. 

 

It could be said that this version of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show continues to suffer from its smaller scale, although probably not if you’ve never seen it live on stage before…

 

 

A couple of Rocky Horror virgins joined me on opening night, and despite some confusion surrounding the story and some horror/mock horror moments – cold blooded murder and beneath-the-bed-sheet sight gags – they enjoyed the show and the performances from a cast rocked by allegations against the previous leading man, made before the Brisbane season commenced, by Christie Whelan Brown, Erika Heynatz and Angela Scundi, cast members from the 2014 production and, for the record, as far as I can see, all without reason to fabricate anything against anyone to further their careers. (Honestly. The things people say). Regardless of our understanding of the facts, the women experienced something that negatively affected them.

 

It doesn’t matter if we would not be affected in the same way. What happens to a person happens to them in a way that no one else can ever fully appreciate. It is a person’s right to feel the way they feel about a situation. 

 

The producers had told us in the early press, “this is sure to be an even wilder and sexier night out than ever before…” and perhaps it is, if you don’t get out much. The reward this time, if you’ve seen the show before, is in the night out itself, the whole event of going to the theatre with friends, a bit of fun, and also, thankfully, in solid performances across the board.

 

 

The standout, however, is Kristian Lavercombe, with more than a thousand performances to his name as Riff Raff. Again, he’s absolutely sensational, building vocally on the work we’d heard previously and deceiving us into thinking we’re witnessing Richard O’Brien’s soul take up residence in another body. Amanda Harrison holds her own as the Usherette and Magenta. (It’s a really tough gig to keep us enthralled throughout that opening number of obscure sci-fi references and plot points!)

 

 

It seems appropriate to note that one of the best ever in this dual role, Jayde Westaby, can be seen across the hall until February 4 as Tanya in Mamma Mia!

 

 

Brendan Irving is, once again, just beautiful as the all-singing, all-posing, all-glittering and glistening Rocky, bringing to life a scene that threatens to slow the bull-in-a-china-shop pace if it were not for his impressive posturing. The hand mic, used inexplicably by both Rocky and Frank-N-Furter for this scene and the following, loses its potency after about three seconds, becoming a distraction. I’ve never understood its inclusion. Also, Irving’s an aerialist and I’m still confounded as to why his considerable skill in the air hasn’t been incorporated by Director, Christopher Luscombe. The bizarre interruption of Eddie (James Bryers) also lightens the mood before it turns gruesome, with Frank’s response to the appearance of this unwelcome guest. Unfortunately, Hot Patootie is turned into an untidy non-event rather than featuring as the fully choreographed showstopper it might be (and wasn’t it, in 1992?). This time the morbid game of chainsaw cat and mouse played out across the stage is chaotic, but doesn’t add to the excitement of the show. This oddity, common in blockbuster smash hits demanding more of the marketing and publicity teams than of the touring company, occurs across the entirety of the show, with the exception of Lavercombe’s Riff Raff and Rob Mallet’s (adorable) Brad. The ensemble is rounded out by Michelle Smitheram as Janet, Nadia Komazec as Columbia and Phantoms, Bianca Baykara, Ross Chisari, Hayley Martin and Stephen McDowell. The on-stage band is ably led to light speed by MD Dave Skelton.

 

As for Australia’s newest superstar, Adam Rennie turns the role on its head to become the sweetest transvestite we’ve ever seen. It’s true, he’s missing some specificity and physical extravagance (Tim Curry speaks about creating the character here), at least on opening night, although he may have spiced things up and nailed more precise movement (and electrifying stillness) towards the end of the season, but he’s gorgeous and he makes it his own. His is a thoroughly entertaining performance, marked especially by sensational singing and his unique sweet and cheeky take on the role. In fact, whether or not he means to, Rennie comes across as just about the antithesis of McLachlan’s leering hyper sexual alien scientist. And despite being at odds with the character’s placement and purpose in the story, it’s refreshing, perfectly non-threatening, and perfect for this (political climate) light, fun, smash-hit re-staging, which really does appear to assume we’ve seen it all before, and also, that its audiences will continue to get younger and younger… (The film retained its R-Rating in some countries for the single silhouetted sex scene). QPAC advises: This show has rude parts…parental guidance recommended.

 

Why go back again and again to Rocky Horror? It makes little to no sense, neither its costumes (Sue Blane) nor its fluid sexuality are particularly shocking anymore, and we can watch the original film, which is arguably the best version anyway, whenever we like. But there’s something irresistible, isn’t there, about the electric energy of a live glam rock infused performance, and the permission to relinquish judgment and inhibitions, as well as the fleeting connection with strangers in a dark space, lost in time, and lost in space. And meaning.

 

 

Enjoy the ride and take what you will, again, from Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show.

27
Mar
14

A Little Night of Music – Songs From the Silver Screen

 

 

A Little Night Music – Songs from the Silver Screen

MontroseAccess

Flinders Performance Centre

Friday March 21 2014

 

 

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Well THAT happened! WOW!

 

 

On Friday night at Flinders Performance Centre we welcomed some of Australia’s top musical theatre talent for A Little Night of Music – Songs From the Silver Screen for MontroseAccess.

Thanks to Patrice Tipoki, Simon Gleeson, Amanda Harrison, Chelsea Gibb, Mark Vincent and Laura Tipoki.

Thanks to our host, HOT91FM’s Todd Widdicombe, our SM Guy Harrison, Venue Manager, Sarah Sullivan, and thanks to everybody who managed to get a ticket and support MontroseAccess.

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We heard songs from the movie soundtracks of Frozen, Ghost, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Moulin Rouge and more! And the glorious thing about a show like this is that it’s so good you get that lovely feeling, wishing it would go on forever.

But there is NOTHING like the calibre of this night happening again on the Sunshine Coast until MEOW MEOW returns on April 5 at The J, Noosa. SEE YOU THERE! And in the meantime, I hope you booked your tix for Patrice and Simon’s Les Miserables because the rest are about to sell out!

Thanks to Leanne Liesegang and  MontroseAccess for having us along for the fabulous ride this year!

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20
Mar
14

Special Guest Musical Theatre stars appear at BYTE & Matthew Flinders

The Sunshine Coast has welcomed some of Australia’s top musical theatre stars, with special events for students at Buderim Youth Theatre of Excellence (BYTE) and Matthew Flinders Anglican College.

 

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Yesterday, Chelsea Gibb and Amanda Harrison appeared at Buderim Memorial Hall for a discussion with Robyn Ernst’s BYTE Master Class students about the performing arts industry in Australia and overseas.

 

These two triple threats were relaxed and chatty, as they sat,  swinging their legs, on the edge of the stage and talked about how they got their start in the industry, what it’s like to be “stayers” in the industry and what differentiates a dancer from a “mover”. They discussed what it is that makes it all worthwhile, how to fit a family and the demands of being a mother into a real working career in the performing arts, and shared some valuable tips for auditions.

 

Run up a hill until your heart is beating SO fast and stop and sing. That’s what it’s like to sing when you’re nervous, with your heart beating that fast…You have to squish it all down! – Amanda

 

Gaining experience, skills and work outside of the arts industry is vital to sustaining a career in musical theatre, at least in this country, and so is having a close-knit group of like-minded friends to help you through the lows and celebrate the highs. Amanda noted that so many of the friends come from wherever you’ve studied and of course, from the productions in which you’ve been involved.

 

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Both Chelsea and Amanda mentioned their concerns over the rise and rise of the Internet during their careers, and the damage that heartless, careless critics and bloggers can do to artists and to the industry. They explained very well that as artists they expect support and honest feedback. Chelsea admitted she doesn’t mind if an individual doesn’t love her interpretation of a character, or her tonal quality, but doesn’t see the need for a reviewer to resort to personal jibes and attacks. Amanda agreed and both advised staying away from what’s written about the show you’re in while you’re in it!

 

Today Matthew Flinders Anglican College students will have the opportunity to attend a Q&A session at Flinders Performance Centre during their lunch time.

 

Chelsea and Amanda will be joined by Simon Gleeson, Patrice Tipoki, Mark Vincent and Laura Tipoki. Patrice and Laura Tipoki are MFAC Alumni and Patrice joined us last year, with Lucy Durack and David Harris for a similar special event.

 

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If you haven’t booked yet for A Little Night of Music – Songs from the Silver Screen you can do so HERE

 

 

With this calibre of talent on stage together AT THE SAME TIME EVEN there really isn’t anywhere else you should be!

 

 

Brisbane and Gold Coast friends, are y’all coming up for this? IF NOT WHY NOT!?

 

 

SEE YOU THERE!

 

17
Mar
14

Don’t miss A Little Night of Music – Songs from the Silver Screen

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Starring Patrice Tipoki, Simon Gleeson, Amanda Harrison, Chelsea Gibb & Mark Vincent

 

 

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At Flinders Performance Centre in Buderim for ONE NIGHT ONLY enjoy an evening of your favourite film songs, hosted by HOT91FM’s Todd Widdicombe and performed by some of the brightest stars of Australian musical theatre for MontroseAccess, supporting children with physical disabilities.

 

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FRIDAY MARCH 21st

Flinders Performance Centre

Stringybark Road, Buderim

 

Show starts 7:30pm

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Bookings trybooking.com/75622 or call 5477 2964

 

05
Mar
14

A Little Night of Music – Songs from the Silver Screen coming soon to the Sunshine Coast!

Are you ready for this? Some of Australia’s best musical theatre talent for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

 

For ONE NIGHT ONLY in Buderim at Flinders Performance Centre on Friday March 21 we welcome the following stars to the Sunshine Coast!

 

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Patrice Tipoki – Fantine in the upcoming professional touring production of Les Miserables

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Simon Gleeson – Valjean in the upcoming professional touring production of Les Miserables

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Amanda Harrison – Wicked, An Officer and a Gentleman

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Chelsea Gibb – Chicago The Musical

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Mark Vincent – Australia’s Got Talent

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Laura Tipoki – Associate Musical Director Wicked

It’s not often we see this calibre of world-class talent together on a Sunshine Coast stage! 

Leanne Liesegang, of MontroseAccess, says, “Any one of this incredibly talented group would be a huge drawcard and MontroseAccess is privileged to have them all performing in our fundraiser for local children with disabilities.” 

To enquire about special prices for student groups and members of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance email lliesegang@montroseaccess.org.au

BOOKINGS trybooking.com/75622 or call (07) 5477 3200