Posts Tagged ‘francine cain

02
Feb
19

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Kenny Wax Ltd. & Stage Presence

In Association With David Atkins Enterprises & ABA

Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium

January 30 – February 3 2019

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

When the First Aider requires First Aid, what can you do?

 

After Mischief Theatre Company’s production of The Play That Goes Wrong, which made us laugh until we cried and cursed our non-waterproof mascara, we knew to expect from anything that followed, much hilarity and probably, an un-happy ending. This time, the Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society present their very special production of Peter Pan and we can only hope for a familiar ending to the classic tale. Or at least, with disaster after disaster turning Neverland into Never Again Land, a finale that leaves everyone alive. But if you’ve ever done a show on a community stage, or seen one, you’ll know that both quality and safety standards are the variables that make it exciting…and entertaining…and a unique experience that, once it’s all over and everyone has done the best they can, you feel compelled to experience it again! Such is the life of a Cornley player, each just doing what they have to do, to put on survive a show.

 

Clever actors-turned-writers, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields have followed their winning formula to create this new version of a behind-the-scenes spectacle in which anything that can go wrong, does. It might not be as strong a piece structurally as the original – The Play That Goes Wrong – but everything still fails miserably and falls apart beautifully, and it’s just as funny, if not funnier, because we know who’s who and we know what to expect from them. 

 

 

Luke Joslin, as well as playing to the absolute hilt, Robert the Co-Director, the shadow of Peter Pan, Pirate Starkey, and beloved dog/children’s nanny Nana, is also Resident Director on this touring production (originally deftly directed by Adam Meggido), which means every joke lands perfectly and the pace is kept snappy, except perhaps during Act Two’s lengthy revolving, unfolding montage of catastrophic climactic events, but this is by design. Let’s acknowledge that while Simon Scullion’s set looks simple, it incorporates tricks to rival those of Haversham Manor, designed by Nigel Hook for The Play That Goes Wrong. Costumes designed by Roberto Suce also appear to be typical of a community panto, and typically thrown together, but each addresses every detail of character and practical necessity, and the bright colours and a multitude of interesting textures and additions come together to delight rather than horrify, as is so often the case when costumes are credited as “cast’s own”.

 

 

Connor Crawford offers every annoyingly accurate quirk of an amateur director as Chris, who plays George Darling and Captain Hook. George Kemp returns as Dennis, playing John Darling and Mr Smee, although because Dennis doesn’t retain his lines, he has them fed to him by the stage manager in the wings (until he doesn’t!) via an obtrusive set of headphones that also enables him to give us the winning Powerball numbers and various other radio station snippets as well as the final moments of a marriage. Tegan Wouters, triple threat that she is, is wonderfully physical and vocal as Lucy, the shy and stuttering, eventually transformed, Tootles.

 

 

 

Adam Dunn is Trevor, the no-nonsense, no-idea, no-end-to-his-patience stage manager in his final year of training for the third year running, and he almost steals the show, such is his presence and perfect comic timing. (The combined and complementary energies, and the quick wit of Dunn, Crawford and Joslin in the audience before the show is unforgettably very funny). Matt Whitty and Jessie Yates are the understudies who appear as assistant stage managers to Trevor. Jordan Prosser plays Max who can’t act, but whose uncle contributed the funds to make the production possible, so he is given the roles of the smiling crocodile and Michael Darling, and with his Colgate smile he nearly steals the show! Francine Cain is Sandra, and thus, Wendy Darling, though you’ve never seen a good little girl behave quite like this one. Sandra has something rather intense going on with Jonathan, who plays Peter Pan, played by Darcy Brown and she also has some seriously impressive interpretive dance moves.

 

As Annie, Tammy Weller gets a series of the quickest quick changes we’ve ever seen, playing both Mary Darling and the maid, Lisa, and then risks death by fairy lights as Tinker Bell. In the meantime, as Tiger Lily, she is rescued from certain death (the only other extended scene, strangely lengthy). Is there a harder working actress at Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society than Annie? I think not. 

 

 

Jay Laga’aia doesn’t keep us waiting long to hear a few strains from the Playschool theme song, and as Francis, he has a fantastically fun time playing the Narrator and Secco the pirate. His warm, generous performance in both cases is well received, as is the abundance of fairy dust each time he enters or exits with a flourish, by those in the front row. 

 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, like last year’s The Play That Goes Wrong, could easily enjoy a much longer or more regular run in the right venue. (Another purpose built venue! Imagine that! In the meantime, imagine this franchise moving into Gail Wiltshire’s Twelfth Night Theatre. Actually, perfection), but it should be widely known by now that these touring productions in fact enjoy only a very short season before moving on. It’s simply not the same to sit in front of the 2016 film (or in front of any film when the live production is an option), so we must remember to take note of the early publicity and get tickets each time as soon as possible, and get a fix of Mischief Theatre’s special brand of hilarious, highly entertaining family friendly storytelling. I guarantee you’ll go home feeling better about any misadventures in your own life, reassured about your own ability to safely construct a bunk bed for the kids, and (as I am), completely convinced that we really do have some of the best talent in the world, right here on our own stages. If in doubt, if you’ve seen the Australian cast now, compare those performances with the ones below… But it’s true, right?

 

25
Mar
13

Grease is the word!

Grease

GREASE is still the word, as Australian theatre producer John Frost yesterday revealed the cast and tour dates for his new multi-million dollar production of GREASE, which will open as an Australian premiere at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on 27 August 2013.

 

In the lead roles of Danny and Sandy are musical theatre favourite Rob Mills and rising star Gretel Scarlett. Rob Mills made a name for himself in musical theatre performing Fiyero in the Broadway blockbuster Wicked in Melbourne and Sydney for two years, and will join GREASE after starring as Warner Huntington III in the hit musical Legally Blonde in Brisbane and Melbourne. Gretel Scarlett, who is a Queenslander, has played support roles in Wicked and Mamma Mia! and is excited to take on her first starring role.

 

Bert Newton returns to his radio roots to play the role of slick veteran disc jockey Vince Fontaine, while Todd McKenney dusts off his dancing shoes to star as Teen Angel, the good-looking, falsetto-voiced, Fabian lookalike. The role of All-American, rock-star student at Rydell High, Johnny Casino, has gone to Anthony Callea, returning to the musical theatre stage after success in Rent and Wicked.

 

Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies, will be played by Lucy Maunder (Dr Zhivago, The Threepenny Opera), and Kenickie will be played by Stephen Mahy (Jersey Boys, I Will Survive). The cast also includes Francine Cain (Frenchy), Chris Durling (Doody), Sam Ludeman (Sonny), Duane McGregor (Roger) and Laura Murphy (Jan).

 

GREASE is one of my favourite musicals, and with this top draw cast of musical theatre stars I have no doubt it will again be everyone’s favourite party musical,” John Frost said.

 

John Frost continued “I’m thrilled that Rob Mills will be our Danny, straight from his success in Legally Blonde, and that we have found a new leading lady in Gretel Scarlett. Both Rob and Gretel gave sensational auditions, and our UK creative team knew instantly that they were the ideal Danny and Sandy. And it’s wonderful again to be working with the wonderful Todd McKenney, the talented Anthony Callea and, for our sixth musical together, the irrepressible Bert Newton. What can I say about this cast – You’re The One That I Want!”

 

GREASE will open at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre Brisbane on August 27, with seasons to follow at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from October 13, and at her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from January 2, 2014.

 

Grease. Image by Damian Shaw.

GREASE is the Number One Party musical, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more.

 

So get ready to dust off your leather jackets, pull on your bobby-socks and take a trip to a simpler time as ‘bad boy’ Danny and ‘the girl next door’ Sandy fall in love all over again.

 

Tickets on sale from Monday 8 April at 9.00am. To book go to www.qpac.com.au or phone 136 246