Posts Tagged ‘mark vincent

05
Jun
15

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage

 

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

John Frost, Karl Sydow, Martin McCallum & Joye Entertainment

in association with Lionsgate & Magic Hour Productions

QPAC Lyric Theatre

May 28 – July 19 2015

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

 

kirbyburgess_kurtphelan_theaustralian

 

 

If you haven’t heard anything around the traps like, “WELL THE LAST TIME I SAW DIRTY DANCING…” or “I THINK I PREFERRED THE ORIGINAL BECAUSE…” you’ll love this production. It’s the scaled back touring version but look; all over the world there are people who haven’t eaten today. So how much you gonna’ complain? We’ve been seeing more and more mega musical theatre and dance productions stop by Brisbane (this one’s unashamedly a dance production), largely due to the concerted efforts of John Frost and those who would follow in his footsteps, and this is certainly not the worst of them, although it could be much, much better.

 

 

Kirby-Burgess-Baby-and-Kurt-Phelan-Johnny-c-Jeff-Busby-682x1024

 

 

It’s literally “the classic story on stage”, the famous movie brought to life, and people LOVE IT!

 

 

I enjoyed this Dirty Dancing, I really did, it’s lots of fun, but there are some things that miss the mark. Firstly, there is the obvious casting issue of Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle, the sexy Kellerman’s dance instructor. Phelan’s a terrific dancer and he’s got a cool Kenickie style swagger, but Patrick Swayze he is not. Every other character has been created in the likeness of their movie counterpart and for the best effect, this approach should be consistent.

 

 

Kirby Burgess, the shining light of this show, presents a beautifully measured genuinely naïve Baby-who-becomes-a-woman; she’s possibly been asked to channel Jennifer Grey on stage (whilst retaining her own vibe, the mark of a natural performer), whereas Phelan must have been advised to forget Swayze’s portrayal and make the role his own. This he does and it only vaguely works, despite his prowess as a dancer. There’s nowhere near the same level of charisma, nor the depth of emotion in his interactions with Baby. BUT I CAN SEE THE YOUNGER PUNTERS ADORE HIM.

 

 

 

 

Some of the best moments from these two? The steamy end of Act 1 is as sexy as this show gets AND IT’S HOT – you’ll def want another daiquiri during Interval – and this is where we finally see a connection between our two leads. ABOUT TIME. We LOVE Baby’s secret solo dance practice in the Wipeout montage (even Rocky had a montage), and the gorgeous Love Is Strange “lover boy” scene in which the pitiful son of the owner of Kellermans, Neil (Gabriel Brown, either too young for the role or he’s playing it too young), interrupts Baby and Johnny in the studio. Burgess steals the scene with her parody of the parody of Johnny’s teaching style.

 

 

Secondly, the pace is super fast and sometimes the short scenes are so slickly delivered and abruptly finished that I feel we’re being cheated. Yes! Cheated! I want everybody to SLOW DOWN and indulge in some of the major moments, so that we can indulge in those moments – there are so many wonderful moments – and relive our delight and surprise of seeing the film for the first (or seven hundredth time)! It’s like watching the movie trailer but not the movie, and I feel there should be more…everything; more songs, more scenes, and more detail in order to fully develop the story because the story, as it’s told on stage, is lacking. Apparently, there is 40% more new material! But I want smooth transitions too.

 

 

And I’ll tell you something else. You’ll laugh out loud. Because I hadn’t read the reviews from Sydney and Melbourne (ain’t nobody got time for that!), I DIDN’T REALISE IT WASN’T A MUSICAL. I KNOW. I’M AN IDIOT. OF COURSE IT’S A DANCE SHOW. DIRTY DANCING. RIGHT? RIGHT.

 

 

Dirty-Dancing-by-Jeff-Busby

 

 

I was genuinely surprised when none of the leading characters broke into song!

 

I know my sharp intake of breath was heard (because I got a raised eyebrow from a woman nearby like, “I KNOW, RIGHT?!”) when Johnny didn’t even start singing She’s Like the Wind, the track Swayze wrote and recorded for the soundtrack of Grandview, USA (when it wasn’t used for Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, Swayze pitched it to the Dirty Dancing team). WHAT THE? I’m truly disappointed that the show’s creators thought this unnecessary.

 

GUYS. LISTEN. WRITE THE SCENES. WRITE THE ADDITIONAL SONGS. LET THE LEADS SING THE SONGS. IT’S NECESSARY.

 

kirbyburgess_markvincent

 

I love Mark Vincent as Billy, who gets to sing a bit and does so beautifully. In the Still of the Night is a highlight and it’s a shame that a number of little moments involving him are glossed over because as a “non-actor” (I don’t know why we say that about singers, or let them say it about themselves. I take it back!), he brings a natural warmth to the stage, and we need more of it. I enjoy Eric Rasmussen’s musical numbers and you know I LOVE seeing the band on stage, and in this case I’m thinking that with such a slick outfit available it’s even more ridiculous to deny the other artists the vocal lines in the songs.

 

 

BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I THINK. THE SHOW WILL SELL OUT.

 

 

It’s clear on opening night that the audience is comprised of many serious fans that know the film inside out and back to front. They pre-empt each iconic scene and all the classic lines.

 

 

keep-calm-and-carry-a-watermelon-45

 

 

My German homestay student, Nici, is one of the more obsessive ones. She joined us in January to attend one of the local high schools. The first film we all watched together at home was Dirty Dancing. SHE LOVES THE MOVIE AND LOVES THIS PRODUCTION. SO I BOUGHT HER THE SHIRT AND PROBS SHOULD HAVE ASKED HER TO WRITE THE REVIEW.

 

 

While I was at another opening night on the company’s night off this week she messaged me to let me know

 

 

BABY IS IN THE HOUSE!

 

 

kirbyburgess_legends

 

keep-calm-cause-nobody-puts-baby-in-a-corner

 

 

HA! OBSESSED.

 

 

Maddie-Peat-Kurt-Phelan_www.fabulous-femme.comcopyright--1024x682

 

The ensemble is excellent and full of energy. There doesn’t appear to be many of them on stage but they clearly relish their roles and given any opportunity to do so, dance up a storm. Adam Murphy is a stand out as Baby’s daddy, Dr Jake Houseman, because JUST LIKE THE MOVIE ONLY YOUNGER. AND MORE SUAVE, IN THAT OLD FASHIONED MISOGYNISTIC MUST-CHANGE-FOR-THE-SAKE-OF-MY-WIFE-AND-DAUGHTERS SORTA’ WAY. Chris Ostrenski is a suitably shallow, callous, gorgeous Robbie and Teagan Wouters OWNS the role of Baby’s sister, Lisa, although you’ll have to decide to love or loathe her carefully produced speaking voice. Maddie Peat is not my ideal Penny but I had expected any Penny to gradually let us get closer and closer as she breaks and begins to heal again, and not just high-kick her way through the show. Penny’s got a hell of an arc; hers is the toughest sub-plot to pull off and I just wasn’t convinced. BUT LEGS! YES! SHE’S GOT ’EM!

 

Now here’s a weird one. While most of the design elements work surprisingly well, the iconic let’s-get-outta-here field and lake scenes projected across a scrim really DON’T (are they supposed to? Really? Is it a joke?), AND there is a strange amused/bemused ripple of laughter as the splash of the sound effects are added. I think it feels, by this stage of the show, that we’ve accepted the questionable creative choices, shrugged them off and decided WHAT OF IT. IT’S STILL GOOD. This comes after a LOT of cheesy mime, which is well executed but IT’S WEIRD. WHERE’S THE CAR?

 

one-does-not-simply-do-the-dirty-dancing-lift

 

When it comes to the final scene and THE LIFT the crowd goes crazy and I decide WHATEVS. GET THOSE BUMS ON SEATS. What a great show to see and for its duration, not have a care in the world. How lucky are we?

 

 

There’s not a lot of deeper meaning here. Every opportunity to bring us the story we love in a new light is missed. (I’m not sure why we get a racial tolerance lesson towards the end either; we know when and within what context the story takes place, but perhaps it’s just as well, considering the timing of ABSINTHE opening across the bridge in King George Square, currently enjoying a similarly deliriously happy customer base despite its appalling spoken content… We shall overcome? Shall we? Really? Does anyone tell the truth anymore about what they’re seeing?

 

 

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage seems to be a simple case of GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT WE TELL THEM THEY WANT. And clearly, what we want is a frozen watermelon & rum daiquiri (it was delicious), a glittery merch shirt (I wore it to school yesterday), and an energetic, shiny show overflowing with nostalgic nods to its source material, reaffirming where we are as a nation in terms of popular entertainment. And where are we?

 

STUCK ON REPLAY, HAVING THE TIME OF OUR LIVES. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. IS THERE?

 

dirtydancing1

 

 

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

 

 

IMG_2169

 

 

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.

IMG_2138 IMG_2139

 

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!

leanneandxanthe_fridaymarch21_2014

 

 

 

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.

 

chelsea&amanda_bytes

 

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.

 

chelsea&amanda_serious

 

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.

 

Patrice Tipoki_colour

 

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

montroseaccess_alittlenightofmusic_image

 

 

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

 

 

patricetipoki_lesmis_headshot

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.

 

Amanda Harrison_colour

FRIDAY MARCH 21st

Flinders Performance Centre

Stringybark Road, Buderim

 

Show starts 7:30pm

alittlenightofmusic_buderim

Bookings trybooking.com/75622 or call 5477 2964

 

14
Mar
14

Sunshine Coast Arts Friday March 7

 

 

SCD Arts Friday March 7 2014

 

Xanthe Coward

 

Patrice Tipoki_colour

Sunshine Coast to host top musical theatre talent

 

Never before has the Sunshine Coast seen so many of Australia’s best musical theatre stars together on the same local stage. This year, after a sell-out show in 2013, A Little Night of Music returns for one night only, at Flinders Performance Centre in Buderim on Friday March 21. Hosted by Hot91FM’s Todd and Sami, A Little Night of Music features Patrice Tipoki (Fantine in the upcoming professional touring production of Les Miserables), Simon Gleeson (Valjean in the upcoming professional touring production of Les Miserables), Amanda Harrison (Wicked, An Officer and a Gentleman), Chelsea Gibb (Chicago) and Mark Vincent (Australia’s Got Talent). Joined on stage by our favourite local talent, don’t miss a spectacular evening of the very best songs from the silver screen. With all proceeds going to MontroseAccess, supporting children with disabilities, this is a must-do very special event.

 

Special prices for student groups and Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance members (email lliesegang@montroseaccess.org.au).

Bookings trybooking.com/75622

 

Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance AGM

After three years in the position, President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, XS Entertainment’s Sam Coward, was re-elected this week in a unanimous move to continue bringing new groups to the Alliance and new audiences to local theatres. Stephen Moore was elected Vice President, Julie Marshall Treasurer and Samantha Fazldeen Secretary. The Alliance welcomes new members and supports pursuits in the performing arts for fun and for industry. Details livetheatre.com.au

 

Winning Playwrights National One-Act Playwriting Competition

Congratulations to the finalists of the 2014 Noosa Arts Theatre National One-Act Playwriting Competition, Frank Wilkie for his play, The Devil’s Dance, Michelle McCormick from Western Australia for The Invitation, and Michiko Beatrice Lee Parnell from Western Australia for Instructions For Two or More Players. This is Noosa Councillor Frank Wilkie’s second time as a Finalist. No surprises there, as Wilkie’s wonderful theatrical work has been entertaining us for years. The three one-act plays will be staged in July at Noosa Arts Theatre, with two special performances included in the Noosa Long Weekend Festival program. Details noosaaartstheatre.org.au and noosalongweekend.com

 

NT Live War Horse

Have you ever experienced the life-sized puppets of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage? See the only Sunshine Coast screenings of the National Theatre’s acclaimed production of Michael Monpurgo’s novel War Horse adapted for the stage by Nich Stafford, at Noosa Arts Theatre today at 1pm & 7:30pm, Sunday at 6:30pm and Monday at 10am. Bookings noosaartstheatre.org.au or call 5449 9343

 

Accidental Death of an Anarchist

PAK presents Dario Fo’s hilarious slapstick comedy, which allows its characters to rollick into spectacular absurdity whilst the status quo tumbles into mayhem, and profound political discontent. An evocative and highly entertaining production preceded by Italian themed entertainment and food festival next to the University club. Bookings trybooking.com/73979

 

anarchist_cast

 

Minefields and Miniskirts

The true stories of women who experienced the Vietnam War are poignant and funny. After all, no bomb ever killed the Australian sense of humour! Featuring iconic songs of the era and local talent including Jo Hendrie, Sharon Grimley, Julia Verburgt, Kitten Styler, Tania Nash and Jannine Ritchie, Minefields and Miniskirts is full of surprises. These are ordinary women revealing the extraordinary ways they survived a war. Noosa Arts Theatre March 14, 15, 20,21 & 22 at 7:30pm, March 16 at 2pm and March 22 at 1pm. Bookings noosaartstheatre.org.au or call 5449 9343

 

minefieldsandminiskirts_umbrellas

 

Motherhood Out Loud

A contemporary collection of personal truths and funny commentary about the small successes and pitfalls of parenthood, Motherhood Out Loud will make you go home and thank your mother! Featuring Susie Pritchard, Debbie Pitura, Cathy Quinn, Wendy Silvester, Matt Nisbet and more. Buderim Memorial Hall March 14, 15, 21 & 22 at 8pm and March 16 & 22 at 2pm. Bookings batstheatre.com or call 5445 2515

 

Four Weddings and an Elvis

Sandy, the four-times-married-three-times-divorced owner of a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, has certainly seen her fair share of matrimonies!  In this hilarious and heart-warming romantic comedy, we witness three of her most memorable:  Bev and Stan, who are getting married as revenge on their exes;   Vanessa and Bryce, two arrogant, aging stars who are tying the knot as a publicity ploy;  and Martin and Fiona, a gentle postal-worker and a tough ex-con who couldn’t be more in love!  However, the final wedding is the most touching of all! Coolum Civic Centre Friday March 21, 22, 28 & 29 at 7.30pm and March 23 & 30 at 2pm. Cabaret seating (tables of 8). BYO Nibbles & Drinks. Bookings www.coolum.com.au/theatre or 07 5446 2500

 

Auditions

PAK presents the Queensland premiere of In The Heights for an August season. Auditions Monday March 18 at the Yoga Room USC Stadium from 10am (musicians) and Tuesday March 11 from 10am (actors, singers, dancers). PAK productions are open to all USC staff and students. For details email Pak.usc@gmail.com