Posts Tagged ‘new york music theatre festival

10
Jun
15

Dust Covered Butterfly

 

Dust Covered Butterfly
Metro Arts, Thomas Hutchins & Jake Shavikin
Metro Arts Sue Benner Theatre
June 2 – 20 2015

 
Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

DCB_suffocation

 

 

Dust Covered Butterfly invites you along for a morally challenging ride of epic proportions ignited by fictitious story and fuelled by real events of serial killers, survivors, and kidnap victims. This new performance locks performer, character, and narrative in a basement with live original music where only the strongest can survive.

 
Plastic bags. Holy. Hundreds of them. White plastic shopping bags, having attained a reputation for languid beauty thanks to a famous film and awful infamy thanks to a number of killers. (I started a serial killer Google search but it was too disturbing). It’s a creepy set, living, breathing, and pulsating, but corpse cold at first, until later when it bleeds red. I don’t remember seeing the Sue Benner Theatre like this, although I recall sitting at a long table in the space where our seats are, with our bare feet in the dirt below, to join Robbie O’Brien and Erika Field for dinner during The Raven. Still, I’m disoriented, which is probably the ideal state in which to view this show.

 

We sit at the base of a stage of steps – the rises where the seats would be if we were not sitting in them on the stage – and slowly, a male silhouette appears to reign over this strange, silent white world. Microphones have been pre-set in their stands on the bottom step, the apron as it were. As if it were a stage. As if it were a cabaret show about to begin. AND WITH CHRIS FARRELL’S ENTRANCE IT DOES.

 

DCB_chrissfarrell

 

Think of Llorando in Mulholland Drive and, I don’t know why, but you’ll have the sense of it. Somehow Farrell manages to contain immense sadness veiled by something approximating sheer determination to enjoy the good times whilst struggling to behave appropriately in public places. When you see Farrell perform that might make more sense. Or…it might not.

 

 

 

 

Farrell is a beautiful, complex performer, taking us on a journey in this show that feels like we’re watching Dexter, in chapters, on the National Geographic Channel. It’s kinda’ wrong but it kinda’ works.

 

 

The text is Cotter’s, borrowed and torn apart and stitched together again from various sources, interviews with serial killers and personal accounts from survivors of the most unimaginable atrocities in basements for extended periods of time. I think I hear later, literally on the street outside Metro Arts, that the original concept was for a show without text. This almost explains the contemporary dance element, each performer indicating through shivers and ticks and leaps, an aspect of their character or their actions throughout the piece. It almost works at times, and at other times it’s distracting or not quite clear enough to warrant the extent of the repetition.

 

And the single plot line is not quite as clear as it could be – we need just a few more obvious clues as to what’s happening, but perhaps these are present when the players switch roles. So, there is work to do, but in this stage of its four-year life cycle, Dust Covered Butterfly is nevertheless an extraordinary combination of intriguing elements and formidable talent.

 

There are SO many elements, so many layers to this show, and just one disturbing theme.

 

 

What happens in the mind of a serial killer to make them decide to…

keep someone? AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS?

 

 

Captor – Captive – Bait

 

 

Three figures prepare to take on the roles and apparently, due to the audience vote; there is a different outcome for each performance. (And this as interactive as it gets, however; you might find this is confronting enough and not even feel comfortable to raise your hand!). On opening night we witnessed Katy Cotter as Captor, Bella Anderson as Captive and Michael Whittred as the Bait. Each is as comfortable in their role as if it were the only role they play during the season.

 

DCB_bellaanderson

 

Anderson is stunning, or if I were to apply senior student speak, Anderson is a total babe; I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more from her. She’s a trembling, remorseful captive with SPUNK. Poor thing. My heart breaks while my head whispers, “You stupid, stupid girl!” This is obviously the desired effect, it feels right. As Whittred, clad in a trench coat and jocks, leaps between the role of the Bait and his other as ROCK GOD. Robbie Williams, we love you but just stand still sometimes like THIS. OK? OK.

 

DCB_michaelwhittred

 

Very effective. Whittred’s presence and his haunting, searing rock musical score make this show the Something Rotten of the season and I expect to see a few noms on the table, regardless of the final outcome in the popularity stakes. (There are only 50 seats per performance). There is strong work here. Whittred’s rock mini-score is so polished, it’s ready for the studio. In fact, there’ll be a recording available at the end of the season. Leave your details at Box Office to get a copy so you can say, “I heard it first”.

 

In its current form it really does feel as if the show is crying out to be a musical. I’d love to see it put in front of James Millar and Peter Rutherford (then see them get behind it!). Dust Covered Butterfly is the stuff of New Musicals Australia, a development process that takes its successful participants to Hayes Theatre for a full season. AND THEN THERE’S THE NEW YORK MUSIC THEATRE FESTIVAL. Of course, with the final shows this weekend, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s part of the Queensland Cabaret Festival. GUYS, YOU REALISE THE LINK HERE IS KRIS STEWART.

 

DCB_katycotter_killer

 

As you might expect, Cotter plays the Killer coldly, and as you might not expect, warmly, with devastating compassion for her captive. Her care and concern becomes chilling and we get a glimpse into a serious case of Stockholm syndrome, which continues to fascinate me because of course, anybody in a long-term relationship is familiar with it. No, really, you must recognise the cycle of seduction and isolation and protection and obsession and intimidation and destruction… Is it just me? Okay, don’t tell Sam I said that. Maybe tell him? No, don’t tell him. Okay, tell him. I’ll just be here…waiting.

 

Cotter’s pink top reads not, “This is my dance space” but “KILLER”, and Anderson is dressed in a flirty white Some Like It Hot baby doll Marilyn frock with curious blackened – dead – fingers and toes, like Laura Palmer, dead, wrapped in plastic. But it’s not David Lynch throwing this party; it’s Thomas Hutchins, in his directorial debut, and it’s impressive. I like the choices here and I’d like to see it live again. Go catch it in this form though. It has a very short lifespan in this interesting space, with the current season ending June 20.

 

Production pics Morgan Roberts

 

 

18
Dec
13

International Cabaret Contest 2014 – 10 days left to enter!

 

 

The success of the Australian Cabaret Showcase continues this year as the event undergoes some exciting developments. In its 11th year, event organisers have renamed the annual event the Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YTICC). Executive Director of Your Theatrics and Producer of the contest, Jeremy Youett explains, “We considered the success and growth that the Showcase has enjoyed in previous years, and felt a rebrand of the event was necessary to accommodate new partnerships in New York and New Zealand, which are hopefully just the beginning of the International expansion of the contest.”

 

The International Cabaret Contest will offer unprecedented opportunities and prizes for Australasia’s hottest cabaret talent and will once again undertake heats in Sydney and Melbourne, while also venturing in to Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland, NZ for the first time.

 

Prizes at this year’s event will include the opportunity for the winner to perform a newly devised show for each of the 2014 Major Partners across Australia, with flights and accommodation for the winner’s New York appearance generously contributed by The Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation. The winner will also receive a photographic and design package courtesy of Blueprint Studios, as well as a website to help market themselves and their new show thanks to Empty Head Designs. The runner up in each city will also walk away with sought after prizes including the opportunity to receive coaching from some of the countries best industry professionals.

 

Youett said, “With generous support from the Dobell Foundation and the continued support of some of the world’s greatest Cabaret and Theatre Festivals we are able to provide an unequivocal opportunity once again for this years winner! I’m also excited to launch heats in New Zealand for the first time and I look forward to announcing further international expansion in years to come.”

 

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) returns as a Major Partner, as well as exciting new ventures with Slide Lounge in Sydney and Centre City Music Theatre (CCMT) in New Zealand. Our returning Major Partners include The Adelaide Cabaret Festival, The Melbourne Cabaret Festival, The Noosa Long Weekend Festival and The Ballarat Cabaret Festival. The Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation complete the bill of Major Partners for 2014 and will once again provide a cash prize of $1000 for the Festival Prize winner, while also continuing their work supporting Melbourne artists by travelling and accommodating the Melbourne heat winner to and from the Sydney Grand Final event.

 

The contest has built a strong reputation for showcasing a high calibre of performer and as a springboard into the professional entertainment industry. Past winners have gone on to become established professional performers on both stage and screen including Tom Sharah, Bradley McCaw, James Millar, Marika Aubrey, Nick Christo, Elenoa Rokobaro and Sheridan Harbridge.

 

BradleyMcCaw

 

Judges include acclaimed television personality and International Cabaret Contest patron David Campbell, Artistic Director of Brisbane’s Powerhouse Kris Stewart, Co-Artistic Directors of The Melbourne Cabaret Festival David Readand Neville Sice, producer Lisa Campbell, actress Delia Hannah, Agent Les Solomon, Chairperson of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Frank Ford, Artistic Director of Harvest Rain Theatre Company Tim O’Connor, entertainer Libby O’Donovan, Adelaide Cabaret Festival Producer Torben Brookman, Noosa Long Weekend Festival Artistic Director Ian MacKellar, Entertainment Producer of Slide Lounge Jeremy Brennan, and Ballarat Cabaret Festival Director Graeme Russell.

 

 

Each performer is asked to perform an eight-minute set with interlinking dialogue. Winners from every heat are then invited to perform in the Grand Final in Sydney (with flights and accommodation provided) on Friday 17th January at Sydney’s acclaimed live music venue, The Basement.

 

This year’s competition is open to people 18+ at all stages of their career, but places are limited. For more information, or an entry form visit www.yticc.com

 

 

 

 

16
Dec
12

The 10th Annual Australian Showcase…in Noosa!

 

 

 

cabaret showcase

 

 

For the first time a heat will be held in Queensland for

The 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase.

 

Jim Berardo’s sophisticated restaurant and bar on Hastings Street in Noosa, is the fine dining venue for the event, which has been sold out since the announcement of the heat! The Noosa crowd don’t miss much!

Your Enterprises’ Jeremy Youett has teamed up with local entertainment master mind, Manager of the Noosa Longweekend, Ian MacKellar, and Jim Berardo to create a one-of-a-kind cabaret evening.

The nine Sunshine Coast entrants include the dazzling Rachael Ward, fresh from her starring role in Chicago on board the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas and Adam Flower, who’s been laying low but whom you may remember from our production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which we staged in a warehouse in Kawana in 1999 and broke all Sunshine Coast box office records with Adam in the title role. It’s great to see him back on the circuit. IT WAS TIME.

Rachael Ward Chicago Allure of the Seas

With well-known local piano man, Simon Russell-Baker on the keys, and a dinner menu to make your mouth water, this is an exquisite night of entertainment that most of us will miss this time. And I would have told you about it earlier but there has been SO MUCH HAPPENING. That’s right. Real life has had to take precedence. There will be intermittent posts right up until late January, when we’ll LAUNCH THE WEBSITE. I KNOW.

It’s been a long time coming.

I’ll try to blog from Woodfordia (come see us at The Mystery Bus!), and if you don’t want to miss anything in the meantime

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If you managed to secure a ticket to the 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase in Noosa, enjoy a sophisticated and entertaining evening, hosted by Sam Coward and featuring some of our best new (and returning) talent!

Jeremy Youett Blueprint Studios

Jeremy Youett. Image by Blueprint Studios.

“Despite the challenges of continuing to produce the event when I’m based overseas, the Showcase is something I continue to develop because I strongly believe in it as a platform for developing and supporting Australian talent and the art form… I’m excited to say that we have just confirmed that we will launch heats in Adelaide for the first time in 2013 for the 11th Annual Showcase, with the support of The Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Artistic Director Kate Ceberano.”

Jeremy Youett, Producer of the Australian Annual Cabaret Showcase and General Manager of the New York Musical Theatre Festival

Winner of last year’s comp, Angela Harding, will perform her original cabaret show Just Like You…Only Different (MD Mark Chamberlain) on Friday 21st December at El Rocco’s (Bar Me) in Sydney