Posts Tagged ‘stephen mahey

29
Aug
13

GREASE

 

GREASE IS STILL THE WORD

 

Guy Frawley caught up with the GREASE gang in the lead up to opening night. Guy loved the show and we did too. I defy anyone to not enjoy it!

You can read Poppy’s Perspective at the end of the week (there is school in the meantime…for us both!).

Now that the show has opened you’d better book! It’s a sell-out!

 

40 years after the first Australian production, producer John Frost is bringing back the “number 1 party musical” for a three-stop tour around Australia. Having opened on Sunday in Brisbane, the show is set to run for several weeks at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre before opening in Sydney (October 13th) and Melbourne (January 2nd).

 

The current version of the much loved musical is a direct transfer from London’s West End and explodes onto the stage with dazzling sets, bright costumes and a cast so bursting with energy and enthusiasm it’s impossible to look away. From the moment the band strikes up with the first bars until well after the show is over you’ll be humming along to the familiar soundtrack and wishing there was a re-wind button to give you the chance to relive the numbers over and over again.

 

We all know the songs and the story (whose childhood didn’t include endless reruns of the Paramount film?) and I’m sure that most of you will have seen the show before in a previous incarnation. But it’s the cast that keeps this show fresh and will keep you cheering for more when the final curtain closes.

 

Rob-Mills-new2

 

Like John Travolta and Richard Gere who both made their break into professional theatre with minor roles in Grease before winning the role of Danny, Rob Mills was first seen in Grease back in the 2005 Arena Spectacular as Johnny Casino.

“It was great fun, but I always wanted to be a T-Bird during that production!” said Mills about his previous role.

 

After a month of rehearsals it’s obvious how excited both Rob Mills and Gretel Scarlet (Sandy) are to be playing to a live audience “I think just having the first audience in has been the highlight for me so far” he enthused and Scarlet was quick to agree “It’s just getting better and better every show…. We rely a lot on the audience in this show for comedy, for fun, for the vibe so it’s great to get out there on stage and to feel like we’re upping the ante each time.”

 

Gretel-Scarlett-Colour1

 

This is the sixth time that Frost has produced Grease and it looks like he has the casting down to a fine art, with the production crew assembling a cast, each and every one of whom appears to have been born to play their roles. They might make it look effortless on stage, but Gretel Scarlet makes it clear that winning their roles was no small feat “It was intense, my audition went over two weeks and 5 or 6 call backs…there was a panel of 10 producers and it kept going and going from there, it was a big process!”.

 

Todd-McKenney1

 

Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine, Val Lehman as Miss Lynch, Anthony Callea as Johnny Casino and Todd McKenney as Teen Angel have all been cast for star power and they all shine as brightly as you’d expect. McKenney as Teen Angel especially brought the house down in Beauty School Dropout leaving the audience screaming with applause, moments after they’d been screaming with laughter.

 

There are just 6 weeks of shows left before Grease must close in Brisbane and move south, tickets a selling fast so hand jive onto the QPAC website and book yourself tickets to the best rock’n’roll party in town.

 

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

 

18
Mar
13

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody

AB Presents

Twelfth Night Theatre

15th – 24th March 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

SPANK! The Fifty Shade Parody

Well, look, it’s no use telling you that SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is not my cup of tea. I suspect I would have enjoyed it (or forgiven it) a whole lot more after several cups of something stronger. Perhaps not. It’s unauthorised, it’s unashamed, and it’s here for one more week, so if you usually enjoy Twelfth Night Theatre’s shows, here’s one more you can say you’ve seen.

 

The Australian premiere on Friday night of this brand spanking new comedy (sorry, couldn’t help it and now that I’ve indicated the level of wit in the show we need not mention it again) was one of the strangest opening nights I’ve attended in a long time. Twelfth Night Theatre in Bowen Hills is an older venue, and it looks the way it did in the 1960s, according to a woman at the bar who was there then too. I believe it. I’m also inclined to believe that there’s been nothing spent on its upkeep since and that makes me sad. Imagine how fine this theatre could be!

 

Stephen Mahey

Anyway, this terrific trend of taking drinks into the theatre means that the lines at the bar stretched back to the box office, and it seemed to take a good while to get everybody seated. For those of us waiting patiently, there was a lush red curtain, a trunk, a glass, a bottle of Chardy, and the matter of the recent lawsuit being settled to ponder. Behind us there was a great deal of excitement, and a great deal of shrill laughter before the show even started. I tweeted of the audience, “This is everybody who is not at Manpower.” Perhaps I should have followed the flock and bought another drink couple of drinks.

 

There had clearly been pre-pre-show drinks enjoyed elsewhere by many, an audience representing a surprisingly broad cross section of the population, though managing still to comprise mostly of cougars, and among them not one familiar face. Phew. It occurred to me again, as it does whenever I find myself at Twelfth Night Theatre, that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not done nearly often enough. Now THAT’S the sort of non-sensical cultish smut we should be enjoying more of!

 

Caitlin Berry SPANK!

The material in this case is certainly on a par with Fifty Shades of Grey so if you hated the book, probs don’t go. If however, you loved the book, laughed about the book, or loved laughing about the book or its many parodies with friends, don’t miss this show. It just might be your perfect girls-night-out! Imagine! Oh, how I love my friends! It’s a parody – a total piss-take – so the script is rightly corny, and at times it’s actually very funny, even without being party to the in-jokes. See, without actually reading the book I had read enough, and heard enough about it to appreciate the content. What I appreciated much more than that though was the total commitment and truly awesome talent of performers, Rebecca de Unamuno (The Chasers’ War on Everything), Stephen Mahey (Jersey Boys, I Will Survive), and Caitlin Berry (South Pacific, Dr Zhivago). I’m not sure what the agents’ advice had been (“nice work if you can get it”?!), but I tell you what, if it were not for these two, Mahey and Berry, the show would have been absolutely agonising from start to finish, especially from our dead centre front row seats, which you wouldn’t want for a 3D movie, but if you enjoy being within spitting distance of the hot male lead, you’ll find a front row position very satisfying indeed. Oh, and on that, I’m very sorry blokes, but Berry leaves her clothes on, which leaves me baffled, because why, oh why, may we not also enjoy the flesh of the female? Is it seen as sexist now to watch a chick strip? I feel sure I’ve asked this question before. Double standards are not my forte. Somebody please enlighten me.

 

Mahey and Berry bring complete commitment to the storytelling task, and tongue-in-cheek (and unforgettable, best-of-show, toothbrush-in-cheek) overtones to the delivery style so you can’t help but enjoy yourself. As so many others and I maintain, as well as our substance we need our… sweets. Judging by the hecklers on opening night, some of us need our sweets more than others. And the script plays to that, with Berry approaching random audience members with a hand-held mic and asking deeply personal questions to which we would prefer not to hear answers. Just saying.

 

226798_124753407706007_621139686_nLook, you might as well go see SPANK! It runs until the 24th March in Brisbane and it will, undoubtedly, tour the country after that. It’s not high art but it’s a fun-filled night out and a sure-fire hit that will have the same result as the book has had…you won’t want to be left wondering what all the talk is about!