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FROM DOWN UNDER: New Australian musical Ladies in Black

In Australia, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

Nurtured and delivered by two state theatre companies, whose core business is straight plays, the surprise in the success of Ladies in Black is not so much that this happened at all but that it does not happen more often. Overseas, the subsidised or nonprofit theatre realm is often a melting pot for new music theatre work. Following this pattern, Ladies in Black should now be picked up by some lucky producer for a healthy commercial run. Fingers crossed that this will turn out to be the well-deserved outcome in this case.

FROM DOWN UNDER: Cats

In Australia, Musicals, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

While the show as a whole may be losing some of its impact with each return visit, this season serves to provide a showcase for many emerging talents. The proliferation of performing arts training courses provides a ready supply of highly qualified triple threats. With the dancing still at a very high level, this is the best singing I have ever heard in the show. Musical director Paul White has imbued the ensemble singing with the tightest dynamics heard on this stage since Wicked, and the featured roles are none too shabby either.

FROM DOWN UNDER: The Sound of Music

In Australia, Musicals, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

He may be a week early, but Santa has delivered the music theatre revival we have all been waiting for. Attractive designs, intelligent, respectful direction and a knockout cast combine to create the freshness and excitement that must have been felt when The Sound of Music first premiered back in 1959.

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FROM DOWN UNDER: The Marriage of Figaro – Opera Australia

In Australia, Concerts, Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

Played straight and true, characterful comedy The Marriage of Figaro is all the funnier.

Listening to the rapturous music and watching the comic complications crescendo, Sir David McVicar’s authentic production allows the genius of Mozart and librettist da Ponte to be fully appreciated for the pure brilliance of its simplicity and elegance. The second in McVicar’s Mozart-da Ponte trilogy of new productions for Opera Australia, The Marriage of Figaro is gentler than the darkly dramatic Don Giovanni but just as intriguing and affecting.

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FROM DOWN UNDER: City of Angels

In Australia, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

The cream of Australian music theatre talent shine in this most intelligently adult of Broadway musicals… Having raised the bar for boutique musical presentations with their inaugural season of Passion in 2014, Life Like Company works their magic again with City of Angels, miraculously providing fully realised staging, smoking hot band and stellar cast, all for a season of a scant four days.

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FROM DOWN UNDER: An Evening with Audra McDonald

In Australia, Musicals, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

In an unforgettable evening of song and story, Audra McDonald brought her once-in-a-lifetime voice to Melbourne last night.

McDonald’s modesty was immediately apparent when the evening began without an obligatory showreel of career highlights. There was no talk of Tony Awards or television, just love of family, support of causes and enthusiasm for new music theatre composers.

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FROM DOWN UNDER: Sydney Chamber Opera – Fly Away Peter

In Australia, Musicals, Opera, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

An inspired choice for an opera adaptation, especially in this WWI centenary year, Fly Away Peter is a compelling, haunting reflection on the inescapable horror of war.

In his 1982 novel, a modern classic, David Malouf uses extensive imagery to convey his themes of the transience of life and the inevitable transformative power of war. Stripped back even further on the stage, the opera is almost pure allegory, with no need for traditional linear storytelling.