'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

06 February 2016

Gaybies - Speak with Truth and Passion

Powerhouse Visy Theatre
Melt Festival pf Queer Arts and Culture
5th February 2016
My second fabulous night at Adam Gardnir's Melt Festival was Gaybies directed by Powerhouse Artistic Director Kris Stewart associate director Joe Simons (bumped into again), lit by Jason Glenwright. Last night along with my cousin Michelle Boyd ( who always takes the fun pictures) and her husband Phil I saw a huge cross section of Brisbanites coming together to celebrate diversity through the exact words of children of that broad sexual identity spectrum of what we call family. The off spring of parents of different combinations - two fathers, two mothers, four parents, transgender parents, the clubbers, the mechanics etc. etc
There was so much laughter as actors, singers, politicians, journalists, business people lent their honest commitment to reading the stories, riding tricycles, drawing families in crayon exposing personal revelations. There was also the occasional sadness of more harrowing stories that Pat Patrick O'Neill, ALP Candidate for the Federal Seat of Brisbane brought so much pathos to. Overall the evening was very upbeat, positive and a celebration of just how much we are all alike. Margi Brown Ash was the cutest kid on the block and her tricycle was a hoot. Barbara Lowing is so infectious that laughter and sympathy just flows to and from her characters. These two women are such great adornments to Brisbane's stages. It was also so funny how much I identified with so many passages that 4ZZZ's and Eurovision's Blair Martin read. It was if he had found my diary (I don't actually have one). After the show with red wine in hand I met up with several other cast members like journalist Xanthe Coward, Brisbane Festival director David Berthold, Actor and such fun character and singer Kurt Phelan. I had a very short chat with Gordon Hamilton who is the artistic director of Australian Voices about the up coming Mozart Requiem with the QSO and fabulous Tenor come home for this Kang Wang. I got to hang out a bit with the beautiful voiced Lizzie Moore whom I feel I may have referred to as Libby to someone but blame the red wine and the fact we only met on Wednesday. I did not see the brilliant Emily Gilhome after the show to compliment her on the performance the guitar and everything she does. Pity I missed seeing Christopher Wayne as he was off doing some Ghostly things in Melbourne. I will be back tonight for another show so perhaps I will bump into him at the bar. It was so nice to have the play interspersed with some wonderful songs and piano and Brad Rush from the Gold Coast Arts Centre was one of the ivory tinklers.

Such a lovely play, an evening of joyous warm and fuzzies, hysterically funny and also touching. Politics, love, acceptance and entertaining. It finishes tonight so support your festival and rush along. I saw and spoke to several others thespians who were at the show like Tom Oliver from Pirates of Penzance and Sensational Jack in Into The Woods and soon to drop an EP, Kimberley Hodgson who you will remember as the spectacular Little Red in Into The Woods and once again Gabriel Comerford who has been part of so much creativity here.

Full Cast and Creatives/Crew

29 January 2016

Bloody Carrie

Carrie The Musical
Visy Theatre Powerhouse
Wax Lyrical Productions
23rd January 2016
What happens when you have a city overflowing with talent, and acting and music schools adding more great talent to the mix with glorious regularity. Well in the best tradition of the young Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney you shout "Lets put on a show" (you have to go back to black and white films if you are too young to recognise). Well this is what has happened again in Brisbane with the creation of Wax Lyrical Productions and director Zoe Tuffin and producers Shane Pike and Joe Kelly's show 'Carrie The Musical' which I saw last night at the BRISBANE POWERHOUSE with Michelle Boyd and Phil . Sold out yet again and another standing ovation for some powerhouse singing, agonisingly good acting and a great production. 
There is a musical director/keyboards in town who has such amazing talent and I have seen or heard so many times in the last year that in the not too distant future Dominic Woodhead will be referred to as Maestro. Endurance, powerful playing and tight adaptable supplement to the high caliber singers is his forte from my observations. This appreciation is backed up by everyone I speak to. Several concerts and performances at the Conservatorium and Heathers The Musical as well.

 Sophie Perkins evolution as Carrie was quite spellbinding and her voice had all the fear, confusion and explosiveness of this victim of bullying and it was she that led to the standing ovation last night by a super enthusiastic audience. As her wildly religious mother Jacqui Devereux was a sensation. A voice so powerful and warmly melodic brought cheers several times. All the singers had their individual moments to give a glimpse of the amazing talent I have enjoyed over and over since the beginning of 2015. I caught up with the astoundingly beautiful Georgina Hopson after her brilliant and sympathetic performance which justified her being the only one left standing. Such a brilliant voice I have grown to love so much since Pirates and Into The Woods last year, well actually since the first moment I heard her. Oliver Samson has been a favourite since I was convinced he sang just for me at a Con concert last year and it was wonderful to catch up before he heads off to Japan in a week for a 14 month contract performing. 
Dan Venz was there as choreographer and it was exactly a year since I saw him on stage for the first of several times. Non stop workers and contributing in so may ways to theatrical life in Brisbane. At last I caught up with the wonderful Thomas Davis and what a charming performer even though he was a particular bastard in the show. I had only heard him sing on Youtube before and it was sensational as he has been so busy with tours for shake & stir theatre co and Opera Queensland. Stephen Hirst has skipped from prince last year to teacher, but thankfully after being wiped out by Carrie's telekinesis he was well enough to shake hands after the show.
Once again Jason Glenwright brought his considerable magic to lighting the show and this intimate venue seemed to grow in size last night as they made use of every available space including the aisles, the back stage and occasionally where my feet were. The first person I spoke to after the show was Rune Nydal whom I also first met a year ago at the same theatre, singer dancer and lovely guy and so great to catch up yet again. I think I missed chatting to Tim Carroll, Jessica Kate Ryan and Alex Woodward but I was happily having a couple of beers so anything was possible. Tim and Alex were particularly memorable last year in 'Blood Brothers' which was a stunning piece of drama as well as music. At the bar I also ran into Joel Devereux who did the photos and programme cover, Lewis Jones the wonderful director/producer who has worked with many of these artists and once again Anthony De Marco whom I have yet to see on stage as he is studying at UQ and not on my bus route. And I had a brief chat with Michael Mandalios who was enjoying the show and 'being polite?' Looking forward to seeing him and others as they embark on year three at the Con.
 Me and cast members above and below
Music by: Michael Gore
Lyrics by: Dean Pitchford
Book by: Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by: Stephen King
Directed by: Zoë Tuffin
Music Director: Dominic Woodhead
Choreographed by: Dan Venz
Lighting Designed: Jason Glenwright

Carrie White: Sophie Perkins
Margaret White: Jacqui Devereux
Sue Snell: Georgina Hopson
Tommy Ross: Alex Woodward
Chris Hargensen: Tori Bailey
Billy Nolan: Thomas Davis
Miss Gardner: Chloe-Rose Taylor
Mr Stephens: Stephen Hirst
Norma: Jacqueline McLaren
Frieda: Pia Frangiosa
Helen: Jessica Kate Ryan
Freddy: Oliver Samson
George: Tim Carroll
Stokes: Rune Nydal
I am thrilled to know around 18 people involved in this production

18 January 2016

Heathers: The Musical

Tuesday 12th January 2016
The Playhouse QPAC
 Front row and centre for Heathers The Musical last night had lots of advantages. I didn't miss a thing. I even got terrorised by an angry Heather (Libby Asciak in red below) when she came off stage, sat beside me and tried to stop me applauding one of the other characters with a stare and grabbing my hand. That was fun. 
Its a quite lengthy evening and never stops or has a dull moment no doubt thanks to the direction of Trevor Ashley and the full on talent on stage. Mostly fairly recent graduates of several schools throughout the country including WAAPA which has been popping up in my programmes so often lately and of course NIDA and also Dominic Woodhead from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. I met and congratulated Dominic after the show and thanked him for his assistant keyboards for the fabulous Bev Kennedy or Miss Bev as they call her. They have endurance to be able to create such a huge orchestral backing for the full on show. As promised I met up with Bev after and got or gave a hug and a kiss while we chatted. She is quite a sensational star of musical direction and accompaniment and a beautiful and kind woman.
On stage were the astoundingly good looking Stephen Madsen who comes not only with great voice and charismatic acting, but a leading man 'cleft chin'; Stephen McDowell whom I had the great pleasure of meeting at the stage door afterwards and had such a nice chat and congratulations on his Andy Warhol like wig in one scene: 
Jakob Ambrose had a ball with his fellow jock/father/ lover and victim Vincent Hooper as they had so many costume changes which often involved white undies slightly covering their fabulous, been to the gym, bodies, Leigh Sleightholme went from rocker to father with some ease. 

Then we have the girls, the Heathers and the Veronica of Jaz Flowers. Huge voiced Jaz Flowers is a force to be reckoned with, a personality to follow and I almost said hello outside as she was standing beside me, but I am still not doing well on the going out alone stakes: Kirby Burgess as lead Heather is everything a school queen bitch should be, she can command with a glance lead with a raised eyebrow and command without challenge, but then she becomes a ghost. She was outstanding. Also on stage were Erin Clare, Libby Asciak mentioned above, Lauren McKenna who was a particular favourite with her two opposite characters and great voice, Michelle Barr, Rebecca Hetherington, all drawn with individual conviction. It is hard to praise one person over another because so much depends on the role they are lucky enough to get. Each part makes the wonderful whole.
People left with smiles on their face, singing songs they may have heard for the first time and thanking everyone for being there. I was so pleased to run into Benjamin Hambley another graduate from the con, congratulate him on the last performance I saw of his and met his friend another past student just returned from OS. It is great to watch how close all the grads are as they support each other in everything they do. They are so close. I also spoke to director Lewis Jones who was equally unfamiliar with the piece. I loved it all,said a couple of hellos and then got my bus. I would go and see it. This is part of a national tour.
Cast: Jaz Flowers, Kirby Burgess, Stephen Madsen, Erin Clare, Libby Asciak, Lauren McKenna, Vincent Hooper, Jakob Ambrose, Michelle Barr, Rebecca Hetherington, Stephen McDowell, Leigh Sleightholme

Director: Trevor Ashley 
Choreographer: Cameron Mitchell 
Musical Director: Bev Kennedy 
Designers: Emma Vine with Eamon D’arcy 
Costume Design: Angela White 
Lighting Design: Gavan Swift

Book, Music and Lyrics by LAURENCE O’KEEFE & KEVIN MURPHY
Based on the film by DANIEL WATERS

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