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

14 March 2014

The Mountaintop

Thursday 13th March at The Playhouse QPAC

 Penned by brilliant young Memphis playwright Katori Hall, the play was a West End and Broadway sell-out. Making his Company debut, Pacharo Mzembe shines as Dr Martin Luther King Jr, while vivacious actress, activist and hip-hop sensation Candy Bowers dazzles as Camae. (from The QPAC Website) and wonderfully directed by Todd MacDonald with music by award winning composer, sound designer and sister of Candy Bowers, Busty Beatz (Kim Bowers).
"Can I Have an Amen?" 
and the whole audience responded 
"AMEN"
When this happens in a theatre you know the audience of largely middle class Australians are totally involved. Last night I had the joy of a stunning performance. Tears streamed down my face so often it became embarrassing. Two wonderful actors filled the dingy Motel room with laughter, surprise, power and anguish. About half way through the play everything turns surreal as we discover the brash, loud whisky drinking, chain-smoking, swearing and vibrant Camae is an angel. Killed the night before she has been sent by God (a beautiful black woman) on her first mission, to bring Martin Luther King home. He will be assassinated at one minute past six the next evening and he doesn't want to go with his work unfinished. She lets him see the future as the set comes apart and recedes sideways and back to allow a mesmerising layered newsreel of future events while Camae hip hops the story unfolding. This was a true moment of inspired and original theatre production that we have come to expect from the team at The Queensland Theatre Company under the guidance of our awesome and infectious Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch.
Once again we had booked for the night they have a Q&A with the cast and crew where the audience can indulge themselves with any question they like. 
Of particular thrill for me was the participation of the amazing Lighting Designer, Ben Hughes pictured above with his father Glenn also a lighting designer. As I have skipped through the programmes over the last few years I have seen that Ben is responsible for the wonderful lighting and designs for so many  (most I would say) shows in so many theatres that I have been lucky to attend. He is truly an inspired guy. He had some great insight s to share during the Question time.
Of course being the theatre groupie I am, I wrote to thank some of the artists and received some replies.
From Ben Hughes:- Thank you for such kind words. I'm very happy you enjoyed the show.

From Pacharo "Pach" Mzembe:- Thanks a million Barry Stone! Much appreciated  Yes it is awesome lol Amazing writing by Katori Hall and am blessed to be a part of this production. Personal growth has been one of the major benefits! Bless ya Barry! #beunafraid

From Candy Bowers :- Thank-you Barry it's always wonderful to hear, lots of love Candy



07 March 2014

Theatre Catch Up

Moving house and lots of things that life throws at you. I have missed mentioning all the theatre and concerts etc I have been to since my last post. No matter what is happening I have to feed the soul or it is all pointless.
Otello
Guiseppe Verdi
Thursday 24th October Opera Queensland at the Lyric Theatre QPAC
One could not have wished for a more dramatic and brilliantly sung production. I Bravoed my heart and lungs out.

The brilliant Duet Otello and Iago performed with awesome power.
  Design For Living
Noel Coward
Friday 25th October QTC Playhouse
A sparkling beautiful production that had me laughing all the way through. Cheeky and sexy performances kept me enthralled.
Fez Faanana ( a sort of friend I like to say) as Miss Hodge and Matthew brought the house down several times. Truly show stopping performance.
Medea
Euripides of sorts
Wednesday 30th October Judith Wright Centre
Students of The Aboriginal Centre For The Performing Arts.
Some wonderful talent emerging from this wonderful training centre
A Murder Is Announced
Agatha Christie
Wednesday 15th January at The Playhouse
A hoot and a few very gorgeous actors.
Australia Day
Thursday 13th February at The Playhouse
 Never have I been to a show where the audience laughed so loudly and non stop for about  two and a half hours as we cringed at the familiar, were offended by the sexism, racism etc and recognised ourselves and our neighbours so vividly and humiliatingly. Such a great night with so much to say.
Australian String Quartet
Tuesday 4th March Qld Conservatorium Theatre
A truly thrilling night stretching from the use of sheep gut strings to create a more historic sound for early works to the use of space age looking electric instruments, water glasses, rattles, gongs, vocalisations and powerful music. Excitement plus.

19 October 2013

Vivien Leigh's SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL

Heart Beast Vicious Theatre Ensemble
Friday the 18th October I attended opening night of the latest bold vision presented by Heart Beast Vicious Theatre Ensemble.  
“A naughty, wicked comedy about sarcasm, sex, salacious gossip, glamour, gaiety and pineapples.”
A massive evening in a small space made large by the stunning costuming and the brilliant acting. A large cast of 14 actors is some feat for a theatre in the round and stretching wickedly for two and a half hours.

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In 1770, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s restoration comedy 'School for Scandal' was huge hit on the London stage and is often called called the best comedy ever written.  In 1948 Vivien Leigh and her husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, toured Australia with the Old Vic theatre from London. When they arrived in Brisbane they were welcomed at the airport with a pineapple which looms large throughout and after. As part of the tour they performed ‘School for Scandal’ at the glamorous His Majesty’sTheatre in Queen Street. This is a sad tale when our government demolished the grand old theatre, home of so many historic performances and oh so many memories of my early theatre, musical and opera evenings. Setting the workshopped comic masterpiece during  this 1948 visit Heart Beast  integrate the off stage antics of the touring actors with the masterpiece play. The scandal of Sheridan's story is related to the rumoured scandal of the unfortunate Vivian herself who is said to have had a dalliance, in every port , which was well known to her equally suspect husband Larry.
Alphabetically the cast were_  George Arkinstall, Tara Barraza, David Bentley, Brian Bolton, Samantha Cable, Warwick Comber, Adrienne Costello, Karen Dinsdale, Patrick Dwyer, Andrew Lowe, Hamish Nicholson, Sherri Smith, Greg Stone and Joe Tiernan.
The talent on display on stage and behind the scenes is a reward that we are expecting in our city where creativity is blossoming. Some actors like George Aekinstall are new to the ensemble and have that glow of enthusiasm that indicates so much is expected in the future. Others like David Bentley (The Cherry Orchard) who is a seasoned member and always bring a much praised individuality to his roles. It was also great to see  the hugely talented Andrew Lowe again after a very fine performance in Frankenstein with Fractal Theatre that I saw earlier this year. So many stood out and it was nice to be given the opportunity to congratulate many of them personally after the show. I always seem to have a drink in hand in photos but it is such occasions that are my only opportunities to partake of alcohol. I swear.

Director: Adrienne Costello. Designer: Michael Beh. Production and Stage Manager: Jacqueline Kerr. Wardrobe Coordinator and Principle Costume Construction: Orla Mahony. Co-costume Designer/Garment Production Manager: Chasca Relia-Connell. Dramaturg:  Annette Alexander. Lighting Designer: Jason Harding and Rory Fitzpatrick. Pianist: Marjorie Warry. Publicity: Raw Publicity/sTAMp Marketing. Marketing Coordinator: Samantha Cable.
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