Category Archives: Theatre Reviews

Join the Circus — A review of BARNUM The Circus Musical (2019)

Live at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre
Starring Todd McKenney, Rachael Beck, Suzie Mathers, Akina Edmonds, Kirby Burgess and Joshua Reckless
Continue reading Join the Circus — A review of BARNUM The Circus Musical (2019)

Just blew in from the Windy City — A review of Calamity Jane (2019)

Live at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre
Starring Virginia Gay, Laura Bunting, Anthony Gooley, Christina O’Neill, Rob Johnson, Matthew Pearce and Tony Taylor

I love musicals. I love musicals a lot. Most of my favourites come from the “golden age of musicals” — think Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra et al. One of my favourites from this particular period is Calamity Jane, which stars Doris Day as the eponymous character and Howard Keel as ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok. 

So it should go without saying that I was positively beside myself when I was gifted a ticket to see Calamity Jane live. And this wasn’t just any ticket. It wasn’t even a front row ticket. It was a freakin’ “you are sitting ON THE STAGE” ticket. Cut to actual footage of me.

So, how was it? In a word? Ah-MAY-zing. I don’t know if that counts as three words. The point is that it was an unbelievable experience and a delightful show.

Not only is the audience given the option to book a seat on the stage, but the cast frequently pop up in the audience and involve audience members in the narrative. The whole experience is delightfully immersive and I must admit being a little bit envious of the audience member who was given lines to read on the stage.

The audience interaction makes for some very funny moments but the show is just very funny in general. In the session I saw, I’m positive there were times that were improvised and that is one of my absolute favourite things about the theatre. Scripted humour is good but, when it lands, unscripted humour is great.

The entire cast did a phenomenal job, especially given that most of the actors played more than one role. The stand out for me was — rightfully so — Virginia Gay as Calamity Jane. Gay’s performance is captivating every time she is on the stage … or in the audience … or getting snacks. No, really. Someone give her all of the awards for this role. Then cast her in lots more things.

I cannot recommend Calamity Jane enough. If you’re in Australia and have a chance to check out this interactive and exciting take on the classic, you absolutely should. Did I mention you can sit on the stage? Because you can. 

Have you seen Calamity Jane live on stage? What was the last musical you saw live? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

– CJ

Rocky Horror Show (2018)

Review by CJ

Starring:
Todd McKenney, Shane Jacobson, Rob Mallett, Michelle Smitheram, Kristian Lavercombe, Amanda Harrison, Brendan Irving, Nadia Komazec, James Bryers

Venue:
Her Majesty’s Theatre (Melbourne, Australia)

Running time:
120 minutes (including intermission)

 

Brad Majors (Mallett) and his fiancée Janet Weiss (Smitheram) are a young couple headed to visit the teacher in whose class they first met. The couple get caught with a flat and happen upon the castle of Dr Frank-N-Furter (McKenney), his servants and the phantoms.

Continue reading Rocky Horror Show (2018)

The Wizard of Oz (2018)

Review by CJ

Starring:
Samantha Dodemaide, Eli Cooper, Alex Rathgeber, John Xintavelonis, Jemma Rix, Lucy Durack, Anthony Warlow, Flick/Trouble

Venue:
Regent Theatre (Melbourne, Australia)

Running time:
150 minutes (including intermission)

 

The story of Dorothy’s (Dodemaide) journey through the merry old land of Oz to meet the wonderful wizard (Warlow) and find her way home to Kansas. On her journey, Dorothy meets loyal friends, encounters fearsome foes and is joined by her canine companion Toto (Flick/Trouble).

Continue reading The Wizard of Oz (2018)

Sleeping Beauty – A Knight Avenger’s Tale (2018)

Review by CJ

Starring:
Rhonda Burchmore, Melissa Tkautz, Kev Orkian, Frazer Hines, Katrina Retallick, Embla Bishop, Daniel Milne, Matt Geronimi, Cameron Taylor

Venue:
The Comedy Theatre (Melbourne, Australia)

Running time:
150 minutes (including intermission)

 

The fairy Carabosse (Burchmore) is snubbed from attending the christening of King Louis’ (Hines) daughter Aurora (Bishop). In retaliation, Carabosse curses Aurora to die after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel before the end of her 21st birthday. The good fairy (Tkautz) alters the curse to ensure Aurora does not die, but instead slumbers for 100 years until awakened by true love’s first kiss.

It is up to Aurora’s true love Prince Valiant (Milne), best friend Silly Billy (Orkian), governess Nanny Tickles (Retallick) and father King Louis to ensure the curse does not lay claim to Aurora on her 21st birthday.

Continue reading Sleeping Beauty – A Knight Avenger’s Tale (2018)

The Adventures of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell in Return to PantoLand (2017)

Review by CJ

Starring: 
Todd McKenney, Tim Maddren, Robyn Loau, Katrina Retallick, Jaime Hadwen, Kev Orkian, Ksenia Zofi, Ric Pragnell, Matthew Geronimi, Michael Stone, Jay Johns, Samuel Richardson, Brandon Ware, Justin Rive, Michael Francisco

Venue:
The Comedy Theatre (Melbourne, Australia)

Running time:
150 minutes (including intermission)

 

The story of Peter Pan (Maddren) and Tinker Bell’s (Hadwen) journeys with Wendy (Zofi), John and Michael Darling in Neverland. They meet Tiger Lily (Loau), fight Captain Hook (McKenney) and think all of the happy thoughts that their hearts desire.

Continue reading The Adventures of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell in Return to PantoLand (2017)