New Year, New Shows

24 Jan

Happy New Year to all! I know it’s been awhile since I posted, so I thought I’d drop in to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I just haven’t been to see any productions! I’m hoping to find a job soon and then I’ll be able to save up some money again and see some shows.

I have two musicals in particular that I would really like to see this year if I can: The King & I and Wicked!

So, hopefully in a couple of months time I’ll be seeing a new show, unless I happen to see something in the meantime. Until then, stay safe and I hope to be up and blogging again soon!

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Grease – QPAC

25 Sep

Wednesday 25th of September 1:30pm

When I first heard that Grease the musical was coming to Australia my first impression was that it looked like alot of fun. I had never seen the movie, so before I decided on going or not I bought the movie on DVD. There were a few scenes in the movie I could have done without, but taking into consideration that the upcoming musical was being marketed toward families, I figured it would be more “family friendly” and decided I wanted to see it (I should also add that I loved Rob Mills performance in Legally Blonde and so wanted to see him perform again). I bought tickets for my cousin and myself a few days before our chosen show, and started getting excited!

Wednesday morning I was up and ready for another train trip to the city! It was so much easier getting up at 5am with the warmer weather, it was actually a really nice time of morning. After I got off the train, I headed straight over to QPAC to pick up my tickets. When I came to collect them the man at the box office was really friendly and cheery. I didn’t catch his name, but definitely a brilliant face for QPAC! I then spent the sunny morning meeting up with some friends and doing my usual stroll around South Bank. Before long it was time for my cousin and I to head to the theatre. After the long bathroom que we only just made it in time!

Now, it’s about here I should tell you two big things I’m NOT going to do in this review…

Firstly, I’m NOT going to compare it to the movie. Alot of people forget that the musical version of Grease was actually made 7 years before the movie. So, while they did make some changes after the movie was released, don’t go seeing this show expecting it to be the same as the movie. There are multiple plot changes, as well as a different song order. That considered, when I comment on the plot, I’m going to view it as a stand-alone plot, not compare it to the movie plot.

Original 1971Movie 1978

Secondly, I’m NOT going to comment on the moral of every single scene/song, I feel that if I did that I would take away from commending the actual acting/singing/music. I’m telling you right now that there is swearing, rude gestures, innuendo, smoking and some dance moves that might be considered risque. So, don’t go to this musical expecting it to be family friendly, it’s not! I was actually really disappointed with that. I remember getting an email that advertised “family friendly” times and there were alot of children in the audience. There wasn’t even a warning or recommended age put on the QPAC website, which I’ve seen them do before. I certainly hope the parents of the children attending had seen the musical or movie beforehand, or else they would’ve been in for a nasty shock.

Now that I have those two points out of the way, I will continue my review focusing on the performances.

Just before the show begins and everyone is filling up the seats, Bert Newton playing his character, Vince Fontaine, comes out in his radio booth to give us a little pre-show entertainment. Then we have the pleasure of Val Lehman as Miss Lynch come in and turn us into a classroom, and I loved that part so much I was smiling like a cheshire cat before the real show even began! We slowly transitioned into the show with the song We Go Together, which is by far my favorite song in the whole musical, so the show starts off on a high note! The stage then darkens and we are introduced to our main characters Danny (Rob Mills) and Sandy (Gretel Scarlett) as they sing a short sweet version of the song Sandy which briefly tells us of their summer together. Next we learn that Grease Is The Word with a cool performance by the cast that really puts you in the right time-set. We then move straight into the school location of Rydell High where we meet the main school cliques; the leather clad, tough-looking T-Birds (Kenicke, Roger, Doody, Sonny and Danny) and the Pink Ladies (Rizzo, Jan, Marty, and the lovable Frenchy) as well as the nerdy characters Eugene and Patty and of course the new girl, our one and only Sandy. Gretel Scarlett gave Sandy the perfect “Aussie accent”, which was nice to listen to, and her demeanor was perfect for the character. Likewise, Rob Mills gave Danny the perfect laid back attitude, while keeping that all important soft side. When our main stars are asked what they did during the summer they both reminisce about those Summer Nights. Then we really get into the plot when Danny and Sandy finally meet at school, and it is one of my favorite scenes!

We have the pleasure of Val Lehman as Miss Lynch come in and turn us into a classroom!

We move to the locker rooms where one of the T-Birds, Doody (Chris Durling), sings the song Those Magic Changes. The scene was both funny and entertaining, but I felt that it didn’t have anything to do with the plot. The scene then changes to the girls having a sleepover and Freddy My Love seemed like the Pink Ladies’ counterpart of the previous song. Marty (played by Karla Tonkich) does a wonderful job of singing it, but the song just seems a bit pointless. After Sandy is reluctant to join in on the smoking and drinking, Rizzo (Lucy Maunder) mocks Sandy’s wholesomeness behind her back by singing Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee, it is a perfect combination of how much she is sick of Sandy’s goody-two-shoes attitude, but also has a hint of jealousy. Next up we meet up with the T-Birds in the garage as they sing Greased Lightnin’, a pretty cool Elvis-sounding song about transforming their run-down car into a chick-magnet, definitely a catchy tune! The Rydell Fight Song is a short little sequence in which you start to feel Sandy’s struggle at fitting in. After catching Rizzo making fun of her, Sandy gets upset at everyone, including Danny, and runs off. Roger (Duane McGregor) and Jan (Laura Murphy) then sing a song about Mooning. It was some-what comical, but also very strange… another pointless song, apart from showing that Rodger and Jan liked each other. We then finish Act One with everyone deciding who to go to the dance with, a rendition of We Go Together, and everyone looking forward to the school dance. All except Sandy, of course, who has decided not to go.

When Danny (Rob Mills) and Sandy (Gretel Scarlett) finally meet at school is one of my favorite scenes!

During intermission I went and bought a program, since I hadn’t had time to before hand. Then we went and sat down again. I loved that they were playing old rock n roll songs from the 50s, like my favorite, Rockin’ Robin, and some old advertisement jingles. It seemed like forever until they shut the doors and dimmed the lights and Act Two was underway.

We come back into the story at the school dance where some of the cast perform the fun song, Shakin’ at the High School Hop. One of the guys got a bit caught up when twirling his jacket, but he covered his mistake well and quickly threw the jacket aside and continued the number. Bert Newton returns on stage as Vince Fontaine, the host of the school dance, and introduces the song It’s Raining on Prom Night which we see Sandy also sing along to at home and it captured the mood nicely. Then we get into the fun song Born to Hand Jive by the ‘famous’ Johnny Casino. Anthony Callea was supposed to play the part, but was away, so I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) it was Daniel Raso who was his understudy and did a great job! Sandy’s song Hopelessly Devoted To You is sung after she realises how much she needs Danny and it’s a beautiful song, really draws you in. The scene changes once again and we have the song Beauty School Dropout. It was another song that isn’t essential to the plot, BUT the way Teen Angel (Todd McKenney) sings to Frenchy about her life choice is creative and I really loved it! Todd really took the role and ran with it!

Todd (Teen Angel) took the role and ran with it!

Danny tries to make-up with Sandy by taking her to a drive-in movie, but she gets upset and walks out. When Danny is singing the song Sandy I felt it was rather slow, but Rob sung it well. Then we jump to the whole group hanging out and the song Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Queen is a bit of a filler song, but I felt that it fit. When Rizzo explains to Sandy that There Are Worse Things I Could Do, she really comes across as trying to cover up the fact that she does actually care. As the show starts drawing to an end we have Sandy singing her own reprise of Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee as she starts to take aboard how the others view her. By the time we reach the final song You’re The One That I Want I really felt as though Danny had given up, but all the problems are resolved in this last fun number. Then for the big finale the whole cast did a medley of all the songs and it was such a high note to end on! The lights came back on as the band finished their final score and we left the theatre applauding.

Then for the big finale the whole cast did a medley of all the songs and it was such a high note to end on!

We headed down to the stage door after the show where we were able to meet Rob Mills, Gretel Scarlett, and Francine Cain (as well as a few others). They were very friendly and made you feel very welcome. On the way home on the train I listened to my 50s album on my iPod, and felt content with my day.

Overall I think the music, costumes, and sets are all really fun and bright. The singing and acting was great! Definitely wouldn’t recommend it for a younger audience, but I would highly recommend downloading the song We Go Together from iTunes because I believe all the best parts of the show are captured in that one song (if that is at all possible)! I was glad I went, I don’t think I’ll ever go see it on stage again, but Grease is definitely the word!

~ The Girl Wearing Converse

War Horse – QPAC

3 Aug

Saturday 3rd of August 2:00pm

Going to the theatre is an expensive hobby. I should know! It’s part of the reason I haven’t been in two months, the other reason being that there really wasn’t much on. When I first heard about War Horse I really wanted to go, I’ve only done one play review (Driving Miss Daisy) and I wanted to give reviewing a play another go. I had also heard from multiple people that it was a spectacular show. After looking at the prices I decided I couldn’t afford to go, but by the end of July I had decided I would try and see it anyway. I looked up the show times and realized that the matinee was later than usual, meaning I might miss my train home if I went. I was feeling torn! I wanted to go, but I didn’t think I could risk getting stranded in Brisbane or afford a hotel room. That was when I received the beautifully timed email from http://lasttix.com.au/! I could get any of the remaining seats for only $75! So, with new motivation I recalculated show and train times and decided to purchase a ticket. Then, my grandparents rang up and mentioned that they were thinking of going to see the show, so I was able to get them seats next to mine. They also booked a hotel room so I wouldn’t have to worry about catching the train.

So, once again I found myself getting up at 5am on a Saturday morning to head into the city for the day! I spent the morning browsing stores and I even bought myself a little sneaker keychain. Then I relaxed in the sun, it was a beautiful day! The sky was so blue! Then I met my grandparents and we had a nice lunch at one of the QPAC restaurants and enjoyed the lovely weather until it was time to go inside for the show.

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The sky was so blue!

I went into War Horse not knowing exactly what to expect, I hadn’t seen the movie, and all I really knew was that they used amazing puppetry and that the show was quite moving. The show ultimately revolves around a horse named Joey. It’s a little bit similar to the story of Black Beauty, only alot more action packed. This review has been one of the hardest to write, but I think the time I put into it was well worth it.

When we are first introduced to the star of the show, it’s quite hard to imagine him as a foal running around a paddock on his own, because he has three puppeteers crowded around him to make him move. Once, he is older it’s less distracting, as two of the puppeteers are in the horse. Once you picture them all as part of Joey it isn’t too hard to really start getting into the story. I also loved the fact that the puppeteers were in costumes in the same style as the rest of the cast, rather than just wearing one-colored suits to try and “blend-in”.

He has three puppeteers crowded around him to make him move.

The Song Man in the show was a nice touch, he would come on stage and sing a ballad during various parts of the show to sort of explain what was going on and get you into the right mood for a scene. I thought it worked well with the play itself, and didn’t detract from the story. There were also a few war and folk songs thrown in, which the cast made sound incredible and it added to the brilliance of the show!

During Act 1 we are taken through various scenes. We start off at the stock yards where Joey is first sold at a very high price as a foal during a sibling rivalry. We are then taken to the simple set of the family farm, where we begin to see the development of the relationship between Joey and his new owner, Albert (we are also introduced to the farm goose, who is certainly a crowd favorite). One of my favorite scenes was when Albert rode Joey for the first time, was quite exciting watching him leap up onto his back. Then we witness Joey’s transition into a farm horse due to a bet and eventually he is sold by Albert’s father to become a war horse, much to the boy’s dismay. This is when Joey’s adventure really begins as he goes into war against the Germans. The gun shots were loud and startling, I jumped more than once. They definitely made the atmosphere seem as realistic as you could possibly get on stage, because though there were limited props, the mood was set perfectly! Act 1 ends quite suddenly and the theatre lights come on. It leaves you waiting in suspense during the intermission and marveling at how life-like they can make these horses. I loved that even the horses’ ears moved in a realistic manner. It’s quite incredible that someone actually made these amazing puppets!

It’s quite incredible that someone actually made these amazing puppets!

When Act 2 starts so does the offensive content. While it isn’t heavy, I noticed a few children in the audience, and I know I’d want to have the heads up before taking any young ones to see it. Hopefully the innuendo that was made with a play on words went over the heads of the younger audience. But, while we are on the topic, I have to share my criticism. One particular character uses the phrase “effin” instead of it’s more offensive counterpart, while I was glad they chose not to use the more offensive word, I personally felt that it detracted from the professionalism of the production. I think if they had used a lesser word like “damned” or “bloody” it would have still shown that they were toning it down without making it blatantly obvious.

Moving along with the story, we see Joey end up with the German army, while at home poor Albert is hoping the war ends so that his horse can come home. Eventually, Albert decides to join the army for the main purpose of finding Joey. I did find myself thinking at one point how crazy it was that everyone cared so much about Joey when there was a raging war going on about them, but I also could understand that with so much going on around them it would be comforting to have this large quiet beast as a friend. Soon enough we get to meet a German who just wants to leave the war and take the horses home to his daughter, and a young French girl who vows to keep the horses safe. I found it quite clever the way they portrayed the different languages spoken: French, English and German. Of course they were only speaking English the whole time. No subtitles here. But you have to imagine them speaking in different languages. For example:

German: “Who are you?”

Englishman: “I’m sorry, I can’t understand what you are saying.”

German: “What are you saying?”

I think that it would have been quite confusing for some people, especially since there are 3 languages, but you just have to separate the accents. The language barrier made for some very funny moments.

This show has alot of moving scenes, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I was advised by a few people to bring tissues, I’ve never really been one to cry (I usually just feel like my heart is going to explode) but I brought them along just in case. This production would definitely bring some people to tears! Towards the end of the play you know that something has to happen and there was great suspense around whether the story would have a happy or sad ending. Once this is resolved, the whole show wraps up quite quickly, and once again you are left marveling at this elaborate production.

The show has alot of moving scenes.

Overall I thought the show was very incredible! The amount of work put into the show must’ve been phenomenal! The cast did a wonderful job! I’m glad that I hadn’t seen the movie beforehand because it added to the suspense. I think if you have a good imagination, and love a good dramatic story, you will love this play. For those who don’t think their imagination is big enough for a play where the main character is a puppet, I’d suggest giving the movie a watch. It’s a lovely story, and I’m now keen to see the movie version myself*!

– The Girl Wearing Converse

 

* Added note: I have now seen the movie. While it is a slightly different story-line to the play, the beautiful essence of the story is still there. So I definitely recommend the movie.

MY Theatre Company?

30 May

Hello to my awesome blog readers! Before I delve into the main purpose of today’s post I would like to thank you for reading this blog. As of this week my blog has reached over 700 views from over 30 different countries! It makes me so happy that people actually want to read my blog! You (Yes, you!) are currently adding another view to my blog and each time there is another view I smile. So, in essence, you are currently making me smile!

This image I found perfectly represents what I want to say!

Now, today’s post may not be all that relevant to all my wonderful overseas readers but feel free to read it anyhow. Not too long ago I found out about a new project that was going to be launched called YOUR Theatre Co. I didn’t really know what to expect at first as they were keeping it all under wraps until their launch day. I signed up and was invited to the official launch, unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, but I would’ve loved so much to have been there. They finally announced what YOUR Theatre Co. was all about.

They were keeping it all under wraps until their launch day.

So here’s the basic idea… Theatre lovers can help support the company by becoming a part of it and in return they’ll receive special benefits depending on how much support they give. What a brilliant idea!

I was terribly excited! Another theatre company would mean more musicals AND being able to take a personal role in the process would be amazing! So I jumped on board as a VIP Backer. Yes, you heard right, I’m a VIP! Apart from having that awesome title, I’m also going to get to have a say in what their first production should be, be sent a “behind-the-scenes” newsletter to keep me in the loop, and recieve a ticket to their opening night. I’m now incredibly excited for what’s to come and I’m really looking forward to being able to review their first performance!

The creative team behind YOUR Theatre Co.

If you want to find out more or if you’d also like to become a part of YOUR Theatre Co. so you can start playing with possessive pronouns and I’ll no longer be able to say it’s MY Theatre Co. but will have to refer to it as OUR Theatre Co. instead, please click over to www.yourtheatreco.com. Contributions can start from as little as $1! Don’t forget to chose a perk depending on wether you become a supporter, backer, or a VIP.

Let me know what you think of MY, OUR, YOUR Theatre Co. and be sure to tell me if you become a fellow supporter!

– The Girl Wearing Converse

An Evening With Julie Andrews – QPAC

18 May

Saturday 18th of May 8:00pm

February 8th, 2013 was just an ordinary morning, until I logged onto Twitter. I was greeted by multiple messages from friends (and fellow theatre fans) around the globe letting me know that something wonderful was going to happen… JULIE ANDREWS WAS COMING TO AUSTRALIA!!! (Yes, they used the caps lock). I was so happy! It wasn’t too long before I dug up more details; she wasn’t coming to sing (as most people know she can’t really sing anymore, due to a botched operation) but she would be talking about her life and it would be hosted by Nicholas Hammond (who played Friedrich Von Trapp in The Sound of Music). There would also be a spot to submit questions on the website, some of which would be asked on the night. Needless to say, I put my name on the wait-list straight away! During the presale, I managed to get three seats for the opening night of the tour in Brisbane. Originally I had planned to take my Pop and Nanna to the show, unfortunately they were unable to make it, but I knew they were thinking of me and would’ve loved to be there if they could. So instead, my cousin was able to come along with me, and I gave the third ticket to a girl who I knew really wanted to go. Then the count down began!!

Nicholas Hammond and Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

As the date grew closer, interviews and photos started to emerge and I was getting excited. Finally, it was the 18th of May! I awoke at 5am and got ready to catch the train into the city; naturally I listened to a few of Julie’s albums on my iPod on the way. I met up with some friends and spent the morning walking around Brisbane. The weather was lovely! Then, to pass the time, I went and saw Hot Shoe Shuffle for the second time! Such a brilliant show! (If you live in Brisbane, I suggest you hurry and see it before it leaves next week!) I got to meet more of the cast and got a couple of photos taken. While I was at stage door, I’m pretty sure Nicholas Hammond walked past me 4 times, but I didn’t want to stop him and say hello because I had no idea what I would say to him! So after I had gotten my autographs (all but Bobby Fox’s), I went to meet my cousin at our hotel so we could get ready for our big night out!

Dame Julie Andrews in Australia with the Sydney Opera House in the background.

It was a beautiful night! We managed to find a Subway store (after a few dead ends) and grabbed some dinner, then we headed over to QPAC. When we arrived, there were people everywhere, and the line for the merchandise was HUGE. (Word of advice: Get in quick if you want a program. I managed to get mine, but they sold out before the show was over!) We found our door and took our seats. We were right up the back of the Concert Hall, but we had a great view of the stage. No one said not to take photos so I tried to take a couple, but where I was seated was too far away for them to be any good.

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It was a beautiful night!

Now, I’ve told you before that I love overtures, and can you believe it? There was an overture! It was made up of multiple songs from musicals and movies she’d been in. Eventually, Nicholas came out and welcomed us all and we watched a montage made up of some of Julie’s best known work. Then… Julie came out! She welcomed us all with her, “Hello, Brisbane people!” and then proceeded to make several references to the current news making headlines on Australian TV. She even talked about golf. Everyone found it most hilarious! Then she began sharing her life story. I must admit, being a big fan, I already knew a majority of what she was telling us; but most others would’ve loved hearing her stories for the first time. She talked about everything from the discovery of her voice, to how she learnt to never forget her shoes, how she got her first big breaks on Broadway and met Walt Disney, all the way to her interesting experiences with P. L. Travers and breaking her squeaky-clean image. She talked about Operation USA and about different trips she’s been on with organizations. I really loved when she said, “No matter where we live, women are sisters the world over.” She told some of her most common stories (such as “The Helicopter Story”) and a couple I hadn’t heard before. It was lovely when she shared a slide show of photos with us, all of her belated second-husband, Blake Edwards (who directed several of her films, my favorite being Darling Lili) and talked of some of their fun times together. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people were a little confused, as she talked about her first husband, Tony Walton, and then started talking about Blake without fully explaining that she had a second marriage. After about an hour of talking to us she decided it was time for a cup-of-tea (or -in her words- maybe something stronger) and we were given a 20min intermission.

My view of the stage.

During intermission they set up the stage with two chairs and a table to get ready for the Q&A part of the show. We got to see some clips from her movies as well as some comments from directors and co-stars, and some bloopers. Then Julie and Nicholas returned and sat down in their little homely set-up. He read out a letter from the other Sound of Music children who wished them well for the tour and informed Julie that the curtains no longer fit. Then they talked a bit about what Nicholas has been up to and then he dove into asking some questions that had been submitted on the website. Occasionally they left the questions and reminisced a bit about different movies and other occasions . One of the funniest questions of the night was definitely: “Who would you prefer as your leading man? Christopher Plummer, Dick Van Dyke or Kochie?” Julie reacted with a “HA!” and then “Uhh, who do you think? Kochie of course! Tell him that please.” We got to hear stories about Emma, and about the books they’ve been writing for the Julie Andrews Collection. She even threw in a story about Carol Burnett. Nicholas and Julie shared “The Boat Story” with everyone and then the evening started drawing to an end. But what could possibly top off an evening with Julie Andrews? How about everyone getting to sing along to Edelweiss with Julie? Yes, I can now say I’ve sung with Julie Andrews. It was a wonderful night and such a bitter-sweet moment when Julie walked off stage to a standing ovation.

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Julie and Nicholas on stage while we all sang Edelweiss together.

We slowly made our way through the crowds to outside, and I practically ran into Bobby Fox as I came out the door. I was able to get the last signature (not including understudies) on my Hot Shoe Shuffle program! He high-fived me, had his photo taken, and he was off. Definitely was the icing on the cake for my day! Then it was time to catch a taxi back to the hotel. Both my cousin and I were nervous as we hadn’t caught a taxi before, but we had the most friendly driver. We took the elevator up to our room and crashed. After a 20hr day we were going to sleep well!

I’m so happy I got to attend An Evening With Julie Andrews. It was almost like listening to a live version of her autobiography “Home”. Her voice sounds so sing-song when she speaks that it doesn’t even matter that she can’t sing for us like she used to. I think new and old fans alike would enjoy this show. I’m so grateful for all the amazing movies, soundtracks, and books that she has given us. Dame Julie Andrews was just so graceful and queen-like! I was trying to think of how to sum up my evening, but it was simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

– The Girl Wearing Converse

Hot Shoe Shuffle – QPAC

4 May

Saturday 4th of May 1:30pm

Not long after starting this blog, it became my dream to (one day) be invited to a performance as a reviewer, little did I know this dream was closer to happening than I imagined. This week that dream came true! Okay, so I wasn’t outright invited to this show, but Aussie Theatre held a competition to find reviewers (of the Twitter kind) to come to Hot Shoe Shuffle’s opening weekend and help promote the show, and I was picked as one of those people and invited to come!

Fast-forward two days and I’m getting up at 5am on a Saturday morning to catch a train into Brisbane City. Mum came along with me and we had a lovely day out. We didn’t have to be at QPAC until 1pm, so to pass the time we went shopping at Queen Street Mall. There are so many shops down Queen Street Mall that you’d need a whole day just to look in them all! I also was happy to have my first experience at Starbucks, which I thought was strictly an American chain up until a couple of months ago. As 1pm drew closer (and we grew peckish), we grabbed a $7 chicken Subway foot-long for lunch and sat down to eat by the river at South Bank. It was a glorious day! Then we went to find the Box Office where we were to meet Hot Shoe Shuffle’s social media guy, Enda. While we were waiting for him to arrive, I talked to one of the other tweeters, Jess, who was lovely. Enda arrived and gave us our tickets, told us what hashtag to use, and ultimately made us feel at home. He told us to meet him after the show so he could take us back stage. One of my Twitter friends, Travis, was coming to the same performance and he was able to find me before we headed upstairs. I handed him a dinosaur (which is another story, feel free to ask me about it) and we parted ways to find our seats. I bought myself a program and mum and I headed through door 3 and took our seats next to Jess and her mum. We chatted and tweeted until it was time to turn off our phones because the show was about to begin!

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It was a glorious day!

Now, before I go any further I must explain to you a little bit about the show. Hot Shoe Shuffle is a musical, featuring alot of tap-dancing, but it’s got alot of singing too! I was expecting it to be lots of dancing and not much singing, but you get the best of both worlds with this one. The show was Australian born; created by David Atkins in 1992. It was successful and toured internationally. It even had a run on West End! This year is the show’s 21st birthday and it was very special taking part in that. I should also point out this was only their second performance, and a preview, as the opening night was the next show to take place. That being the case, there were a few hiccups, such as a mic not working correctly, but they swiftly and cleverly dealt with them all and were completely forgiven!

Overture time!! Sorry, I love overtures, they get me all excited and this one was no exception! In the opening Telegram Song we are introduced to the seven Tap Brothers (Spring, Slap, Buck, Wing, Tip, Tap and Slide) all dressed in brightly-colored suits. Each brother having their own distinct character trait, which helped later in telling them apart. At first, it was a little hard to hear what was being said over the tapping (they just needed to adjust the mics a bit), but I got the gist that their dad had passed away and they now have to go collect the will, to which they are all happy about. They break into a dance number and the suits make the whole number seem as though you’re watching a rainbow dance on stage! I was hoping they’d make a second appearance, but unfortunately the colored suits are seen no more (though I suppose tap-dancing in suits would get pretty hot).

It’s as though you’re watching a rainbow dance on stage!

Moving on to the office of lawyer, Aloysius Shyster, we find that their father has left them 2 million dollars! BUT there’s a catch! They only get the money if they can prove they are worthy by performing their father’s show, Hot Shoe Shuffle. They try to convince Mr. Shyster that they have what it takes in I’ve Got To Be A Rugcutter, but he’s not convinced. They must do the show, or no money. It’s at this point that we are introduced to April (played by Jaz Flowers), their long-lost sister, who must be included for the show to be complete. Trouble is, she can’t dance, and Spring isn’t too happy about this “new sister”. They head to the rehearsal studio where they get help from Max King (played by David Atkins himself) and start rehearsing. April sings the sad song Long Ago (And Far Away) and may I just say: WOAH! Jaz Flowers can SING! Seriously, if they recorded a cast album I would buy it even if it was for her alone!

The rest of ACT 1 slowly draws you in further and further with its highs and lows, comedic scenes, and songs and numbers like Ain’t Misbehavin’, Handful of Keys, and Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive. Then at the climax of the story plot, the Tap Brothers and Max sing the cleverly situated song, Fifteen Minute Intermission, before the show goes to intermission. It’s safe to say that by this time I was pretty pumped! I also thought that the show was pretty predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t as cliche as I was anticipating.

Jaz Flowers (April) can SING!

ACT 2 begins with April’s lovely song I Get Along Without You Very Well, and if you thought Jaz Flower’s voice sounded great in ACT 1 you’ll LOVE her songs in ACT 2! Then we have Spring and April’s song, Shall We Dance, and within the next few minutes all the conflicts are resolved and the show seems to be coming to an end. BUT WAIT! There’s more! The last 30-40mins of the show we get to see the show within the show! And KABOOM! the talent of the cast suddenly shoots through the roof! Hot Shoe Shuffle was the icing on the cake! Seriously incredible! The Tap Truck number *cue thunder* was so cool and if you ask nicely (cheer and clap like crazy) you might even get to see them do it in the dark! Honestly, how they have enough energy to sing and dance for so long is beyond me! There was so much applause and all extremely well deserved! I don’t think I have ever clapped so much in my life. Was SPECTACULAR!

After the show Enda took us back stage to see if we could meet some of the cast, I was REALLY hoping to meet Jaz! First to come out was Mason (Slide), who at 17 is the youngest of them, and he was really nice and we all talked to him for a bit. Then Jaz came out. YAY! We got photos with them, then we went outside. Travis was stage-dooring and was smart enough to have a pen with him, so when he got their autographs I was able to get them too. Then after saying goodbye to Jess and Travis and their mothers, mum and I headed across the road to catch our train home.

The Tap Truck number was so cool!

I highly recommend Hot Shoe Shuffle! It’s full of surprises and has so many elements! It’s full of one-liners with references all the way from Snow White to Star Wars. It’s got extreme talent! I feel honored to have been a part of its anniversary. Though, keep in mind, if you are thinking of taking little ones, that there is a fair bit of potty humor and some innuendo that is likely to go over their heads. But it is such a great show and I love that it is bridging a gap between generations. I actually think it would make a great old-Hollywood-style movie!

If I could go see them again on their closing night I would! I hope that this is the first of many more shows to come that I’m invited to review, and I’m very glad that I was invited to this one! Now, please excuse me while I go and google where I can find myself a pair of tap shoes.

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Mason, me & Jaz!

– The Girl Wearing Converse

Legally Blonde- QPAC

13 Apr

Saturday 13th of April 1:30pm

Legally Blonde: The Musical…. Hold up! Wait a second! There’s a musical? This is often the first thought that goes through most people’s minds when they first hear of it, including mine. But after checking it out I thought it sounded super fun and girly and I decided I wanted to go! So, I bought myself and my cousin tickets (as a special birthday treat for her) and started getting excited!

The morning finally came! We were keen, even though the rain was a slight dampener on our spirits. We arrived at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) an hour before the show, so we strolled around South Bank (thankfully the rain had died down) and got a bite to eat. As we walked through the puddles we were thankful that we had decided to ditch wearing heels in favor of more comfortable footwear. As it drew closer to show time we headed back to the theatre, bought our programs and found our seats. We didn’t have to wait too long before the lights dimmed and Elle Woods’ voice came over the loud-speaker reminding everyone to turn off their phones or else she would come after them (I thought it was clever of them to be creative with the announcement).

Before I delve into my review I must say a couple of things. Firstly, there was a fair bit of objectionable content with which I, myself, wasn’t awfully comfortable with. BUT having seen the movie I was expecting it, and so I will abstain from commenting on the moral values of the performance and stick to commenting on the music, plot, and characters and how well it did at capturing me as an audience member. Secondly, I would recommend seeing the film before the musical. If you like the film, you’ll love the musical! If you thought the movie was ridiculous, you’ll probably be wanting to give this rendition a skip. The story is pretty much about a (sometimes ditsy) blonde, Elle Woods, who decides to leave her sorority (Delta Nu) and go to Harvard Law School to prove to her ex, Warner Huntington III, that she can be serious (and to hopefully win him back).

The opening song was super catchy!

In the opening number, Omigod You Guys, we are introduced to all the Delta Nu sisters and the show’s star Elle Woods, perfectly played by Lucy Durack. This opening song was super catchy! Exactly as an opening number should be! Though, if you hadn’t seen the movie it might take awhile to realize exactly what they were singing about. Personally, I think that if they had put in one spoken line before the song, it would have made everything alot clearer. There actually isn’t alot of spoken dialogue at all, it truly is a musical!

Rob Mills did an excellent job playing Warner, and his singing in the song,  Serious, sounded great; with the song itself being cleverly made as a sort of “wannabe duet”.  It was  funny while bringing you to sympathize with Elle. Then we have the fun ballad of What You Want where we see Elle becoming determined to do anything to get Warner back, and deciding to go to Harvard in the name of love. The Harvard Variations introduces us to Elle’s new classmates, and I must say that I found the portrayal of one them as lesbian unnecessary, as I don’t believe there was any reference to that in the film. I really loved  Blood in the Water, where we get a glimpse at the evil side of Professor Callahan (who is portrayed perfectly by Cameron Daddo); the rhythm of the song made me almost feel like one of his law students.

Then we have fun cheery songs like Positive (sung by the cheer squad in Elle’s head) or the slow, funny, Celtic song that Elle’s stylist, Paulette (Helen Dallimore), sings called Ireland. Elle finally turns her pain into purpose (after a reprise of Serious) with the help of her friend, Emmett (David Harris), in Chip on My Shoulder. By the time Act 1 is at an end, Elle is feeling So Much Better, and I was feeling happy for her too!

How she could sing with jumping about was amazing!

After the intermission comes the Whipped Into Shape number, which was definitely one of my favorites! It is done like a fitness video for the character, Brooke (Erika Heynatz), and how she could sing while jumping about was AMAZING!  Elle gives Emmett, some courage to stand up to his boss in Take It Like A Man. At about this time we meet “The UPS Delivery Guy” who has his own theme music when he comes to deliver his packages, and it is HILARIOUS! Then we come to the Bend and Snap done in a rap style, which is a move that is supposed to have a 99.9% chance of getting a straight guy’s attention.

The song There! Right There! was very cleverly done, in which everyone is trying to figure out if one guy is gay or European. The title song, Legally Blonde actually had me completely drawn in and I was on the verge of tears, completely feeling for Elle! Then she gets a boost from her friends and Legally Blonde becomes a ballad! There is a reprise of Omigod You Guys and then Elle finally ends with singing Find My Way, when she realizes where she wants to be. The finale had Paulette singing a “where-are-they-now” song. Then the whole cast take their final bows (with the dogs who made appearances as Bruiser and Rufus getting the most applause), and the lights come back on.

“The UPS Delivery Guy” had his own theme music… it was HILARIOUS!

The whole experience was so much fun! The music really did draw me in! I felt for Elle, and could feel her pain and joy. It also had a good lesson in friendship. I would recommend this musical to anyone who enjoys the Legally Blonde movie/s.

*SNAPS* to the creative team that turned this chick-flick into a truly fun, music filled experience!

– The Girl Wearing Converse