Show Boat

I haven't seen Show Boat performed before, despite it being one of the classics. I have the OBCR on record and 'Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man' is one of my favourite songs to sing, but I knew nothing of the plot. And wow was it depressing. Not your usual sort of cheery Hammerstein and Kern offering at all. I found the music very interesting, as well. When you see it up on stage, you realise just how much of a mix of styles there is. I enjoyed it, personally.

The best bit, though, was Gareth Keegan. Everyone is familiar with my ravings about him by now. But I've never heard him sing something so classical as this was and just WOW. E said when I was discussing the show with her afterwards that I sounded like a proud parent, and I do have a weird thing where I feel proud of him for coming so far in his career and so excited about how far I think he's going to go. And I am determined that he must play the Phantom, now ;p There were several notes in Show Boat that were almost like he was channelling Crawford.

Alinta Chidzey was amazing as well. I've not heard her singing so classically either (some of the songs were basically light opera in terms of how they were performed) and she hit it right out of the park. Christina O'Neill is always great, and she continued to be great in this, although I was disappointed that she wasn't in it more. Eddie Muliaumaseali'i was fantastic as Joe – his 'Ol' Man River' really anchored the production. Glenn Hill was a bit nothing-y as Frank, but I really enjoyed Nicole Melloy as Ellie May.

All up, it was a great production, and it really feels like TPC are back on track after a couple of disappointing seasons.

Match Girls

Recently, I also saw Match Girls, by Ephiny Gale, which was produced as part of the Monash Container Festival. It's a darkly quiet piece, collecting monologues with brief moments of interaction between the three actors playing the main and minor roles. There were difficulties caused by a cast member dropping out, which meant that the role of the Queen was divided between two actresses – Natalie Pharaoh and Ephiny herself – at the last minute, and they both did very admirable jobs that would have stood up well regardless. Maria Roitman is always a delight to watch, and she added warmth and subtlety to the Witch, while Nicola Mason added a lightness to the play that was very appropriate to her role as the Light Princess. The direction by Zahra Shah captured the many layers of the work well, and her set design was perfect for the intimate space.

June 2017

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