2016. What a year.
Perhaps the highlight of the year, was my involvement in the State Opera of South Australia’s world-premiere production of the award winning, and critically acclaimed, Cloudstreet!, an adaptation of Tim Novels quintessentially Australian novel directed by the world-renowned Gale Edwards. It truly was an unforgettable and invaluable experience, to see a work go from ‘page to stage’, and I was so fortunate to meet so many amazing (and bloody talented!) people.
The other major highlight was Promise's fourth cabaret, #SHe, which provided over 20 young people the chance to develop their skills on stage, and off stage. #SHe raised a massive $6,513 for White Ribbon Australia, leaving the total funds raised for charity at over $15,000 in just two years.
The year got off to a rough start: I produced two Fringe shows, but unfortunately only one went ahead. We worked so hard, and due to last minute licensing issues, we were forced to cancel 4 sold out shows, a week before we were set to open. We did everything by the books. It was completely out of our control. Devastating. However, we didn't quit. We rebranded, and 2016 saw major successes for The 60 Four. We held several sold out performances, and sang at over ten private functions.
However, it wasn't all how it seemed. I faced many major hurdles this year: a relationship breakdown, that showed me who my real friends are; missing out on an award that myself and many around me had our hearts set on, which ultimately illustrated that performances are best remembered in hearts and minds, rather than gathering dust on a mantle piece; and being required to take on a role that did not stretch, develop or excite me in any way shape or form, highlighting the fact that the road to success isn't alwasy smooth.
Despite all of this, I was able to complete Year 11 at Scotch College with results that I am extremely proud of. I took on four year 12 subjects, and received four A+'s with two merits. I was fortunate enough to be nominated for a Pride of Australia Medal, and received the Minister for Education and Child Development Award. I also travelled to London and New York this year, and throughly enjoyed catching up with family and friends whom I miss greatly. I also took this as an opportunity to immerse myself in the theatrical scene in both locations, and was inspired by all works of theatre I was lucky enough to attend. I have a beautiful girlfriend, and an oh-so supportive family.
2017 is going to be huge. I have been recently appointed to the GLAM Adelaide Review Team, and I am excited to be able to combine my love for performing arts with my love for literacy. I will be completing Year 12 at Scotch College, where I will also be Captain of Performing Arts. The 60 Four will (finally!) perform four shows in the Adelaide Fringe. Promise Adelaide will continue to support a number of charities, namely the Australian Refugee Association in February, and the Starlight Foundation in August. I will be working intensively with Independent Theatre throughout the year on some exciting projects that will be revealed soon and look forward to my role as Musical Director in Adelaide Youth Theatre's Fringe Production of 13. I also have a major fundraising event planned, which will be announced as soon as possible. Whilst I am proud of Promise's fundraising efforts to date, my goal is to raise $15,000 in 2017 alone, increasing the funds raised for charity by Promise Adelaide to over $30,000 since its inception in 2014. I also look forward to once again travelling to the UK in 2017, to both visit family and also consider pathways for 2018 and beyond. Finally, as a White Ribbon Advocate, I will continue to stand up, speak out and act against violence against women.
Happy New Year!
On Saturday, I went and saw 'Ross', Independent Theatre's final play of 2016, about 'the lives of Lawrence of Arabia'. I was a little intimidated: I had merely heard the name "Lawrence of Arabia", and had no idea what his story was or what he represented.
In short, I fell in love: so much so, I went back last night for seconds.
William Cox was phenomenal as T.E. Lawrence/Aircraftman Ross, leaving me with goosebumps a number of times throughout the play. In fact, the whole male cast of 11 were uniformly strong, especially Nick Buckland as Colonel Barrington, Lindsay Prodea as Ronald Storrs, Domenic Panuccio as The Turkish Military Governor, and Matthew Hein as Auda Abu Tayi.
Rob Croser's direction and staging was beautiful, and with portable tracking huts and a vast, ornate curtain depicting the Middle East, it was a visual feast.
Whether you know the story of the Arab Revolt or not, Ross is a night of entertainment that you should not miss. It deserves bigger audiences. Get along and see Independent Theatre, and very much Adelaide theatre, at its best.
The Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Thursday 17th 7:30pm
Friday 18th 7:30pm
Saturday 19th 2pm and 7:30pm
BROADWAY VS. WEST END: WHO IS ON TOP?
'It wasn't until Broadway came along that I felt I had really made it.' The classic Julie Andrews quote is nowadays reflected in the perceptions and hearts of the vast majority of aspiring Music Theatre, and to some extent, dramatic performers. The comparison between London's West End and New York's Broadway has long been weighed up, with Broadway seemingly always coming out on top. In my humble opinion, and with all due respect, that is utter nonsense.
First of all, it would be unfair to criticise the standard of the shows on Broadway: the talent was completely equal to all the shows I have seen on the West End. One thing I loved about Broadway, was the casts were more diverse. In the four shows I watched, there were performers of all shapes, sizes, ages and races. Perhaps this is because the shows are relatively new, and have been written to include a varied selection of performers. Or perhaps it is because Broadway is ahead of The West End in trying to ditch the stigma that performers have to be size two and six-feet-tall. Whatever the reason, it was a joy to see musicals finally reflecting a wider demographic of audience.
Theatres in London's West End are beautiful: ornate and luxurious. The sense of escapism, which theatre lovers all across the world immerse themselves in, starts as soon as you walk through the grandiose glass doors. Unfortunately that fantasy is lost on Broadway: the theatres look tired, and to some extent even dirty. One would think that this may be because Broadway boasts bigger audiences, and have been used more, and are therefore more rundown. Wrong. Whilst Broadway can cater for an extra three million people per year, a study that has been updated every 5 years has found that West End shows see 2 million people more than Broadway every single year. Going to the theatre on the West End is beautiful from the arrival to the departure. Going to the theatre on Broadway is amazing once you have found your seat, and only until the curtain closes.
That can be further demonstrated through a comparison of the audiences. On the whole, West End audiences are respectful and well dressed. Whilst I understand that I can't talk for all of Broadway, for the four shows that I viewed recently, there were members of the audience who were far from respectful in their behaviour, and far from tasteful in their dress sense. Each show I went to had audience members in outfits ranging from suits and formal dresses, to jeggings (yes - jeggings!) and shorts and thongs. What ever happened to the glitz and the glam? And the audience etiquette fell considerably short. As I sat and watched Chicago, the lady next to me decided to give her rendition of 'All That Jazz'. Unfortunately, it was pitchy and grating, and after multiple requests for her to cease, she eventually succumbed to her large bag of M&M's, which was arguably worse. That was just one example: every show I went to had audience members who talked throughout, and munched noisily on their snacks. I understand that this does not directly impact performers, and therefore does not impact those aspiring music theatre performers all over the world, but it does affect the overall 'Broadway' experience - and at twice (and sometimes thrice) the price of a West End ticket, that isn't good value for money.
In the end, if you are looking for good theatre, West End and Broadway both deliver. But if you are looking for a good theatrical experience, the West End is the way to go.
WEST END - APOLLO THEATRE
Based on L.P Hartley's novel, The Go-Between follows Leo Colston, an elderly man who vividly recalls his unwitting role as a go-between for the beautiful upper-class Marian and tenant-farmer Ted. The story takes place during the time spent in Norfolk at the country house of Colston's school friend Marcus 50 years earlier.
At 74 years old, Michael Crawford was sublime. Although his voice was, expectedly, not as strong as it once was, his character's reflection on his younger years was enchantingly beautiful, and hauntingly emotive: from the front row, the tears running down his face were clearly evident. The other standout was Johnny Evans-Hutchison as the younger Leo Tolstoy, who had the audience in the palm of his hand with his stunning vocals and charming wit.
Unfortunately, whilst the drama was evocative and gripping, the musical element was quite bland. There was a lack of lavish, standout numbers that you could hum on the way home, and in this sense, the music was seemingly secondary in importance. Whilst a pretty accompaniment was provided by the highly competent pianist, Nigel Lilley, the musical would have benefited from the resonant, sweeping melodies only an orchestra can provide.
The Go-Between was a craft of love. With all preconceptions left at the door, it was an enjoyable night - and worth it for the stage door photo with the man himself!
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
LONDON - SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE
The Globe Theatre hosts a diverse range of classic performances, with a new program announced every change of season. As well as bench seating, the theatre boasts 700 'yard standing' tickets at just £5 (approximately $8AUD) for each show in this program. What amazing value! I'm going to be honest, though: I was a little intimidated. The thought of three hours of Shakespeare, standing up, in an open air theatre on a cold day didn't arouse excitement... but it was incredible.
The Merchant of Venice is set in 16th century Venice, where a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, loans a large sum of money to a merchant, Antonio, for a friend with romantic ambitions. After Shylock does not receive his money back, he demands a gruesome payment instead.
Firstly, it must be mentioned that the venue was spectacular: you can't really get much better than the authentic reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe for a classic Shakespeare play! Jonathan Pryce is a veteran in all things Shakespeare, and gave a bold and compassionate Shylock. However, the highlights were the humorous scenes, in which Giles Terara and Christopher Logan, who played the Prince of Morocco and the Prince of Arragon respectively, shone, as they failed to select the casket necessary to wed Portia. Their comic timing was perfect, leaving the audience in fits of laughter. Every actor and actress gave performances worthy of mention: all lines were delivered with clarity and could be heard clearly (except on the rare occasion when a jumbo jet flew overhead - the joys of open air theatre!). The fourth wall was cleverly broken on a number of occasions, with actors entering the stage through the audience, and two audience members taking part in a hilarious scene on stage with Launcelot Gobbo (Stefan Adegobola).
I was engrossed from start to finish: and at £5, it was nothing short of brilliance.
IN THE HEIGHTS
WEST END - KINGS CROSS THEATRE
Lin Manuel-Miranda's Hamilton has revolutionised modern day musical theatre, and is without a doubt the hottest ticket on Broadway. So, when the opportunity arose to attend his earlier, 2008 hit show, I grabbed it with both hands.
The Heights' is the vibrant Latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights, where a tight-knit community find the true meaning of home. The isolation of the Kings Cross Theatre accentuated a sense of escapism, and as I was escorted down a narrow winding corridor to a large, graffiti-covered warehouse that housed a traverse 500 seat auditorium, it was clear that I was In The Heights.
The show is very Hamilton-esque, with hip-hop motifs and a heavy rap influence at the crux of its success. The ensemble danced Drew McOnie's exceptional street choreography with high discipline and sharp attack, resulting in seamless high-energy movement. Sam Mackay as the charming narrator-like figure Usnavi delivers a fine performance, with many poignant emotional moments, whilst Aimie Atkinson as Daniela causes many a laugh from the eager audience. However, the show was stolen by Sarah Naudi and Gabriela García, who played Vanessa and Nina respectively. Their powerhouse vocals were absolutely stunning, and brought the house down (and the people up!) numerous times.
In The Heights was bold and engaging, with just the right amount of sensitivity.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME
WEST END - GIELGUD THEATRE
A few months ago, I picked up Mark Haddon's novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and fell in love with the compassionate insight from 15-year-old narrator Christopher. The Aspergers syndrome sufferer tries to investigate the death of his neighbours dog, but learns about himself and his relationships with his parents, neighbours and other mentors along the way. Simon Stephens' stage adaptation is perfect.
Joseph Ayre is astonishing as Christopher, capturing his prowess in mathematics, and in moments of extreme poignancy, his social inability. Scenes where Ayre kneels whimpering, with his face on the ground, are particularly moving. Ayre is supported by a strong ensemble cast. Nicholas Tennant is excellent as Christopher's father Ed: his scenes with Christopher are hair-raisingly moving; while Sarah Stanley showers Christopher in love and adoration as his mother. Jo Castleton provides the narration of Christopher's book, which is indeed an example of Stephens' intelligible way of adapting the first-person narrative to the stage. Matthew Trevannion brought humour to the show in his great number of supporting roles, particularly the scene following Christopher's breathtakingly suspenseful scene on the tracks of the London Underground.
Bunny Christies set design was extremely clever and aesthetically appealing. The LED squares transported the audience into Christopher's head, conveying a visual understanding of his thought processes. Along with Finn Ross' effective video design, Paule Constable's vibrant lighting design and Ian Dickinson's striking sound design, The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time is one of the most technologically advanced productions on the West End.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was poignant, and with moments of sheer brilliance and hilarity, it was perfectly balanced. It was one of my most memorable nights at the theatre.
ANDREA BOCELLI'S CINEMA IN CONCERT
WORLD TOUR - THE 02 ARENA
Andrea Bocelli is iconic. Permanently blind since the age of 12, the Italian classical singer has been affectionately dubbed 'The World's Most Beloved Tenor'. Bocelli took to London's 02 Arena for one night only as part of his Cinema World Tour: and oh, what a night it was.
Firstly, The 02 Arena is monumental. Seating approximately 20,000 people, the elliptical stadium was far from intimate, but large LCD screens meant that each audience member received the most personal experience possible. Joining Bocelli were several special guests: singers Nicole Scherzinger, Carly Paoli and Elisa Balbo; and violinist Caroline Campbell. Scherzinger sang a heartfelt rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats hit, 'Memory', but was vocally tense in her loud belts. Paoli brought many of the audience members to tears when she performed her single 'A Time For Mercy', a hauntingly beautiful affair. Whilst Balbo's 'Que Fais-Tu, Blanche Tourturelle' was well sung, she did not deliver as strong a performance as her counterparts. Campbell's talent on the violin was breathtaking: her swift finger-movements in 'Csardas', which began act 2, had the audience on their feet.
Bocelli was divine: his range is vastly extensive, although one wouldn't realise as his voice soars over the top notes. His program ranged from musical theatre anthems, such as 'Music of The Night' from Phantom Of The Opera, and 'Maria' from West Side Story, to operatic greats, such as Verdi's 'La Donna è Mobile' and 'Brindisi: Libiamo, Libiamo'. This diversity ensured that the audience members remained attentive; although it was hard not to anyway. Bocelli was backed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who, under the direction of Musical Director Marcello Rota, accompanied his supreme vocal talent perfectly.
This concert would be appreciated by everyone, whether classical musical is their preference or not. Bocelli has one of the greatest voices in the world, and seeing him live is incomparable to any of his albums. This was a big tick on my bucket list.
BROADWAY - AMBASSADOR THEATRE
Chicago tells the story of vaudevillians-come-murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, who find themselves on death row together, and fight for the fame that will keep them from being hanged. Second to Phantom Of The Opera, it is Broadway's longest running musical: it had it's 7,486th performance in November 2014, and has continued to play every night since then. Quite an impressive feat. But what makes the musical so popular? I soon found out.
Director Walter Bobbie has assembled a strong and strapping cast, who execute Ann Reinking's Fosse-style choreography flawlessly. Lina Gordon was prominent as nightclub singer Velma Kelly, while Dylis Croman portrays the hopeful housewife Roxie Hart perfectly, with just the right amount of poignancy to counteract her zest. NaTasha Yvette Williams was vocally divine as Matron 'Mama' Morton, whilst Jason Danieley was charming as the smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, demonstrating his impressive vocal ability in 'All I Care About'. Raymond Bokhour was outrageously funny as Roxy's naive ex-husband, with his simplistic portrayal causing some of the best laughs in the show, whilst his empathetic rendition of 'Mr Cellophane' demonstrated his sensitivity.
William Long's costume design was simple yet effective: the female ensemble wore basic black leotards and the male ensemble wore black tights with various open-shirts for the shows entirety. The orchestra were positioned on a large, tiered platform in the centre of the stage, leaving only the downstage and far sides of the stage accessible to the cast. Despite the simplistic costume and set design, Bobbie was able to keep the audience enthralled. Characters regularly broke the fourth wall and interacted with the conductor, and Gordon and Croman often climbed up the sides of the proscenium.
Chicago will sweep you off your feet. It was a thoroughly enjoyable night at the theatre.
BOOK OF MORMON
BROADWAY - EUGENE O'NEILL THEATRE
From the creators of South Park and the composer of Frozen comes the 2011 hit-show Book Of Mormon, where two young Mormons are sent on a mission to convince the people of a small village in Uganda to become part of the church of Mormon. Whilst it is not suitable for children, nor the faint hearted, Book Of Mormon is one of the few shows that I could sit through repeatedly without growing bored in the slightest.
This performance starred understudy Gabe Gibbs as the conceited Elder Price, whose egotistical deprecating nature was hilarious and loveable, demonstrating his natural ability to perform such a role. Gibbs' vocals were strong, although it was evident he was struggling to reach some of the high-tenor notes. Christopher John O'Neill as Elder Cunningham was faultless: while his nerdy nature was humorous, he brought a sensitivity that demonstrated his character's oppression. Gibbs and O'Neill made an engaging double act. Nikki Renée Daniels showed her extensive versatility as Nabulungi, with extremely amusing moments in 'Baptise Me' with O'Neill, and vulnerability and naivety in 'Sal Tlay Ka Siti': her vocals in the latter were exceptional. Other standouts included Stephen Ashfield as the sexually self-repressing Elder McKinley, and Derrick Williams as General Butt-Fucking-Naked.
Scott Asks scenic design was magical, transporting us to the Ugandan Desert, Orlando Florida, and the deep dungeons of Hell. Ann Roth's magnificently authentic costumes complimented this perfectly, and were also used for gags (life size Darth Vader anyone?).
Book Of Mormon is fantastic, if you leave your values at the door. You laugh, you gasp, you cry and you cheer. This is the escapism of musical theatre at it's best.
BROADWAY - ST JAMES THEATRE
Something Rotten! is arguably one of the most unappealing titles of any show on Broadway: but strangely, it is also one of the most intelligible. The take on 16th Century Shakespeare mixed with 21st Century Broadway tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, two playwrights stuck in the shadow of narcissistic writer William Shakespeare. Eager to bring out something new, Nick turns to a soothsayer, who foretells that the next big thing in theatre would be the musical.
Rob McClure as Nick Bottom lead the company with an aggressive energy: his stupendous facial expressions often causing one to view him as a blundering cartoon. Younger Brother Nigel was played by a much less aggressive Josh Grisetti, who had some beautiful (and hilarious!) scenes with love interest Portia, played by Catherine Brunell. Leslie Kritzer delivered as Nick's wife Bea, demonstrating her vocal ability in 'Right Hand Man'. Eric Sciotto was perfectly ostentatious as the self-centred rock-star pastiche on William Shakespeare. Tony-nominated Brad Oscar demonstrated why he deserved his accolades, dominating the stage as prophet Nostradamus.
The ensemble were exceptionally strong: each actor brought their own take to their characters, resulting in it being just as beneficial to watch the upstage activity, rather than continually focusing on the downstage action. Scott Pask's stunning scenic design and Greg Barnes' striking Elizabethan costume design supported this idea, and there were times where I caught myself looking around the back of the stage for minutes on end. But this came at a cost. Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick's musical has a supremely clever and jam-packed text, and is plagued with musical theatre industry references and orchestral riffs to support these tributes. The homage to dozens of musicals in the act 2 pinnacle 'Something Rotten' was unforgettable, and had the audience on their feet.
My only criticism would be that, in order to get the most out of the constant references, I would want to see it again, and again, and again. But, what an enjoyable criticism!
BROADWAY - BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE
Walking into a show you have never heard of before, and coming out wanting to walk straight back in again, is always a satisfying feeling: and exactly how I felt when I saw this amazing show. Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and toxic marriage. With a baby on the way, her sights are set on a baking contest with a considerable cash prize, as well as the town's new doctor, to rebuild her life.
The cast of leads were extremely strong. Tony Award winning Jessie Mueller as Jenner was beautiful. Her character's carefully measured evolution from vulnerable to courageous was seamless and plausible, whilst her evocative intent was evident in each note she sung. Although Mueller's vast vocal range was impressive, her distinctive tendency to use pop-style inflections and riffs throughout grew irritating. William Popp as Jenna's abusive husband Earl was detestable, and a sense of discomfort accompanied him whenever he was on stage: and in this respect, was played perfectly. Drew Gehling demonstrated both his lovability and his naughty side as Jenna's gynaecologist-turn-lover (yes, you read that correctly), and Dakin Matthews was endearing as pie-shop-owner Joe. However, the show stealer was Christopher Fitzgerald as Ogie: the blind-date from Hell. His comedic timing and intense energy were hilarious throughout his two numbers: 'Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me' and 'I Love You like A Table'.
While the lyrics were simple and the plot oddly predictable, Waitress stands aside from many other musicals due to Sarah Bareilles' score, which mixed traditional music theatre with modern contemporary music. Unfortunately, some of the simulated sex scenes in the show limit the demographic that this show is suited for, but none the less, the fantastic soundtrack will bring music theatre to a younger generation: and with underlying anti-domestic violence and gender-equality messages throughout, what better soundtrack to do it with.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
UK TOUR - MAYFLOWER THEATRE
The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best stories of all time. It tells the story of two imprisoned men, who bond over a number of years, and find solace and redemption through acts of mutual decency. So, when I discovered that a staged adaptation was touring the UK, I purchased my ticket with a feeling of fascination and skepticism: and I left feeling enthusiastic yet disappointed.
Ben Onwuke as Ellis 'Red' Redding had huge shoes to fill, with Morgan Freeman playing the character in the 1994 blockbuster. Onwuke delivered a strong performance, increasing the charisma and wit of the role, whilst also expressing the sensitive-side after he is granted parole. Paul Nicholls portrayed the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne perfectly, with just the right mix of charm and vulnerability to make the audience fall in love with him. His scenes with 'sisters' Bogs Diamond and Rooster, played by Jeff Alexander and Sean Croke respectively, are memorable, including an especially confronting gang rape played out on stage. Jack Ellis was thoroughly detestable as the corrupt Warden Stammas, conveying a sinister misuse of religion well.
While the script had merit, it seemed considerably underdeveloped. Adaptors Owen O'Neill and Dave Johns seem to have focused attention on many of the trivial scenes, whilst glossing over numerous crucial scenes. Unfortunately, David Esbjornson's direction did more to hinder the production's success. Scenes were drawn out longer than necessary, and as a consequence, the play is stilted. Easily avoidable and prolonged set changes occurred between most scenes, decreasing the play's fluidity. While Gary McCann's prodigious set design depicted various areas of the state prison, a greater emphasis on the individual cells would have better conveyed the sense of claustrophobia that drove many of the inmates to their deaths.
The Shawshank Redemption had moments of great drama, humour and emotion as well as a talented cast but this relatively new work needs further development to come close to having the impact that the story deserves.
I am very honoured to be nominated for a 2016 Pride of Australia Medal. I feel very blessed that Promise Adelaide is continually supported in all of it's ventures.
See the below article by Celeste Villani, which appeared in the Mitcham & Hills Messenger on the 28 September 2016. Photo by Greg Higgs.
Giving young Adelaide performers a chance to shine while raising money for charity prompted Ben Francis to start his own production company, Promise Adelaide.
Since 2014, the Scotch College student has raised about $9000 for charities, including The Cancer Council and beyondblue, by organising and directing cabaret shows.
His next production, #SHe, will raise money for White Ribbon Australia to end domestic violence against women.
The show, which stars about 20 performers from across Adelaide, will feature about 30 songs to empower females.
"I always try to pick charities close to my heart or that are topical," Ben, 17, says.
"At Scotch College, Year 11 students always have a White Ribbon initiative where we do fundraisers at school and that's one of the reasons I chose the charity."
The Craigburn Farm resident, who moved to Australia from England eight years ago, says his Out of the Blue show last November for beyondblue has so far been his most fulfilling event.
"My family has a history of depression," Ben says.
"The Heart Foundation I chose because it was near Valentine's Day so it seemed fitting, and the first one I did in memory of my grandmother who died of breast cancer in 2004."
Ben's fundraising efforts have been recognised with a nomination in News Corporation's Pride of Australia Awards, which recognise people who make their community a better place.
"It feels great to be nominated and I am happy that people appreciate what I am doing," he says.
#SHe is on at Scotch College, Carruth Rd Torrens Park, on Saturday 3 December and Sunday 4 December. Cost: Adults $25, concession $20. More details: promiseadelaide.com.
Promise Adelaide is proud to be supporting White Ribbon with a cabaret on the 3rd and 4th December. #SHe is a song and dance spectacular, featuring an amazing selection of talented youth performers under the age of 21. All proceeds will go to White Ribbon: Australia's campaign to stop violence against women.
Tickets and more information are available here!
After many hours of deliberation, the production team are proud to announce the cast of the 2017 Adelaide Fringe production of 13.
More information, and tickets, will be available soon. Stay tuned!
Congratulations to the entire cast!
Rent is a rock musical that tells the story of a group of impoverished and aspiring young artists, struggling to survive in New York City. Centering around roommates Mark and Roger, themes of love, loss, AIDS and modern-day life are epitomized as Mark captures these potent range of topics in an attempt to make a film.
Director/Vocal Coach Mark Stefanoff, Assistant Director/Choreographer Nina Richards and Musical Director Ben Stefanoff have assembled an able-cast, whom each deliver strong performances. Special mention must be made to Stefanoff’s spectacular vocal and dance ability as drag-queen Angel, which certainly demonstrated why he has previously won awards for the role interstate. Fiona DeLaine, whose stunning vocals and hilarious portrayal of Maureen had audience members in fits of laughter, providing moments of crucial comic relief. Jennifer Trijo as Mimi showed off her intense vocal capability, particularly in her impressive rendition of Out Tonight.
Stefanoff’s set design was effective, with all curtains removed, and a minimal selection of fixed props. While some audience members new to the show might have found the distinction between locations unclear, the sparseness of the stage signified a blank canvas, representing the antithesis of the conflicting desires experienced by each of the characters throughout the show.
Costumes by Casey von Einem and Roxie Giovanucci were effective and aesthetically appealing, suiting the period to a tee, and Matt Ralph’s lighting design was effective. Unfortunately, the unbalanced sound mix meant the cast often struggled to be heard over the band, with audience members left grasping for lyrics as they tried to understand the complex plot. One hopes these levels are rectified as the season continues.
Overall, Marie Clarkes' Rent is a must-see for both lovers and newcomers to the musical alike.