Archive for the ‘performing arts stuff’ Category

Theatre review: Les Misérables (Sydney)

May 18th, 2015

Dave and I went to see the new Sydney production of this show recently – he has never seen it on stage before, although he has of course seen the musical version movie.  On the other hand I have seen it at least 6 times before on stage (it may be 7, I lost count), including several previous productions / casts.  Original Australian production (1989 Sydney cast, both versions), original Broadway production (in 1991), 10th anniversary Australian Production (1997), plus very familiar with the International soundtrack which blends cast members from around the world.

Do you hear the people sing?

Do you hear the people sing?

Overall, I am torn about this new production.  The music was good (ie the orchestra).  I thought the new set design, incorporating digital images in place of the revolving stage was good – although there were definitely times when I missed the revolving stage.  The stage direction seemed to make a lot of changes that were borrowed from the film version.  I guess that was ok – although the prologue in the warship rather than in the mining colony was imo unnecessary.  Not only was it a change from the story, it then negated how Valjean was able to set up in business mining the same material.

But oh my – the individual performances?  Incredibly disappointing.  The review in The Australian said that the cast has no show stealers, that “cast members don’t impose their personalities on their roles. Rather, they channel them.”  I feel that is giving most of them too much credit to be honest.  Some of them felt like ghastly caricatures, and were painful to watch – and listen too.  Also while the overall sound of the ensemble was really good, there was another issue – everyone was fast, way ahead of the music.  Not just the ensemble, but soloists too.

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Movie review: The Lovely Bones

April 7th, 2010

We saw this movie in January.  I knew it was a murder mystery, and based on a book, but not much more than that going in.

The movie was set in the early 70s, and the overall visuals had a lovely warm, yellowish colour, like an aged photograph.  Given the narrator’s love of photography, I’m sure this was quite a deliberate effect.  There also wasn’t much mystery for the viewers, as we got to see what happened to Susie Salmon early on.  Therefore it was more a family drama about how those left behind dealt with her absence and not knowing what happened.

Visually the movie was really good.  The performances were all excellent.  Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg were great as the Salmon parents; Stanley Tucci was justifiably nominated for an academy award for his role as the antagonist, and Susan Sarandon stole every scene she was in as the alcoholic grandmother.

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Movie review: Avatar

April 6th, 2010

I saw this on Boxing day and have been meaning to write something but couldn’t be bothered.  It has pretty much been said, but just in case my opinion is required:

– very pretty to look at

– shit boring script, being ‘Heroes Journey, ‘Dances With Wolves’ variation

– Sam Worthing still has the acting talent of a plank of wood.

I spent most of the movie admiring the luminous biosphere and trying to work out what was feasible, but of course I have no idea.  The 3D effect gave me a migraine, and Daedalist is unable to see in 3D anyway so we were not fans of that.

I can’t be bothered writing more than that, but happy to discuss further if anyone actually cares.

Theatre review: War of the Roses

May 25th, 2009

War of the Roses, Sydney Theatre Company, January 2009

War of the Roses, Sydney Theatre Company, January 2009

This is somewhat overdue, but for my birthday in January, Dave and I went to see Sydney Theatre Company’s production for the Festival of Sydney.  This was the ambitious and epic War of the Roses, which saw 8 of Shakespeare’s history plays stripped back and condensed into 2 parts, with 4 discrete acts, and was presented at The Wharf Theatre.  While it was possible to see it over 2 days, we decided to do the marathon effort in one sitting.

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Vale Rob Guest

March 14th, 2009

Originally posted on October 2 2008

I can’t claim to have known him, but I saw Rob Guest perform a number of times in Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.  He had a beautiful, rich voice, and unlike some singers was able to act enough to be convincing in his roles.  Australia has lost one of it’s leading male performers (even if he was born in New Zealand).  Guest was only 57 years old, and we could have assumed that he still had many years of performing left in him.  By all accounts he was as generous with his time and helping young performers as he was at captivating an audience.

I regret that now I will never be able to see him as The Wizard of Oz in Wicked.  Rodney Dobson, who was also excellent in Les Mis will be taking over the role, and I’m sure he will do a good job.  But it still would have been nice to see Rob Guest in the role.

Musical Review: Phantom of the Opera

March 14th, 2009

Originally published on May 28 2008

Today we saw the current Sydney production of Phantom of the Opera.  I have seen it quite a few times with various casts, including New York, Melbourne, and several other Sydney productions.

The venue this time around is the Lyric Theatre at the Star City.  It is not a venue I like much, I think the venue for previous productions – the Theatre Royal – is better.  The Lyric probably holds more in terms of audience, which is probably why it was chosen, but its atmosphere is like a huge shed.

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