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The Little Mermaid

Victorian State Ballet. The Concourse, Chatswood. April 10-12, 2021

Reviewed : 11 April, 2021

Photo : Enpointe Productions

The ballet of The Little Mermaid was adapted by Martin Sierra from the original story by Hans Christian Anderson. Sierra chose music from a range of composers including Johann Sebastian Strauss, Franz Lehar, Dimitri Shostakovich, Gioachino Rossini, Brian Crain, Aram Khachaturian and Camille Saint-Saëns to re-tell this tale as a full-length classical ballet.

Choreographer Michelle Cassar de Sierra uses the varied score to capture the suggestion of life under the sea in flowing choreography for Ariel and her mermaid friends in the first act – then subtly changes the choreography as she moves on to the land in the second act. Cassar de Sierra is widely respected for her “unique ability to balance the tension between innovation and tradition” and the ‘kitchen’ scene in Act 2, is testament to that. The Cook and his kitchen staff bring humour and fun to the ballet in fast paced movement and leaps to excerpts from Rossini’s Barber of Seville.

The different settings of the story provide wonderful scope for colour and delicacy in design. Costume designers Jan Tredrea & Gaylene Matthewson use shimmering fabrics and iridescent beading to suggest life under the sea – and more formal white and gold for the lavish costumes in the palace scenes.

The magic of technology and photography allows designers to set – and change – scenes evocatively and quickly. With the use of videography and images projected on a huge, stage-wide screen, Martin Sierra, Jutta Pryor create the sea at peace and in storm – and the luxury one expects when Ariel wakes in a sumptuous palace in the second act.

Before these images over fifty elegant and talented dancers from the Victorian Ballet bring Martin and Michelle Sierra’s inspiration to life.

Photo : Enpointe Productions

Among the principals, Janae Kerr and Alana Puddy alternate as Ariel and Charlie Morton is Prince Eric. Tynan Wood is King Triton. Ursula Sera Schuller and Mia Wallace double as Ursula and Elise May Watson-Lord is Eric’s fiancée. All dancers impress of course with their control, their extensions, their beautifully finished movements and extended bourrees and the succession of pas de deux in the second act were exquisitely executed.

When the Victorian State Ballet brings a production to Sydney, they very generously offer the chance for aspiring young dancers to be part of the production. It is a wonderful opportunity for those who are successful to extend their skills – and learn much about the organisation and control required by dancers behind the scenes of a major production.

In this production of The Little Mermaid a fortunate and delighted group of forty-two young dancers from NSW and the ACT joined the production in the scene of Ariel’s birthday party. Proud parents and other family members were among the keen audiences – many of whom were children – that filled The Concourse for each performance.

Bringing such a large Corps de Ballet inter-state is a major task. Transporting dancers, costumes, props, stage managers, back-stage to take care of costumes, make and hair styling requires an inordinate amount of organisation and control behind the scenes. Add to that the training and rehearsing of a young group of dancers at the same times as the company adjust to new accommodation and a new venue. It’s a mammoth undertaking and one the Victorian Ballet appears to do seamlessly – to the delight of its Sydney audiences.

First published in Stage Whispers magazine

Always a Bridesmaid

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Castle Hill Players. Director: Meredith Jacobs. Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill. 9th April – 1st May, 2021
Reviewed : April 5, 2021
Photo : Chris Lundie

Being a bridesmaid is pretty special! It doesn’t happen often. Once – or maybe twice at the most – but these gals get to do it even more often! Sometimes for the same bride! At the same reception house! Four bridesmaids, four brides, and a flamboyant meddlesome “mistress of the house”!

It’s a recipe for fun, and that’s just what director Meredith Jacobs has cooked up! With lots of colour and pace, she has developed this happy little play into a slick, entertaining piece of theatre.

The concept may sound simple, but the ‘fun’ takes place over seven years – and over seven years things change – especially fashion, style and décor. With weddings and wedding venues involved, the audience might expect something special.

Jacobs and her designers don’t disappoint! The set, designed by the very elusive Trevor Chaise, could well be a genuine suite in a ‘grand old’ Virginian plantation mansion. It is impressively realistic and thoughtfully decorated. Watch for the meticulous attention to detail – and the explicit changes over time.

Similar care – and quite a lot of time I imagine – has been taken with the costumes. Four weddings, three of them for ‘mature’ brides and bridesmaids, over seven years, in four scenes, means at least twenty costume changes, some of which have to be exactly the same! According to the program, it took a team of five talented ‘researchers’ to find the many suitably tasteful – and sometimes appropriately outrageous – costumes the play required.

Fast costume changes are never easy, especially when they demand a degree of ‘ceremonial’ fastidiousness, but this very disciplined cast handle each complicated change with professional aplomb, bringing their bridal party characters back on stage just a tad older but impeccably coiffured. Well, except for one, but that is perfectly in character!

Too much about design, you may think. Not so. Plays such as this depend greatly on ‘place and time’ for the action to work. This set clearly fixes the place for the audience. James Winters uses lighting to define the ambience. Joshua McNulty’s bright original music recorded by the Film Harmonia Orchestra distinguishes the mood. With all that done, the cast take the stage in scenes filled with humour, anxious, twitchy pre-wedding stress – and skilfully directed action and pace.

Photo : Chris Lundie

Kari Ames Bissette (Chantal Vavasour) is the first bride we meet – in front of the curtain! In a wedding dress that sparkles just as brightly as the champagne she sips, Kari is beginning her bridal speech, which she continues in between-scene snippets throughout the evening – a sneaky ploy devised by the playwrights to offset the costume changes. Vavasour carries off the cumulative effect of the champagne cleverly as the play progresses– and makes a special appearance in the final scene.

The first of the more mature brides is Monette Gentry. This is her third wedding, and her school friends have come to support her once again. Meredith Jacobs herself has stepped into this role due to a “last minute change in the bridal party”. It is good to see Jacobs on the stage again, and she brings to the role the same energy and passion she expects of her cast. Her Monette is stylish, confident, a little bit haughty, even a little tough, but still ‘one of the girls’ – who are all clearly established in this first, funny scene.

There is Libby Ruth Ames, played by Gina Willison, new to the stage and doing a sterling job as the very organised and motherly Libby Ruth. She irons, tidies, commiserates and placates. It is clear she has always been the conciliator whom the others turn to for a sympathetic ear.

Penny Johnson is Deedra Wingate, the most steadfast of the foursome. She has to be, she is a judge after all. Johnson’s Deedra is upright, respectable, aware of her position – and just a little bit distant in her relationship with the others. Until the third scene, when things get completely out of her control.

Photo : Chris Lundie

Then there is Charley Collins! A bit awkward, a bit self-conscious … and still single! This character is a gift for an actor who has good timing and strong comedic skills – and Leigh Scanlon has both. She makes Charley lovably gauche, endearingly self-effacing and very funny.

All four ‘bridesmaids’, and eventually Kari too, are effectively corralled by Annette Snars as Sedalia Ellicott, event organiser extraordinaire. Snars plays Sedalia with exuberant verve, sweeping around the stage like a veritable whirlwind, hurrying preparations along, puffing decorative pillows, fussing, agitating and advising.

Jacobs, with assistant director Julian Floriano and her creative design team, has produced a strong ensemble production that will be a safe and entertaining injection for audiences anxious to forget for a while the perplexities of the real world.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine

 

La Traviata

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia. Director: Constantine Costi. Conductor: Brian Castles-Onion. March 26th to April 25th 2021.

Reviewed : March 26, 2021

Photo : Prudence Upton

After a week of torrential rain, Sydney sparkles for the opening night of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata … on the harbour! With the Opera House and the city skyline shining through a clear, balmy night, it seems impossible to believe that only three days ago the city cowered under torrential rain – and flood waters surged throughout the state.

Even as the eager audience crowds into the stunning outdoor venue that is Handa Opera on the Harbour, thousands of families are mourning the loss of their homes, their businesses, their crops, their livestock – and desperately trying to clear away the mud and debris left behind. And this after a year of anxiety and pandemic enforced restrictions – and that began just as this current production was about to open.

Through the blessings of distance, sound governance and a sensible society, the restrictions of the last twelve months have been lifted … and here we are on a fine autumn night in 2021 at the opening night of the production that was put on hold a year ago.

That makes it rather special for the director Constantine Costi and his cast and crew – special and historic – because La Traviata was the very first opera to grace the iconic harbour stage in 2012. In the words of Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini:

“La Traviata holds a very special place in our hearts. Brian Thompson’s brilliant chandelier and Francesca Zambello’s original production set the benchmark for future Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour productions and have become iconic symbols of this extraordinary event.”

That “brilliant chandelier” is just as impressive today as it must have been in 2012. Made up of 10,000 crystals, it is 9 metres high, 9 metres wide and weighs 3.5 tonnes. Manoeuvred by crane, it hangs above a stage twice as wide as any indoor Australian stage, a stage that, though it appears to ‘float’ on the harbour, can support up to 150 tonnes. Housed beneath it is a studio where 40 musicians send the contrasting themes of ‘love and death’ in Verdi’s score echoing across the harbour.

La Traviata is based on the true story of a vibrant young Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis, who, despite suffering from tuberculosis, the consumptive plague-like disease that raged in Europe in the 1800s, led a short but colourfully heady life.

Photo : Prudence Upton

Duplessis is recreated by Verdi in his heroine, Violetta, whose arias are sung in this production by the remarkably talented and expressive Stacey Alleaume. Alleaume, a diminutive figure on the wide, stark, open harbour-side stage, and dwarfed by the huge chandelier above her, is nevertheless a force of nature whose energy appears unfailing. Her voice resonates dizzyingly high into the evening sky throughout the party scenes of the first two acts, then reaches plaintively across the water in the final, poignant scenes.

The duets with Rame Lahaj as her lover, Alfredo, are beautiful examples of Verdi’s talent to bring together the instruments of voice and orchestra. Lahaj, billed as one of the most prominent tenors of his generation, gives Alfredo’s love for Violetta the vocal depth and richness that offset her feverish vitality.

Michael Honeyman, who plays Alfredo’s father, Giorgio, has the difficult task of convincing Violetta to give up her affair with his son for the sake of family honour. Not an easy task, even when sung to Verdi’s forceful score and librettist Francesco Maria Piave’s persuasive words.

With the equally talented voices of nine other principals, a forty strong chorus and twenty dancers, Costi’s production is a tribute to the original production – and the spirit that kept the team buoyant through a very difficult year. With Tess Schofield’s colourful costumes based in the post-war glamour of the 1950s and the creative electric imagination of lighting designer John Rayment, this ninth Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is one that will be remembered.

Photo : Prudence Upton

At a time when theatres are still ‘dark’ throughout so much of the world, the captivating notes of La Traviata ring out rebelliously in this historic production. In the words of Opera Australia Patron in Chief and Founder and Chairman of the International Foundation of Arts and Culture (IFAC):

“Though there are many challenges still to come, the long-awaited return of our artistic celebration, here in Sydney, is a beacon of hope for us all”.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine

Outdated

Written and Directed by Mark Kilmurry. Ensemble Theatre. March 5 – April 17, 2021

Seen : March 20, 2021

Photo : Prudence Upton.

Launchpad Double Bill : Let Me Know When You Get Home

By Miranda Aguilar; Directed by Valerie Berry. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. 18-20 March, 2021.

Reviewed : March 19, 2021.

Photo : Noni Carroll.

How many times have you heard those words? Or said them? How many times have you wished someone would say them to you? What do they mean?

Miranda Aquilar uses them ambiguously to title this work that covers the host of insecurities and trepidations that are part of coming-of-age – especially if you are trying to escape a  “racist, homophobic and transphobic community”. She says she wrote the play for “every queer person who has been told they need to ‘escape’ Western Sydney … I wanted a work that didn’t say, ‘it gets better,’ but instead tells young people, ‘I know it sucks right now, so I’m going to stay here with you.’”

That’s a big ask, particularly as the ‘young people’ to whom she is reaching out are many and their backgrounds are diverse. But that’s okay, because she’s peopled her play with characters – and actors – who artfully represent that wide diversity. And she’s set the play in the lead up to Mardi Gras, where the group dynamics involved in making costumes and deciding who will carry the flag expose the very different backgrounds of the characters, their strengths and frailties, and their need to feel they belong.

The cast – Gloria Demillo, Brooke Lee, Tommy Misa, Rose Maher and Jemma R Wilks – work through a series of scenes that, though they cover the plethora of fears and anxieties Aguilar obviously understands so well, are peppered gently with humour and affection. Much of this is carried by Tommy Misa’s charismatic style and clever ability to mix empathy and pathos with just the right amount of glitz and glam.

Photo : Noni Carroll.

Many themes are inter-related: coming out, getting away, isolation, finding friends, acceptance, rejection, coming home. Demillo and Lee take their characters Val and Thi from school day friendship to late teen acceptance of who they are and who they think they might be. Jemma Wilks is the ‘every-mum’ who worries and fusses but is understanding. Rose Maher manages the turmoil the Mardi Gras preparations.

The set is simple but the constant movement of boxes and the business with superfluous props are distractions that draw out the production unnecessarily. Aguilar makes her point through the dialogue her characters and that’s where the direction should have been centred.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe, loved and accepted. I hope this work feels like home …”

First published in Stage Whispers magazine.

Launchpad Double Bill : The Sorry Mum Project

Written and performed by Pippa Ellams Directors: Hannah Goodwin, Tasha O’Brien. Riverside Theatres, Parramatta. 18-20 March, 2021

Reviewed : March 19, 2021

Photo : Noni Carroll.

Pippa Ellams aplogises to her mother in a way that not only acknowledges her mother but suggests to “grown up children in the audience that they consider giving their mum a call”. As Ellams looks back on all the strange things her mother “cried over” she nudges the daughters – and sons – in the audience to remember the things they took for granted, the times they should have said ‘thank you’, and just how often they forgot to say ‘sorry’. She also reminds them of just how embarrassing parents can be!

Ellam chooses her mother’s ambitions for her as a dancer to characterise and recapitulate her childhood. The many dance lessons, the fanciful costumes, even a visit to the Moulin Rouge. Though her anecdotes are filled with humour, I wonder if she realises that the feelings of resentment and humiliation that underscore the comedy reignite memories to the mothers in the audience as well.

Photo : Noni Carroll.

Does she see them cringing as they recall the many times they dragged their reluctant offspring to violin lessons? Or sent them to school in uniforms a few sizes too big so they could “grow into them”? Or embarrassed them by singing too loudly in church?

Ellams tells her story colourfully, surrounded by costumes, photographs and snatches of music. She uses the rhythms and patterns of the dance lessons that were so central to her childhood to accentuate the pace and cadences of her performance, finishing with a bright – and befittingly pink and feathery – choreographed “sorry” to her Mum.

Pippa Ellams’ message is two-fold. It’s a message to kids and parents alike. She not only suggests we all “think about how we made it through the rough years” but that we find a way to say ‘sorry’ for some things – and ‘thank you for others.

Ellams decided to do it through this production – and her Mum loves it!

First published in Stage Whispers magazine

Fag/Stag

By Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs. Lambert House Enterprises and Mardi Gras Festival. Director Les Solomon, El Rocco Theatre, Potts Point. Feb 17 – Mar 7, 2021.

Reviewed : 19 February, 2021

Photo : suppled

Les Solomon has directed yet another stunning piece of theatre to revive the pandemic ravaged Sydney theatre scene. He has followed up his tight, character-strong production of The Shape of Things with a delightfully intimate production of this multi-award-winning play by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs.

Solomon describes Fag/Stag as a “wicked – sometimes raunchy – comedy” that follows the lives of Corgan and Jimmy, “two twenty-something guys – one gay, one straight – as they navigate their sex lives, friendship and ongoing first world problems”.

Fowler and Isaacs played these characters to acclaim at fringe festivals around Australia, before winning the esteemed Scotsman Fringe First at Edinburgh in 2017.

BUT … this is the first time the play has been performed by actors other than the playwrights themselves. So, taking it on might be considered a challenge.

Not to Solomon! With only ten days rehearsal and the confidence and ‘nous’ of years in the entertainment industry, his production is bright, funny, and incredibly taut. In the right space and with the right cast, it is a tribute to the playwrights and their crisp, bold, original script.

Photo : supplied

The small El Rocco theatre in Potts Point is the perfect space for a play that is so personal. Small and intimate, it allows the actors to connect confidentially with the audience. Solomon frames the performance space in white. Two chairs, two phones and a round table centre the action. The set is as tight and contained as the performance that ensues.

Samson Alston and Ryan Panizza play Corgan and Jimmy. They enter suddenly, biting lines deftly as they introduce themselves and set the moment. Their ex-girlfriend is getting married. They are both invited. Each sees a different predicament. But they don’t really discuss it with each other. Instead, they play Donkey Kong! It’s a diversion they retreat to often as they try to make sense of this moment in their lives.

Photo : supplied

Corgan is rich, straight, still feeling rejected, but sees himself in control. Alston shows this in a self-assurance that is a just a bit brittle. He is up-front with the audience, eager to share his feelings, even his vulnerability. Relatively new to the Sydney theatre scene, Alston is a talented, versatile performer who makes this character engagingly appealing.

Jimmy is a little older, confidently gay, but missing the lover he has recently rejected. In his Sydney stage debut, Panizza gives Jimmy a poised, confident buoyancy, capturing the audience with an openness that is eloquently persuasive. His performance is impressively contained and charismatically convincing.

Both performers make their characters real and lovable – just as Fowler and Isaacs wrote them. Their timing and variation of pace set a fast tempo. They break tensions with cleverly directed changes of delivery. They challenge the audience with a compelling directness that is only possible in such an intimate space. It is almost impossible to take your eyes off either of them.

Solomon saw this new interpretation of the play as “scary, exciting” but with these two dynamic performers he has achieved his aim of creating a production “that is funny, bold, yet in keeping with the brilliant original script”.

Also published in Stage Whispers magazine

Beautiful Thing

By Jonathan Hardy. New Theatre. Director: Mark G Nagle. Feb 2 – Mar 6, 2021

Reviewed : 14 February, 202

Photo : Bob Seary

Beautiful Thing was a West End hit for playwright Jonathan Hardy in 1993. It is a gentle play about emerging gay love. Though set in the UK, its characters and their relationships are poignantly universal. Hardy injects their story with hope and humour that director Mark G Nagle describes as “touching and funny”.

Nagle has accented both in this sensitive but robust production. It is loud and fast at times – as one would expect of families living closely “between the concrete blocks and walkways of a council housing estate in south east London”. At other times it is heart-breakingly tender – as one would expect when two teenagers reach out awkwardly to love despite their uncertainty and fear.

Photo : Bob Seary

Nagle and his cast have studied the characters carefully, seeking the many dimensions that Hardy has, perhaps unwittingly, written between the lines of their dialogue. Strength and brittleness, determination and vulnerability, humour and desperation – all of these characteristics are there in the lines. All of them are there in the very realistic, believable individuals portrayed by Nagle’s committed cast.

With their precisely-honed accents they take us right into the atmosphere of the council estate where everyone knows everyone else’s business and everyone looks for “some beautiful thing to cling on to”.

Photo : Bob Seary

Jamie and Steve (Will Manton and Bayley Predergast) know that “the beautiful thing” they have found might not be considered right, but they know it is real. Both actors find endearing frailty in their performances, as well as the hope and sense of fun of two teenagers trying to find their place in a confusing world. Both deal with dysfunctional families – and support each other as they do so.

Hannah Zaslawsk plays Leah, the girl next door, a bit of an outcast who’s been kicked out of school. But Leah isn’t a quitter, and she can sing like Mama Cass! Zaslawski is strong performer who gives this character depth and gritty courage – and an optimistic energy that invigorates the production.

Julia Kennedy Scott is Jamie’s single mother Sandra who is conscious of her responsibility as mother and provider – but has her own life as well. Kennedy Scott plays this role with sound understanding of this, as well as keen realisation of the humour that Hardy has written into character. She too brings great energy to the production – especially in the way she relates with new boyfriend, Tony, played with unwavering sanguinity by Caspar Hardaker.

On David Marshall-Martin’s minimalist but sneaky set, and with Nagle’s perceptive direction, they bring this moving, funny, hopeful play to life.

First published in Stage Whispers magazine

 

We Will Rock You

By Ben Elton and Queen. Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Packemin Productions. Director Wayne Scott Kermond. 12-27 February, 2021

Reviewed : 12 February, 2021

Photo : Grant Leslie.

The original production of We Will Rock You opened in London almost nineteen years ago. Despite being panned by the critics, it ran for over three years. The critics obviously failed to take into consideration the wide fan base of Freddie Mercury and Queen. Failed to understand that the eclectic, international appeal of their music would never “bite the dust”! That it would defy “the laws of nature and come out alive” for generation after generation.

That’s why whole families went to the cinema to see Bohemian Rhapsody. That – and the fact that Packemin has such a great reputation – is why whole families are booking to see this production of We Will Rock You. They won’t be disappointed! It is a tight, rollicking musical tribute to Queen, Mercury and the whole production team – producers, director, musical director, choreographer, musicians, designers and the cast of forty-five talented, energetic performers.

Described as a “jukebox musical”, We Will Rock You was conceived by Ben Elton, based around twenty-four Queen songs. It is set in a dystopian, computerised future where the population is centrally controlled. Musical instruments are forbidden and rock music is unknown. A group of Bohemians, led by Buddy, strive to escape the iron rule of the Globalsoft Corporation. They put their faith in Galileo, a Dreamer who is haunted by snatches of strange words he hears in his head and a strange vision of a “living rock” and a “mighty axe”.

Photo : Grant Leslie.

The musical relies on versatile performers with incredible range and power. They must also to be able to act in order to make the characters believable – and deliver the inevitable humour Elton has used to make the story plausible. And Wayne Scott Kermond has chosen his cast well.

Toby Francis is Galileo. Perplexed by the strange words and phrases that fill his head, Francis establishes a character that is appealingly vulnerable and confused. Then he sings – with all the strength and power that embodies Queen’s music – and Mercury’s vocal range. He radiates confidence, experience and control.

As does Kelsi Boyden as Scaramouche, the tough loner, who doesn’t fit in with her ‘GaGa’ lookalike classmates. Boyden plays the scratchy, feminist Scaramouche with prickly pugnaciousness – and loads of concentrated verve and energy. Then she also sings – and hits the difficult, beautiful notes of Somebody to Love like a feisty, female Freddie.

Together Galileo and Scaramouche break free but are relentlessly pursued by Globalsoft’s police commander, Khashoggi, under the orders of the Killer Queen. Cameron Shields and Deborah Krizak play this formidable pair.

Krizak is strikingly intimidating, all heavy make-up, leather, chains, sparks, swirling fabric and lots of red hair. Her Killer Queen certainly commands with the force of “gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam”. Strutting the stage with the sort of “rage that lasts a thousand years”, Krizak obviously relishes finding all the possible malice of this role.

Her off-sider, Khashoggi, is much more controlled and Shields plays him with a sustained malevolence. Tall and straight, he commands from behind narrow dark glasses, his voice strangely regulated and compelling.

Escaping Khashoggi, Galileo and Scaramouche are rescued and by two Bohemians, Brit (Eamon Moses) and Oz (Emma Mylott). Moses, in a kilt and swinging sporran is an audience favourite. Incredibly fit, flexible and light on his feet, he injects boundless energy and fun into this role. Lithe and lissom, Mylott matches his energy with nimble vigour, faithfully supporting his belief in the Dreamer.

Brit and Oz take Galileo and Scaramouche to meet Buddy, played by director Wayne Scott Kermond. No stranger to the stage or the music of Queen, Scott Kermond revels in the possibilities of this role. His Buddy is just a bit quirky, light of foot, Puckish – breaking the fourth wall with rascally comments and impish winks.

Photo : Grant Leslie.

It is not these characters alone that make the production so outstanding. They are supported by an ensemble of talented singers and dancers who populate the stage with passionate zest and vitality. Choreographed by Katie Kermond, some are the very disciplined, white-clad “GaGas”; others are the Killer Queen’s writhing, scantily clad acolytes; all are the colourful Bohemians, expressing their chosen pop star characters in a range of eccentric ‘bits and bobs’ and clever dance routines. Costume designer Audrey Currie has had a ball with this production!

And then there are the musicians! Led by Nicholas Griffin, they bring find all the eclectic, idiosyncracity of Queen’s music. The little bits of opera, the touches of soul and blues … and the Rock! Griffin and Anthony Cutrupi on keys, Michael Napoli and Tim Robertson on electric guitar, Amanda Jenkins on bass, Fatima De Assis and Peter Hayward on percussion and Charlie Kurthi on drums rocked the audience with their power, passion and precision.

Technology is an asset in a production such as this. Projections and lighting effects allow greater freedom on the stage whilst seeming to take the production beyond the confines of the stage – even beyond the present to an Orwellian future.

Scott Kermond has directed this musical with passion. He has produced a fast moving, tightly directed production that pays homage to Queen’s extraordinary “anthem style music” that was able to “unite a world and transcend generations and race”.

Don’t miss it! It will sell out fast.

First published in Stage Whispers magazine