Tuesday, 6 March 2012

My week with the theatre

Between last Tuesday 28th and this Monday 5th I have spent 4 nights out at the theatre. I don’t know about you, but that’s a little above my weekly average. Two nights I went out with family and friends and two nights I took myself out, because I am excellent company. I can’t possible review everything I saw and anyway, they’ve (almost) all been reviewed by persons much more erudite than my poor self. So here is a recap:

Tuesday 28 Feb: My Week With Marilyn

I’ve been wanting to see this movie since the trailer was released, so I am thrilled I managed to do it. An impeccable cast, brilliant costumes and set. Michelle Williams puts on a stellar performance as Marilyn and though you are conscious that it is Michelle playing Marilyn rather than Marilyn, she produces an amazing emotional performance and you get to see every side of Marilyn – the star, the actress, the little girl lost, the seductress, all in a short 1.5 hours. Eddie Redemayne as Colin was delicious to look at as well, which didn’t hurt. 
The only issue I had was that I kept expecting ‘the week’ – for Marilyn and protagonist to disappear for a whole week – and it never happened. Only realised afterwards – oh, that was the week. That may not make sense now, but see the film and you’ll get it.

Friday 2 March: The Artist

Another film I’d been meaning to go and see. I thought I’d missed it as the showings at my local cinema reduced down to 2:30pm daily but thanks to the Oscars I got a second chance to make it. You’ve probably all heard of The Artist – a silent black and while film that won the most recent Best Picture award at the Oscars. The film centres around a big-time silent film star at the time of the introduction of talkies. It is brilliant. So well done. The actors have to walk that fine line between the ham-acting of the silent era and subtle but emotive acting of our own film era. It’s different from anything else you’re going to see so it’s a must. It would even be acceptable to my mother because there is no violence and of course, no swear words. Go see it.

Did I mention there is a dog?

Saturday 3 March: As You Like It by La Boite Theatre Company

Shakespeare can be difficult and over-done. La Boite, in their increasingly sexy and fabulous seasons have had much success with Shakespeare, most notably their version of Hamlet to kick off the 2011 season. The last time I enjoyed Shakespeare was a production of Shakespeare’s Shorts which was just hilarious.

Updating Shakespeare can be tricky. I remember a QTC (I think) production of Romeo and Juliet that was criticised for ‘modernising’ to have the actors using ipods and computers, mobile phones etc. The whole tragedy of Romeo and Juliet rests on mis-communication. If Romeo, Juliet and the Priest had had mobiles phones than all that tragic-death part could have been avoided.

La Boite updates As You Like It very cleverly, bringing in some modern costuming and culture - for example, the play opens with some UFC-style wrestling - to avoid falling into the trap of giving us a stuffy, histrionic version of Shakespeare.

Aside from the beautiful hair of the lead actor, what made this production a delight for me was the staging. Beautiful, imaginative, involved with the audience – an utter delight.
I must also say thank you and kudos to the wonderful staff at La Boite who gave me a replacement ticket when it was discovered that, for the first time in my life, I had booked a ticket on the wrong day. Not all theatres would have been so accommodating.

Image courtesy of La Boite Theatre Company Online Gallery.
Monday 5 March – The Brolly Follies

This might be the one and only review you read of this how because it was on for ONE NIGHT ONLY. So it doesn’t really matter what I think, either.

The Brolly Follies was a night of cabaret starring the actors and ensemble from Mary Poppins with all the proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation. It was an absolute delight to hear these professionals singers performer in a relaxed, casual environment songs that they themselves would have chosen . Songs as diverse as Summertime, Be Italian (from the movie Nine), Do You Remember (from the upcoming production of Peter Pan), Rolling in the Deep.

My stand out favourites were a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons-style ‘Is you is or is you ain’t my baby’ by five bow-tied and brillo-creamed male members of the ensemble and another five piece song specially put together for the night. Five of the female actresses singing their woes at always being asked to sing alto. It is quite an education to hear well known classics sung below the melody.
A brilliant night and if it had been on again I would recommend everyone go to see it. I also mention it because the only reason I knew it was on was through the Judith Wright Centre’s twitter feed

Twitter has a use; who’d have known?

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