MELBOURNE AQUARIUM SEA LIFE NEW website photos: Brett Styles review: Max Lyons
Experience: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.
Date: March 3rd, 2018.
Location: Cnr King St & Flinders St, Melbourne. Experience Review: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium By Maxwell M. Lyons
Melbourne is by no means destitute when it comes to entertainment and excitement, offering up nothing short of a torrent of arts and culture, vibrant nightlife, and exquisite cuisine. With such a diverse melting pot of events and attractions to choose from, places like the local aquarium may seem mundane if not banal by comparison. Though if only once, a visit to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is well worth the experience – and let’s be real, who DOESN’T want to see those adorable fluffy-tuxedoed penguins!
Located a mere handful of tram stops east of Flinders St. Railway Station, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a three-story maze of wonder and excitement hosting a wide range of aquatic and reptilian life including fish and coral life, rays, sharks, seahorses, and even crocodiles. On entry you’ll receive a map to help guide you through the fifteen (15) distinct exhibits and have your commemorative photo taken (green screen and all) – these can be purchased at the end of your journey.
The exhibits themselves are very well designed and spaced (albeit a little cosy during busy times such as weekends), and have a good flow to them, with high-draw exhibits toward the end to leave a lasting impact. Noticeable effort has been made not only in presenting the sea-life themselves, but more broadly in the surrounding set design. All display tanks are accompanied with an informative touchscreen monitor detailing each respective species and providing further relevant insight, including that of SEA LIFE’s many conservation efforts such as their internationally recognised endangered species breeding programs and waste reduction/sustainability initiatives (i.e., worm farms, rooftop bees, upcycled gift shop products, biodegradable plates and cutlery, and incentives for waste reduction).
Back to the exhibits, aside from the display tanks, there are numerous interactive demonstrations and experiences to enjoy, including starfish and coral reef touching, informative talks and feeding shows, and – dare you be brave enough (and willing to drop $299) – shark tank diving. On top of all that, kids (and the childlike among us) can pick-up an activity sheet and collect a unique stamp from each section for their record as well as have their drawings come to life in a captivating virtual aquatic environment.
In terms of facilities and assistance, the entire building is highly accessible and wheelchair/pram friendly – with ramps and stairs – and staff are friendly and happy to help out. There are numerous water bubblers throughout, a cafe with a tabled area to stop and have a bite to eat, and even free wi-fi.
Ticket prices at the door are a little pricey at $42.00 for adults and $29.50 for children ($33.00 concession), but children under 4 receive free entry and if you plan ahead and take advantage of various offers and discounts available you can lessen the blow quite significantly. Booking online will save you up to 20%, Entertainment Book members can utilise their 2-for-1 voucher, and if you bundle up and buy tickets to Legoland you’ll save up to $29pp. Annual unlimited-entry passes are also available for $89pp.
All-in-all, the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a fun experience no matter your age. Aesthetically stunning and informatively insightful, there is a cornucopia of enjoyment to be had by all.
TOP MODEL website review; Max Lyons photos:: Stuart Buchanan
Event: Top Model Worldwide Australia National Finals 2018.
Date: March 4th, 2018.
Venue: The Trust, Melbourne. Event Review: Top Model Worldwide Australia National Finals 2018 By Maxwell M. Lyons
On March 4th the Top Model Worldwide Australia National Finals 2018 were held at The Trust, Melbourne. A spacious venue with a quaint yet elegant rustic chic, The Trust seemed like the perfect location to hold what I can only imagine will be the first of many Top Model Worldwide Australia fashion events. This should come as no surprise though to those familiar with the work of fashion and modelling savant Deborah Miller, the mind behind it all. As if being National Director for Miss World Australia and Miss Tourism Australia wasn’t enough, Miller’s latest venture looks to launch the Australian-division of the prestigious Top Model Worldwide brand.
The event as a whole was sophisticated, well-executed, and highly enjoyable (if only terse). Latest little more than an hour, the show hit the ground running as it powered near seamlessly through numerous walks and costume changes from the stunning 27 model-hopefuls looking to win the national final and go on to represent Australia in the international finals at Top Model 2018, held early April at the Hilton London Metropole (UK) – an incredible opportunity for those looking to break into the industry and make a name for themselves.
Noteworthy appearances and roles were those of wellness expert Andi Lew as the vivacious and incredibly well-spoken MC helping to carry the show, and judges Esma Voloder (Miss World Australia 2017) and Harrison Craig (winner of The Voice Australia season 2) who had the extraordinarily challenging task of crowning the sole beauty to represent our great nation.
And the winner… *drumroll*… Hope Ellen. A massive congratulations from all of us here at Bohemian Rhapsody. We wish you nothing but success in London and your developing career beyond. And kudos to fellow runners-up: Maria (2nd), Harrison (3rd), Hannah, Ethan, and Connor.
Top Model Worldwide Australia will be returning bigger and better than ever in 2019, with nationwide shows planned for each state, the winners of which will compete in the national final (location TBA) once more for the chance to represent Australia at Top Model 2019.
Interviews with director Deborah Miller and winner Hope Ellen can be found on our website.
I was extremely excited about this particular media invite as it sounded quite intriguing. The theater was full and I met Bohemian Rhapsody Club VIP members attending the show. It was a very pleasant accident to be honest to meet four keen people and so familiar faces at the Atheneaum Theater. Although the show started quick slowly and I would even say "coldly" in about 10-16 minutes it became very hot burning like huge fire at the final notes when the guests were screaming in excitement act after act. The show's main theme is burlesque extravaganza. The show girls of immaculate complexion showed us grace, beauty and their flexible bodies. As I mentioned about there was no free seat at the theater and every sound from the well responding audience was heard and received. The acts were of all kind: funny , playful, sexy, sensual, circus-like-illusinic (when handsome Michael Boyd appeared with his gorgeous assistant). There were dancing acts, songs and acrobatic acts - all so well mixed and so well prepared we have not even noticed that it was time for the break. the acts were mainly related to the name of the show: Paris it was: as we all imagine it - romantic and beautiful city of all lovers in the world. I would not ca this show sensational, as for sensation we , Europe-spoiled audience would require a larger numbers of show girls of course.... but I have to admit the show was immaculately performed and prepared by many masters. The audience was also skillfully engaged and even participated in some acts. Were we excited? Most of all and yes! My favorite dance was the pole dancing more close t the very complex acrobatic routine it shined with the elegance and fine flawless movements. The girls bewitched us by the glamorous costumes where the amount of feathers would most likely make happy any Australian emu farmer (imaginable one of course!). The performers changed quickly we have not even noticed the end of the show thought it was so logical and so expected in its best sense. I also thought: oh mu god, my dad would probably love this cancan dancing 0 always his favorite. I think I will get him and my mum the tickets - they will love the show too. People but wait, please wait when you see ad former Moulin Rouge star, Marissa Burgess of astonishing beauty! I will never forget her small steps in the sparkling small shoes - she is a perfection in the female body!
The pure Paris is at your feel, people of Melbourne , please catch your chance and get the tickets before the show travels to the next Australian city!
Viewers please be aware the evening shows reveal the completely topless girls! Just a note to those of you who are not tolerant to the crazy but natural nipples showing up!
The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect At LaMama CourthousePosted on4 Days Agoby goodvibesmelb Director Judy Ellis began her incredible scope of experience in Perth in the 1950’s, and through various companies has staged some of the greatest plays there are out there, often to packed out theatres. *She also directed this multi-award-winning but at times a notoriously difficult young actor in the role of Uncle Louie in 2015’s “Lost in Yonkers”, for Geelong rep. What can I say, Judy? Now I’m judging you? The tables have turned….. Ellis’ most recent project is her own company, Onamatappear, whose focus will be to bring original, Australian theatre to the Melbourne stage. For this season, she has enlisted the work of writer Sandy Fairthorne, and assembled a truly fine cast to bring it to fruition. “Jeremy Perfect” is what a soap opera might become, if only the writers had a chance at a second draft. There are clichés; the drunken writer, the torrid affair, the passive-aggressive and ultimately abusive psychiatrist wife, and so on.The underlying need to be loved and to procreate provides the motivation for this lost and lonely assortment of characters. Having said that, this is well executed work. Dialogue is an immense improvement on what one normally finds in Australian theatre, Fairthorne shows a finesse with her work that translates excellently to the stage and her years of study are evident. The casting choices are also inspired. Most notably in the forms of Simon Finch, a Geelong native whose work is a staple of the town’s better-quality live performances and Ruby Wall, with whom he shares scenes of explosive chemistry and whose own subtlety adds an intimate touch of reality to material that might hazard melodrama in lesser hands. Alex McTavish is also in excellent form here. The pain in her character is so well created and so expertly concealed that in the moments it does surface, it elicits genuine shock from the audience. There is extraordinary bravery and intimacy being asked of the cast here. And with the delicacy one might expect of her, Judy Ellis has encouraged creative choices, lent as much to the intimacy and reality of the performances as expected in what might be suggested to have been a somewhat restrictive rehearsal period. Despite this pressure and the logistics of having a lead actor living in another city, she has enticed out courageous performances from her entire cast and they must be applauded for giving themselves over to the material and their director. In lesser hands, “Jeremy Perfect” would surely slide into the ridiculous, it is just the nature of such intimate scripts, they balance a fine line that must be respected at all times. Gladly, it has been done skillfully by all here. Get your TIX Review by Max Davine
review by Max Lyons
Show: The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect.
Date: March 9th, 2018.
Location: La Mama Theatre, Carlton.
Director: Judy Ellis.
Writer: Sandy Fairthorne.
Cast: Simon Finch Eva Justine - Torkkola Alex McTavish Ruby Wall Sean Paisley - Collins.
Set Design: Elisenda Russell.
Sound Design: Camden Tilley. Theatre Review: The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect By Maxwell M. Lyons
The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect is the latest work by Melbourne-based artistic director Judy Ellis – written by Sandy Fairthorne – a dramatic comedy centred around themes of marriage, mental health, desire, compulsion, and not always getting what you want. Driven by vehemence, the cast of five (5) all personify a distinct desideratum – to confess, to medicate, to be loved, to bear child, and to save everyone.
On paper, the plot is delightfully absurd; a pastiche of the quintessential soap opera, with such clichés as the drunken writer, his brazen passive-aggressive psychiatrist wife, familial deceit, and the torrid affair. Though in practice the play is incredibly authentic and well-executed, and nothing felt overly engineered or needlessly contrived. Character dialogue and chemistry felt natural, with emotional complexity and genuine intimacy seldom seen among actors of the independent theatre scene. A true testament to the brilliant performances by the cast.
Set design was commendable and utilised the space very well, with numerous furniture pieces sprawled across a single open-plan floor, depicting a handful of rooms within a home, including living room, kitchen, balcony, bedroom, and upstairs. Sound design was minimal but effective, a tasteful music score most notably apparent in its utilisation to punctuate and transition between scenes.
Overall, The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect made for a remarkably enjoyable watch. Narrative absurdity aside, the show delivers an intrinsically human allegory about the irrationality of life and relationships, and the underlying need to be loved – something everyone, admittedly or not, can relate to. An exercise in sonder, The Confessions of Jeremy Perfect is funny, dramatic, emotional, and captivating; highly recommended.
INERVIEW WITH Bernard Angel (playing Franki Valli)
IL: How does your usual Sunday afternoon look like? BA: Sundays I work the opening shift at a café. So by around 3 I’m on my way home. For the last few months and as I get closer to Jersey Boys starting, I’m taking my health and exercise a lot more seriously, so Sunday arvos I swim because I never seem motivated enough to run which is what I usually like to do for exercise.
IL: Do you consider yourself similar to your character in any way? BA: The similarities are that we both had/have clear goals and dreams. Frankie was singing from the age of 15 and Sherry didn’t make them stars until he was 30. I hope that I share Frankie’s work ethic and drive.
IL: Did you find it easy playing this character? AB: Easy is probably not the word but I do feel like it is a good fit for me. What do you like about your character? What really resonates with me is Frankie’s work ethic and the way he didn’t give up on making it despite the decade and a half it took before they had their first hit. Frankie was known as a perfectionist, always searching for that perfect sound, voice, performance, song. I enjoy playing that part of him and respect that about him. I also enjoy getting to play a guy who was a rockstar and had all the trappings of fame. I’m not sure it would play out to well in reality long term but for a couple of hours on stage each night, it is fun.
IL: Is there anything you dislike about the character? AB: Like us all, Frankie isn’t perfect but unlike most of us, Frankie has a musical written about his life and so we see the good and the not so good. We see him succeeding and sometimes failing. We see him making good decisions and bad decisions. But I don’t dislike anything about the character. I will be playing him every night so I’m protective of him.
IL: Which other character in the show would you have liked playing? AB: In an alternate universe I’d love to play Tommy who is the closest thing to a villain in Jersey Boys. He really gets the boys into a jam. He’s nothing like me… And yet, I do have an affinity for him.
IL: Do you think that your character in real life contributed to the success of the Four Seasons? AB: Frankie was pivotal to the band’s success. It was his voice that made those songs. Though in fairness to all the band members and as you see in the show, they all contributed in their own way. Tommy was the fixer – without him, they wouldn’t have gotten together and was an incredible guitarist, Nick arranged the songs in the iconic Four Seasons style, he was an untrained harmonic genius they say and Bobby wrote and later also produced their songs. Through it all was Frankie’s voice. You have him singing something like Sherry and then you hear him singing Can’t Take My Eye’s Off of You. He had incredible depth and range.
IL: Who or what inspires your performance? AB Being based on a real people, a lot of the inspiration comes from Frankie and the Four Seasons’ actual story. It really is incredible – these boys coming from the working class Jersey suburbs to selling 150 million records. Along the way, there are quite literally births, deaths and marriages plus mobsters. The show is very special to me and so I want to do the best job I can because the show and the people associated with the show deserve that.
IL: What helped you play such a famous character and at the same time impress the audience? AB: Research and preparation is your best friend when getting ready for a show. Especially when you are playing a real person. The creative team are also your best friends – they help you shape your character and your performance. Your fellow actors on stage are your best friends, you collaborate and feed off what they are giving you. Really it’s a mix of doing your own work and also being open to all the other people working on the show. We’re all trying to make the show and us as good as we can be.
IL: Which scene do you think was the funniest? AB: For much of act 1 the boys go through many different band names but none really stick. The scene where they finally hit on “The Four Seasons” is a funny one. I won’t spoil how it goes here.
IL: Do you have a favorite moment in the show? AB: I have many. Finishing Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk Like a Man which all come in quick succession, always feels like you’ve climbed up and back down a mountain, I enjoy the scenes between Frankie and Lorraine, the “sit-down” where Frankie finally has it out with Tommy, singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, the sad tenderness of “Fallen Angel”, the final monologue… and many more.
IL: Besides Jersey Boys what’s your favorite stage show? AB: Favourites are too hard to pick. A short list would be Chess, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof. Recently I’ve really enjoyed the music of Waitress and Hamilton.
IL: Who was the funniest person during rehearsals? AB: We haven’t started rehearsing yet but the dance supervisor, Danny Austin is one of the funniest people in the show, he is always a step ahead.
OPERA AUSTRALIA : LA TRAVIATA AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE website review by Ivan Lubkov
La Traviata – Giuseppe Verdi
La Traviata, an opera in 3 acts first performed in 1853 returns to Sydney Opera house. The libretto was originally based on the romantic novel La Dame aux camélias written by the son of Alexandre Dumas. The production has been immensely popular for more than 165 years and it is still a remarkable jewel in the modern entertainment landscape. The first act stars with a scene where the primary characters are introduced: Violetta played by Soprano singer Stacey Alleaume, Alfredo Germont performed by Ji-Min Park and Giorgio Germont performed by Vitaliy Bilyy. One of the first remarkable aspects of the show that the viewer notices is the set and costume designs intricately implemented with exact reference to French decors and fashion during the Napoleon Era. The act finishes with a humble induction of a love story that is going to be the center plot for the rest of the show. Throughout the opera the characters live trough a range of events where Violeta struggles to find solace, happiness and love while battling a life-threatening decease. Her admiration, while being deeply in love with her gets confused and carried away at some points by his father. The desire of Violeta to live and be loved presents admirable sentimental scenes that cause audience to cry. The performance of the Chorus and the Orchestra leaves only positive impressions and deserves plenty of compliments. The show would impress both a seasoned Opera viewer and a newcomer intending to observe French and Italian classics.
I am very impressed by the shown it causes tears even writing the review :)
JOHN LENNON - THROUGH A GLASS ONION INTERVIEW WITH JOHN WATERS website by Susan Reynolds
Lennon – Through a Glass Onion John Waters
Congratulations on the success and longevity of the show John thankyou for speaking to me. Interview By Susan Reynolds
Questions: Q. 'Isolation' John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band you’ve commented before is a favourite Lennon song. Do you believe John was very vulnerable? This song really suggests that to me? A. Yes it’s really about the human condition; another he wrote on the 'Imagine' album was the song 'How' all about fears in life.
Q. John Lennon was a complex character do you believe you share any personality traits with John? A. No, have not really thought about that. It’s all about honesty; where things come from.... that place inside yourself.
Q. You talk about the show as playing a role; would you consider this biographical approach with other performers as a tribute? A. No I wouldn’t see myself doing another performer. John Waters then talks about being a young teen when he first heard the Beatles and the fact he saw John Lennon as a big brother figure. We discussed these formative years and how this influence would be intensified by his own youth at the time.
Q. Have you made significant or minor changes in terms of the first show up until now? A. I have made a number of changes over the years, which probably add up to a significant difference from those early shows. The biggest change was that as recent as last year, when I decided to add a whole new song ("Cold Turkey") and more monologue regarding Julia and her death in 1958 in a car accident. These things all added to the sense of 'pain'.
Additional information: Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn the biography 'Tune In' about Lennon’s mother …..“For John who’d grown up without Julia from the age of five, losing her again at 17, with such appalling finality, was the most tremendous and irreconcilable heartbreak.”
Following in the footsteps of its similarly dark-humoured brethren The Book of Mormon, Hand to God is the latest American import to hit the Broadway stages of Australia following the notable acclaim of its initial 2015 showcase. Nominated for 5 Tony Awards with a myriad of high praise to boot, it has cultivated a reputation for itself as one of the must-see comedies of recent times, but will it see an equally successful run in Australia? Probably, but that doesn’t make it a good show.
Written by Robert Askins, and directed (in Australia) by Gary Abrahams, Hand to God features an impressive line-up of only five cast members, including Logie and Helpman Award winner Alison Whyte, and Logie and multi-AFI Award winner Gyton Grantley. The show centres around Jason (Grantley) and his mother Margery (Whyte) following the death of their respective father/husband. Still in the processes of grieving, Margery takes solace in the local church ministry – run by Paster Greg – where she is charged with putting on a puppet show with the help of Jason, Jessica (Jason’s love interest), and Timothy (a bad-boy with the hots for Margery). Problems arise, however, when Jason’s puppet (and new best friend) Tyrone is seemingly possessed by Satan. What ensues is a catastrophe of events that hit on themes of grief, religious conservatism, mental health, and even paedophilia, imbued with black comedy style shock humour rarely seen among the mainstream of stage shows. An entertaining watch in theory, and yet a remarkably shallow, comedically-pandering two-hour bore in practice.
Let’s start with aesthetics; they were fine. Set and costume designs came across as more engineered than natural, and conveyed the scenes and atmosphere to a sufficient standard, though there was nothing overly noteworthy about them. Lighting was similarly uninspiring; present and generally ubiquitous in illumination across the entire stage throughout most of the show, with a few choice scenes of adequate if not unimpressive lighting effects.
My main issues with the show were with its characters (and actors) and the thematic portrayal of its narrative. To the former, there was little depth to the supporting characters, and everybody epitomised their own caricature, overacted and embellished by all too vivacious cast. Beyond that, there was little exposition, making it unclear how old each of the characters were, further convoluted by the costume design of the “children” and the inconsistency in their portrayed maturation. This would normally be a non-issue, however, when the show makes a point to very openly include acts of (albeit consensual) sexual conduct between an adult and minor, I feel it important to make such distinctions clear. Additional gripes included accent inconsistency, performers seemingly forgetting their lines (unnatural/ill-fitting and needless repetition of dialogue made me suspect as such), and some pacing issues – the second half of the show seemed to be needlessly dragged out.
With all that said, I could find more than sufficient entertainment from a show with such faults as long as it still had a fairly cohesive narrative and thematic focus, and delivered on its comedic genre. In short, Hand of God did not. Underneath the humorous façade of its narrative lies some surprisingly complex thematic intricacies hinting at a deeper issue and commentary on mental health, trauma, and religious conservatism. Unfortunately, they remained mostly surreptitious. Every time a new layer to the story was introduced or alluded to it would be overshadowed by vociferously oversexualised and predominantly one-dimensional jokes and sight-gags. Consternation quickly turned to autotelic shock humour – what could have served as well-timed comedic punctuations to sombrous subject matters are instead eclipsed for the sake of a cheap laugh. There was little subtlety or nuance; it merely pandered to the lowest common denominator. The show seemed more enamoured with hitting you over the head with pop-culture references than elaborating on its own intricate allegory – perfectly epitomised during one of the final scenes when Margery beyond-melodramatically exclaims “who ya gonna call? WHO YA GONNA CALL ‽” (the box office for a refund perhaps?).
I was honestly baffled how the show was so blatant in its sexual references and over-exposited immaturity, yet the actual complexity of the underlying story that could have made a profound statement is lost so deep below the surface even the nuanced aspects of the show have a hard time discerning them. You had to go looking for a deeper meaning because there wasn’t much else to carry the show. If I had to extrapolate I might say that Hand to God may have been trying to make a broader point about the naiveté and mistreatment of mental health religion and its incessant stigmatic links with the unholy devilish aspects of many religious views/beliefs – but ultimately, I don’t know.
To end on a positive, one commendable performance was that of Grantley in his capricious back-and-forth switch between the shy good-natured Jason and the mercurially frenetic puppet Tyrone. He may not be a masterful ventriloquist, but a distinct character separation was apparent, facilitating the suspension of disbelief required to truly derive entertainment from the juxtaposition of these unibodied characters.
Hand to God will likely see success purely from its renowned acclaim and comedically pandering humour. Were other people laughing, yes. By nature of the comedy-style, paired with the innate herd response of people, the jokes and sight-gags throughout the show received a consistent stream of laughter – that’s what happens when you pander. Beyond that, it offered little, and I personally found myself laughing a mere handful of times throughout the performance. It’s like an adult came up with the idea of an intricate psychological drama about mental health, trauma, and religious conservatism that was then given to a 15-year-old boy with an affinity for melodramas (bet he was popular in school). To say I was blasé with the show would be an understatement. Hand to God is the epitome of comedic mediocrity, and I would not recommend it to anyone.
SLY RAT THEATRE: ROMEO AND JULIET website review by Max Davine
Romeo & Juliet: Given the Sly Rat Theatre TreatmentPosted on9 Days Agoby goodvibesmelb It isn’t that unusual to be a-wanderin’ around Queens Park, in Moonee Ponds, just north of Melbourne, and see a setup for what appears to be a wedding. Unless, of course, that setup is occupied by an aged, withered Juliet of Capulet, forlornly cooing “Come night, come Romeo.” But that is what happened to a whole lot of innocent bystanders one a balmy February afternoon, and they were quick to abandon their walk, to take in the spectacle that was taking place before them. Guess they didn’t know Sly Rat Theatre was in town. Hang on, you say…Juliet of Capulet? Aged and withered? But what was all that about drinking poison, plunging daggers into breasts, dying but a teenager, becoming a martyr of innocence and love amidst the hatred and fury of houses Capulet and Montague? It’s worth repeating; Sly Rat Theatre is in town. This isn’t just Shakespeare outdoors, up to which thee may wander, plonk thyself down upon the ground, not to tell sad stories of the death of kings, but to help thyself to the show. This is Alan Chambers’ vision for “Romeo and Juliet”. Given his vision for “The Tempest” this time last year, we were all excited. The pop soundtrack welcomed everyone to the grounds, before Victoria Haslam’s Juliet was wheeled onstage in a form we’ve never seen her before, facing the final curtain as a heartbroken old woman, a stage in life this most beloved of Shakespearean characters never got to see, all to the flesh-tinglingly haunting and eye-wateringly beautiful recording of Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”. The tone was instantly set. Before her eyes, and ours, cometh the play, as a flashback, a vision of what might have been, had only Juliet followed her heart, instead of her father’s orders. It is a concept that touches anyone – we all have that one who got away, and Juliet personifies that intense love that comes first, and comes fast, and smashed and dies hardest of all. For her not to have lived it, and let it destroy her, takes the play to a whole new level, where death becomes a fantasy, and life takes it’s slow, withering course. Performing in the open is no simple task; wind howls, birds screech, crazy people shout from the distance, dogs bark, and voices dissipate into the ether. But the actors here are clear as day, using their voices brilliantly, but still remaining connected to their performances, a combination that seldom goes hand in hand, but for the most skilled performers. Chambers’ recreations of Shakespeare are not conventional by any stretch, but they are not overtly departures, and remain true to the intention, and timeless power, of their source material. Even some of the more bizarre choices, such as the party scene in which Juliet, played by Haslam in the flashbacks as well, meets Masashi Shimamoto’s Romeo, or the moment in which memory rifts off into fantasy, retain their emotional gravitas, because of the respect for the words, written four centuries ago. Though the actors are being put through their paces, all rise to the occasion. Of particular note are Alex Aldrich’s ostentatious choices for the Nurse, Brendan Ewing’s extravagant, yet intimate Mercutio,, and the perpetually magnificent Katharine Innes as Lady Capulet, who lends subtle, unseeable-but-feelable force to a role that demands much more than many realize; she is at various stages a tormented mother, a grieving matriarch, and in Sly Rat’s hands, a malevolent warrior. But this is Victoria Haslam’s show, embodying the looming specter of the earthly form’s slow and inevitable disintegration one moment, and springing vivaciously with the sprightly naivety of the thirteen-year-old, eternal icon of lovestruck youth the next. She was, in her finest moments, the center of us all. Alan Chambers has again pulled off a show both moving, jovial, and surreal. The scenes between Shimamoto and Letitia Sutherland’s Friar Laurence even verge upon the comically unsettling, matching the intense atmosphere he achieved with his magical rendition of “The Tempest”. To say that “Romeo and Juliet” was as visually stunning or atmospheric is far from a criticism, on the contrary, it is original, powerful, and hits every one of its ambitious marks. Review by Max Davine This is a FREE EVENT by Sly Rat Theatre. Fri – Sun Feb 9,10,11 16,17,18 Queen’s park, Moonee Ponds
DANCE 4 FITNESS: MAREE'S BURLESQUE CLASSES website review and interview by Jennifer Zaman photos: Tugba Caglayan
BRC- Tell us something about yourself?
Maree- I am an actor and have performed in many independent theatre, film and TV productions. I am also a certified Tantra Yoga practitioner and have been teaching Burlesque and Tantra-based energy work since 2007.
I am extremely passionate about living an authentic and truthful existence, and my chosen mediums of dancing and acting allow me to tap into my truth. I feel called to help women who want to feel whole again and strongly believe in freedom from repression and oppression in all shapes and forms. There exist so much sexual guilt and shame around sex, which has led both men and women to shut down their masculine and feminine energies.
BRC- Burlesque is a very old form of dancing mixed with funny lyrics and parody dating back to the 17th Century. What is your understanding of it?
Maree-A Burlesque is an art form which developed from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery. During the 17th and 18th centuries, burlesque was divided into two types: High Burlesque refers to a burlesque imitation where a literary elevated manner was applied to a commonplace or comically inappropriate subject matter and Low Burlesque referred to an irreverent mocking style to a serious subject. In the 19th Century England, it took the form of a musical theatre parody in which a well-known opera, play or ballet was adapted into a broad comic play, often risqué.Gradually, Burlesque lost it's appeal towards the end of the 19th century and was replaced by Edwardian Musical Comedy. Around the same time, American Burlesque was in vogue, but with a focus on revealing the female form. Middle Eastern Belly Dancers had a great influence on the origins of American Burlesque and it became a popular entertainment form. In the 1940's, the Burlesque craze waned and around the time of prohibition, most Burlesque venues were shut down, although a few remained and operated underground. There was a resurgence of its popularity in the 1990's and many Burlesque artists emerged in America and eventually all over the world, commonly referred to the Neo-Burlesque movement.
BRC - What and who was your inspiration behind take up Burlesque?
Maree- Burlesque drew me to it because of my theatre background and my love of 1930's and 1940's glamour. Burlesque artist such as Dita Von Teese has been a big influence also but more importantly, I was ready for my sexual energy to be reawakened as I had shut myself down sexually and emotionally for a variety of reasons. So, when I started my Burlesque journey, it was definitely destiny speaking and a perfect timing to reconnect with myself.
Women who suffer from hurt by the opposite sex, shut themselves down in most instances. Burlesque really helped me to drop back in my body and my femininity and allow myself to open my heart and soul again. During my classes, I assist in opening up the chakras to release free-flowing sexual energy. This energy is often stuck in the sacral/sex chakra in most people and therefore, I find Burlesque as this amazing tool to awaken and unblock this energy. Both Tantra Yoga and Burlesque activate sexual energy, which is where the power within lies.
BRC- Please share the experiences of your most enjoyable and memorable performances and where were they?
Maree- My most memorable performances were playing Marie Antoinette and also Madame Pearl, a Victorian Prostitute. I love creating characters and my favourite costumes are 17th, 18th and 19th Century English and French. My favourite acting roles thus far have been playing an alcoholic doctor haunted by ghosts in a supernatural drama TV series for Channel 31 and Emilie, a courtesan in the classic stage play 'Dangerous Liaisons'.
BRC - Since when have you been training Burlesque artists? Do you find it challenging? What makes Burlesque unique in terms of nuances?
Maree- I have been training Burlesque artists since 2007. It can be challenging as emotional blocks may surface within the student as I am very sensitive to picking up energy, but on the flip side, it is very rewarding to see the transformations that can occur. Each student will have a different response to their sexual energy as it depends on what stage they are at, but it is very exciting to witness the awakening process in my students and the freedom of movement they experience whilst doing my classes.
I believe Burlesque is unique and stands on its own as an art form because it allows both a performer to tap into their power and creative sexual energy. It is a healing art form because it allows people to become conscious of physical and mental blocks surrounding sexuality, guilt, and shame. Physically, these blocks are often centralised around the sacral/sex chakra region of the body and we walk around carrying all these emotional baggage. And therefore, I consider Burlesque to be a powerful medium for overcoming our blocks. The use of props and costume is also an added extra, which allows a person to explore their archetypes, e.g. the Temptress.
I don't label myself as a feminist but definitely, have the characteristics. I endeavour to reach out to as many women as possible in the areas of empowerment. I believe that the Australian society is suspicious of anyone who stands out from the herd and is very insular. Hence, I teach Burlesque, Embodiment and Awakening Feminine Erotic Archetypes to impart my skills and knowledge of feminine wisdom to be of service.
BRC - How popular is this form of entertainment in Australia?
Maree- I believe Burlesque is very popular in Australia and our shows often attract large crowds. People want to be entertained in a variety of ways and Burlesque is an alternative and out-of-the-box form which intrigues and titillates. Patriarchy is now being challenged, especially with the recent Hollywood scandals and I am delighted that women have learned to stand for themselves and embrace their wholeness. Both men and women love to witness the power of Burlesque Performance.
BRC. What would you suggest to young people who are interested in taking up Burlesque as a career?
Maree- I would suggest that young people research the industry and become business savvy before they kick-start their Burlesque career. If a person has a desire to become a professional Burlesque performer, one of the most important things you need to learn is, how to market yourself as you are your own brand. You also need to be able to say 'no', set strong boundaries and know your own worth. The entertainment industry is about connections and relationships. If you are reliable and easy to work with, you will get hired again. There are a lot of Burlesque performers in the industry and it is vital to set yourself apart and work out your point of difference, to give yourself a unique signature style which is completely different to your contemporaries.
NIKKI NOUVEAU Kabaret Dietrich website review by Bryanna Reynolds / photos: Arastou Mirshahi
The wonderfully talented Nikki Nouveau is back in Melbourne! We previously caught up with Nikki and were so graced by her beautiful personality. Once we saw her perform we knew we were hooked and loved her on stage persona. When Nikki is on stage performing she entangles you up in her vibrant and extravagant style. If you are a fan of the movie Cabaret I can simply say you will find Nikki divine. Performing a range of vocal, dance and singing cabaret style sequel performances, the one and only Nikki Nouveau is someone you simply must see LIVE when she comes to town. You can find our previous interview on our online youtube channel. Stay tuned for more Bohemian Rhapsody Club news and events.