This new musical celebrates the music and lives of Bowie and Mercury through the eyes of a London actress, searching for hope after the passing of David Bowie. Through her journey we gain an insight into the life and times and period that defined these two much loved icons. Her journey is one of narrative, music and dance.
Warren Wills, winner of the Carling London Best Musical Award, returns to Chapel Off Chapel with this new musical, after two sell-out seasons of Genesis to Broadway. Geraldine Quinn, a multi Green Room award nominee for best actress and singer, and stunning dancer, Jess Mortlake (On the Rocks) also star.
The evening re-imagines such classics as Space Oddity, Life on Mars , The Show Must go On, We are the Champions and many others.
Don’t miss this spellbinding spectacle created and directed by Warren Wills (Royal Shakespeare Company, Woody Allen, Pamela Anderson, Margaret Atwood).
Seating: Allocated Seating. Please make sure you arrive a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the performance start time. The performance has a strict ‘Lockout Policy’, latecomers will not be permitted.
Please Note: To ensure the safety and integrity of the performance, if you choose to exit the theatre you will only be permitted to re-enter at the discretion of the front of house supervisor. Entry will only be permitted during suitable break in the performance.
The Realistic Joneses is an affecting world to occupy; it lingers with me everywhere now.
The play is very funny from the outside, however from the inside it is confronting; I would even go so far as to say frightening. It also reveals a beautiful humanity. The playwright, Will Eno, asks us to delve into big, difficult questions…about love, about mortality, and he guides us gently.
Eno is an expert in precise, poetic language wrapped in intelligent humour and characters who are a delight to play. And I am lucky to be working with brilliant cast mates Sarah, Justin and Neil, and our exceptional director Julian.
The coming week will be one of long days and late nights as we discover how the production transitions from rehearsal room to the theatre, and before long we will be ready to share it with you.
See you in the foyer afterwards,
By Will Eno
Directed by Julian Meryrick
Featuring Ella Caldwell, Sarah Sutherland, Justin Hosking and Neil Pigot.
The brainchild of three indefatigable cultural warriors who’ve chosen to call Hong Kong home, “Melodia” is a musical for the universal stage.
A peaceful planet, Zymbalia, is rocked by an inexplicable explosion that throws everything into a state of chaos. Melodia discovers that she is the only one who possesses the innate powers needed to save the Zymbalians from the dark force that confronts them. This sends Melodia on a journey of discovery to find the Enchanter. The Enchanter is an evil force with a blackened heart and two faces. On this journey, she discovers the power of sound and the effects sound vibrations have on people and things.
“Melodia” is an ambitious and impressive child born of the dedication and artistic vision of Lindsey McAlister, Rose Wine Brenner (AKA Chicago Rose) and Violaine Corradi.
Lindsey is spoken of in reverential tones by everyone that enters her field of operation. She possesses an array of skills, experience, knowledge and contacts, and moves heaven and earth to turn the shred of an idea into a vibrant reality. She has written and produced several youth musicals for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her artistic vision is tempered with extraordinary people-handling skills and underpinned with experience and daring-do.
This level of magical/metaphysical chemistry finds its resonance and amplification through the other two arms of this trinity. Rose and Violaine bring along not just an apprenticeship level of training, but full mastercraft status after their years of service with Cirque du Soleil.
Violaine, formerly a native of Montreal Quebec, the home of Cirque du Soleil, was inducted into this unique circus troupe, more or less from its beginning, as one of three composers to create their special brand of music to accompany their acts. While she has branched out to do other things in theatre since arriving in Asia, she remains an active member of Cirque du Soleil. Musically she is multi-talented with a command over a range of instruments as well as being conversant with a broad range of musical genres. The music of “Melodia” is testament to her virtuosity as it sweeps through an umbrella of world music styles: from traditional to Afro, Latin, Funk, Delta Blues, Blue Grass, etc.
Rose has a similarly impressive history. She began her professional musical career at the age of 15 when she started on a path she holds steadfast to today. A major part of her earlier work was playing solo piano 4-5 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week in bars, up-market restaurants and clubs in Chicago. Other venues she regularly played in included churches, schools, libraries, private parties and various other events. As Chicago Rose she delivered over 1,400 performances as the lead female in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘ZAiA’ which ran from 2008 until 2012 at the Venetian Casino on the Cotai Strip in Macau.
While these three are the drivers behind this unique production, what is up front that the audience gets to see is a phantasmagoria of budding youthful talent amidst a sea of colour and movement that instantly impregnates the audience’s imagination with its athleticism and stunning presence. Containing a cast of 100 who were selected from a field of 800 applicants, this represents the best of Hong Kong talent. The cast includes a small number of professional artists seeded amongst them to give that extra edge. There is the 2016 US Aerial Champion, Joe Lam; the 2016 winners of the Acro Dance Division of the World Championship of Performing Arts, Corina Sucre and Daniel Sierralta, and their daughter, following in the same tradition, Ainara Mireya Sierralta Sucre; Chicago Rose and others.
The cast is divided into groups: main actors, ensemble, singers, acrobats and dancers and, given they only had three months of rehearsals to bring it to stage, the groups only had time to work within their own fields before bringing it all together over the last couple of weeks. Marsha Roddy designed the costumes and stunning sets. Giselle Liu and Kirsten Ho both choreographed the show with Kirsten focusing on the dance routines while Giselle did the choreography for the songs. Scott Gibson as musical director brought an amazing score together with songs and tunes that will stand the test of time. Kumi Masunaga was the drum master for Melodia who taught and coached the bucket drums which are employed to great effect in many of the dance scenes.
These five people are all highly regarded in their fields and each has awards and prizes in either film, TV or live theatre. Interestingly the theatre space the show takes place in, Queen Elizabeth Stadium, doubles as a sports stadium and this is entirely appropriate. With such a large cast and so many on stage at any one time along with large oversize puppets, aerial work and a stunning light show, it is easy to see that a smaller more conventional stage would not do it justice.
The calibre of those taking part is best illustrated by Melodia, played by Aoi Toba. Aoi arrived in Hong Kong several years ago without a word of English, and has already appeared in two productions with limited speaking roles. Now, in such a short time, her English is fluent and she is the lead actor giving full vent to her part in both speech and song. Aoi is one in a million whose talents and natural ability shine in a perfectly unaffected way.
Aoi is well supported by an equally energetic and highly skilled cast of students of various nationalities chosen from 30 different local and international schools. As well as Hong Kong locals, there are mainland Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Dutch, Slovakian, Italian, Turkish, British, Australian, Filipino and others.
Together they bring the narrative together with song, dynamic action and a mix of art forms including music, dance, aerial arts, puppetry, acrobatics, drumming and multi-media projected images. The light show owes a lot to cymatics whereby sound waves and patterns are given visual pulsating symmetrical form. Sound and its effects on human behavior play an important and stunning part in the storyline. Melodia’s favourite classroom in the story is the Sound Science Lab where she demonstrates cymatics at work with a cymatic frequency generator device.
A key focus of the musical is to emphasise the role of women in a literary form. Lindsay, Rose and Violaine all feel there is an urgent need to present females as young heroines in strong roles to make an impression on young people today. They hope to sway teenagers away from the false stereotypes and sterile values and images of the Internet, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, they are subjected to daily by offering them a glimpse on this exciting new world of live theatre that they can readily identify with.
Melodia runs from April 27th – 29th inclusive at 7:30pm. There is also a matinee session on Apr 29th at 2:30.
For more information, click on this link:-
Melodia is generously supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and is brought to you by the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation.
Better the neighbour you know?
Red Stitch Theatre presents the Australian premiere of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, a wry comedy about two suburban couples who have more in common than just their identical homes and the same last name.
Meet Bob and Jennifer Jones, a middle aged man and wife who have found contentment in a small town in view of a spectacular mountain. As magnificent clouds pass in the evening sky and an owl hoots in the distance, their peace is disturbed by the sudden arrival of John and Pony, a younger couple who have rented the house next door – and are also called Jones.
What seems on the surface like a series of ordinary encounters becomes a moving look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know about ourselves, and the secrets we never imagined we might share.
Julian Meyrick (Dead Centre / Sea Wall) will direct Will Eno’s poignant look at everyday people dealing with their own mortality. The production will feature Red Stitch ensemble members Ella Caldwell and Sarah Sutherland alongside guest actors Neil Pigot and Justin Hosking. With set & costume by Greg Clarke, lighting design by Bronwyn Pringle, and composition & sound design by Ian Moorhead.
Will Eno is an American playwright whose play Thom Pain (based on nothing) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 2005. The Realistic Joneses appeared on Broadway in 2014, where it received a Drama Desk Special Award and was named Best Play on Broadway by USA Today.
“For all the sadness woven into its fabric, The Realistic Joneses brought me a pleasurable rush virtually unmatched by anything I’ve seen.” The New York Times
Venue: Red Stitch Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda
Dates: 25 April – 28 May (previews 25 -28 April)
Opening Night: Saturday 29 April
Time: Tuesday – Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6.30pm
Tickets: $15.00 – $49.00
Bookings: (03) 9533 8083 or www.redstitch.net
Take a peek inside the rehearsal room, as our gifted cast and creative team build the delicate world of The Realistic Joneses, an existential comedy about mortality and love that asks big questions in the most surprising of ways.
Guest actor Neil Pigot as Bob Jones.
Ensemble actor Sarah Sutherland plays Jennifer Jones.
Ella Caldwell and guest actor Justin Hosking as Pony and John Jones.
“Thigh-slappingly funny…a wonderfully strong ensemble…thrillingly dark.”
Must close on April 16th.
The season is almost sold out – so grab the last few tickets and book now!
Congratulations to ensemble actor, Rory Kelly
for his win at the Green Room Awards last week!
Rory took out the Theatre Companies Award for Best Male Performer. We are so proud of him and his phenomenal work on Trevor.
We’d also like to extend our congratulations to Ensemble actor, Andrea Swifte and guest artists Belinda McClory, Christopher de Groot and Chloe Greeves on their nominations for their work on Red Stitch productions. We’re so happy to have the work of our brilliant artists recognised.
Thank you to our wonderful Kindred members for
joining us for another delightful afternoon tea and a special insight into the rehearsal process of The Realistic Joneses.
If you’d like to know more about the program or join
our special Kindred
family, click here.
Did you catch Q & A last week? If so, you would’ve seen Ensemble actor, Eva Seymour singing with her dad, Mark Seymour (Hunters and Collectors)! Click on the video below to hear the beautifully powerful song, ‘Master of Spin”.
The Architects of Sound may claim to be the best band in the world, but this Brisbane based electronic trio are certainly the silliest.
The Architects of Sound, Valencia, Amaro and the ever abused Sutro hilariously mirror the wanton self-adulation that fame reflects on to certain performers.
Ever suffering Sutro at the cruel put downs from her obnoxiously narcissistic funny ‘superior’ musical partners busts away into her own Glam moment when the others teeter on breaking up the act over potential solo projects.
They reminded me very much of Flight of the Conchords with the abject silliness interwoven with terribly clever songs, lyrics, and slapstick humour.
You still have a few days to get down at the Butterfly Club with this show featuring songs from their latest visual album ‘The Holy Trinity’
Starring Valencia Low-fi, Amaro Mayfair and Sutro
The Architects of Sound: Arena Spectacular
The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Until 2 April 2017
Who in the world is there that can you can still trust? It seems like nobody is talking sense any more. Thankfully, amidst all this post-truth, post-Brexit, post-Trump hysteria, YOU know exactly what’s going on. You’re right. You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You can see through the madness. And the good thing is, everyone agrees with you. Everybody you speak to is on the same page. It seems so simple.
It’s been a scary year, and the antidote can only be found in a safe space. A place far away from the mainstream, the clickbait articles, the YouTube comments, hashtags, trolls and filtered Facebook news feeds. Melbourne International Comedy Festival is crying out for a show that cuts through the lies and gives the people what they want. We need a room where democracy rules (but only if you want it to). Welcome to The Echo Chamber.
In an attempt to make audience satisfaction absolutely guaranteed, Paul Richards will gauge the reaction of those in attendance each night, using the results to shape a completely unique stand-up performance every time. In a sea of polarising, highly-opinionated, political shows, he will tell you exactly what you want to hear.
Paul has lived in Melbourne for four years, quickly establishing himself as a mainstay of ‘The Big Hoo-Haa’ improv collective. A virtual ever-present of their regular weekly shows, he has also featured in their last four festival seasons: ‘Gladiators’, ‘Haunted House’, ‘Cliffhanger’ and ‘Danger Hour 2’. The Echo Chamber is his solo festival debut.
The production opens on Monday 3rd April and runs for eleven nights at 10:00pm. The season is limited, so bookings are recommended.
There was much anticipation in the bar area at 45downstairs Theatre. As we entered past the ticket box gorgeous girls gave us glow sticks, I’m thinking wtf but within minutes the doof music self-explained to some degree for me, my son is a doofer haha, then an orange Trainspotting armband with the seminal – ”Choose Life” – catch cry embossed as well.
I have never been to 45 before but I have sent and have had others do serious theatre and even opera reviews there so I’m thinking this is more an ‘establishment’ theatre space…how wrong one can be eh! It is a huge room and the way it was built, designed tonight fitted the bill to a tee!
There was definite excitement in the bar/entrance area, wooden pallets and a wall covered in ‘Trainspotting’, Scottish tagger, graffiti, obscenities scrawled around the whole space, the music’s incessant beat that I was thinking, being an old bugger, I expected music from the era…but then I thought ahhh, they are bridging drug consciousness. Most of the crowd and it was a huge crowd, packed house, were of that electronic musical age group and experience as was indicated by the music.
The blight of heroin affected my age group dramatically, I have known a number of people caught up with ‘Mother Superior’, smack.
As we entered the room, thankfully I sat in the second row and ‘in the round’ we are fed to our seating positions on 25cm depth platforms, inbuilt discomfort…awesome, quickly as possible whilst the ensemble dance wildly with double handed glow sticks (always wondered how that shit went down), it’s like old hippie dancing, shaking your body at someone but not touching but just flat out almost US callisthenics
exertion just doing one’s best moves…phew…just as it became tiring this cavalcade of pain and brutality began.
As some 200 audience builds the dancers/actors share the role of seating people, it still felt very wild but innocent enough…Haha…as we got closer to the start the demeanour of the dancers changed, facially more aggressive and looking and acting more ‘out of it’, their interaction got more tactile with the audience…front rowers dragged onto the dance floor, dives into the audience to hug and grapple….PLUR…I even got a hug with an a Scottish accent so broad in my right ear all I got was “I love your hat” …haha…I quickly retorted as he had my head in his forearm vice, “It’s hemp.”
Then it got WAY more physical, sitting there watching the way the performers basically abused the audience in ways some most would think improbable, and to see the way we just went with the flow was like, check this shit out…wow…NOOO not me, not me, not me…(mouth vomit)…He did WHAT!!!…aarrrggghhh, duck! Shit and other unknown liquids and semi solids are flying
Film could never do justice to the realities of this life these kids lived, this monster of a play, nay event, brings to life the realities of their pain and turmoil of the gutter existence that those that never had enough and were never going to get enough…and in this space, you are them, there is no definition between audience and performers.
To use the word outrageous is inadequate and belittling, brutally enlightening would be more apt. Having recently revisited the original film and seeing T2 recently I was wondering how this would play out…brilliantly!
Most of the main scenes from the original film are portrayed, this not a direct attempt to copy the film, more I think to take the guts out of it and display them sliced up raw in front of our eyes, a visceral exploration of the parallels between then and now.
What an entourage of power from the actors, the brutal physicality of this performance equates to the most amazing stunt work I have observed, seamless, unflinching demonstration of how life truly is and for us to be able to rationalize, well it’s not our problem.
And talk about freak the audience out! They seamlessly trowel their way through singularly and sometimes in groups, you never knew really where they were or what they were up to but it got wilder and to some tastes grosser, tits, and dicks out…personal privacy or sense of being but a viewer goes out the window when Begbie grabs your girlfriend’s head from the rear and starts dry rooting it.
It is an extremely heavy situation that is being played out daily in our major city’s suburbs due to our lack of sustainable policy within drug law.
Never have I experienced such a feeling in a room where no one felt safe, one young woman at a particularly unthinkably violent moment got up and quickly walked out obviously shaken…the rest of us transfixed and woven into this story of despair.
I felt for the 70% of sweet young things that came to see something a bit grungy from parent’s/grandparent’s days of youth. I must admit I spent a good deal of time watching the audience response to what was going on. Hilarious and fascinating, started with the girls OMGs then shock horror, resile, eww, things get wet and pooey but full honour to this typical Melbourne audience though. This was an interactive event and we also performed our part and to be honest this very clever crew tried to push every button, but we acquiesced to their performance…we were their meat props.
Bringing the analogy forward to represent the current chemical drug scene is an extraordinary gift to those that want to listen to this message. Very resonant in tone our current scourge, Ice.
Directors – Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin
Playwright – Harry Gibson
Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh
Lighting Designer – Clancy Flynn
Sound Designer – Tom Lishman
Original Producers – Kings Head Theatre and In Your Face Theatre
UK Producer – Seabright Productions
Presented by Andrew Kay and Associates – a Kings Head and In Your Face production
22 March – 13 April 2017
preview: Wednesday 22 March 7.30pm
opening night: Thursday 23 March 8pm
duration: 75 minutes
Wednesday – Friday 8pm (excluding preview)
Saturday 7.30pm & 9.30pm
ticket price: $34 – $45
strictly for ages 16+
03 9662 9966
WARNING: this production contains nudity, coarse language, violent and sexual themes and imagery, heavy drug / needle use, haze effects, strobe lighting and simulated smoking.
“Staging hot, new, international plays has long been part of the brief at Red Stitch, and when the company is on and when the company is onsongthey do it better than anyone.” – The Age
RULES FOR LIVING opened last weekend to full houses of belly laughs and tears! Our Australian Premiere production is being presented in association with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and we are thrilled to be able to share the laughter with festival audiences. This jocular family Christmas is “sleighing” critics and audiences alike.
Here’s what they’re saying:
“Kim Farrant directs a strong ensemble with verve…Kelly’s lustrous, achingly funny performance as Matthew, as well as Nicholas’ laugh-out-loud antics… hilarity with moments of poignancy. A thoroughly entertaining night at the theatre, and an ideal curtain-raiser for this year’s Comedy Festival.”
– ★★★★, The Age
“Thigh-slappingly funny…a wonderfully strong ensemble…thrillingly dark.” -The Australian
“Marvellous and highly entertaining…Dickinson is exceptional as Adam…Caroline Lee’s sharp timing – her lines are laced with enough venom to make the most self-assured person quake in their boots.”
– Milk Bar Mag
“A superb cast of fine actors.” – Stage Whispers
“Directed with manic aplomb by Kim Farrant…stylish technical support gives this special experience a heightened sense of atmosphere…‘Rules For Living’ is an absolute winner. Don’t miss out!” – Theatre People
Thank you for your submissions, we are very close to finalising a shortlist. The standard and interest has been so high it is taking us awhile to narrow it down. We can’t wait to begin the program with our new writers. Stay tuned!
The Red Stitch Ensemble
Win Tickets to Bell Shakespeare’s Richard 3
at Arts Centre Melbourne
Richard is hideous. And Richard was born knowing that he would one day be a ruler.
Award-winning actor Kate Mulvany (Julius Caesar and Macbeth) will embody one of the most ambitious and gleefully amoral villains ever written in Bell Shakespeare’s Richard 3.
To win a double pass to see the show on 22 April at 2pm, email your name and contact details to email@example.com with RED RICHARD in the subject line.
The new play at Red Stitch is very modern, original and quite long – a two act show with each act at about 90 minutes, and add a decent interval, so pack your lunch and an overnight bag. (yes yes, I’m kidding) Though the theatre is in the grounds of a St Kilda church at Chapel & Dandenong Rd, and you can park your vehicle ten metres from the theatre, so…
That said, the play is easy to watch, with an ensemble cast (six and a half players) doing a sterling job of bringing the piece to life. “Rules for Living” is written by English playwrite Sam Holcroft, who has written a few theatre pieces to some acclaim, and it is no surprise, after seeing the play, to find that Sam is a woman, for the insights into the characters suggest a female hand.
The plot: We’ve seen this before but that’s okay. A post-nuclear family finds a reason to come together again. Not a death this time, but the mundanity of a xmas meal. It’s a fairly tight unit, two sons, mother & father. But the older of the kids, Adam (played by Mark Dickinson) is married to Sheena (Jessica Clarke) and they’ve got a mildly crook teenager (Ella Newton on my night, but I think shared with Lily McCarthy) who seems to have 21st Century disease. The younger bro is Matthew (played by Rory Kelly) who has dragged along his new squeeze, the daggy doofus Carrie (Jem Nicholas).
So let the play begin, and to mis-use Hamlet, “for the play’s the thing
Wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the King.” But the patriarch of this suburban joint, Francis (played by Ian Rooney) is in no state to have his conscience caught. And we begin to understand the dominance of Francis in this household, and where the ‘Rules’ for living came from. He dominated his children and enlisted his wife Edith (Caroline Lee) to uphold the law. Both his sons were in love with performing – Adam as a talented cricketer who starred at Lords, the very home of cricket, and Matthew who strutted before the theatre lights. Yet the father drove them to careers with more reliable futures and incomes…but less passion.
This is where playwrite Sam throws in some psychology to inject a large dose of black humour into the bleak suburban tapestry. Using tenets of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which aims to correct negative behaviour patterns formed in childhood, the play commands the actors to follow certain social rules when they play out their unconscious social response patterns. And the CBT is driving the play.
Director Kim Farrant, I am told in the Red Stitch program notes, is set to direct a feature film based on a Luke Davies’ (“Candy” etc) script. And here she has pulled the ensemble cast into a mostly relaxed and (insert useful word here, please, editor) performance. I’d imagine an ensemble cast is most difficult to write for and to direct, with many many sub-plots or meta-plots and schema being woven into and through the central issue which is—well I don’t know really. Perhaps social repression. Perhaps childhood self-preservation methods which later in life occlude real living, whatever that might be. So that’s the recipe for this xmas dinner and it has produced a most entertaining evening with the entire ensemble delivering, though I was particularly taken with the performances of the actors behind Sheena and Matthew, yet lest this opinion seem to take kudos from the rest of the cast & crew, I would hasten to add, shove that up your jumper, they were all good. “Rules For Living” is on now, see Red Stitch for further details, I would imagine…#