Symphonie of the Bicycle

Symphonie of the Bicycle

Symphonie of the Bicycle Rating

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Step into the captivating realm of “The Symphonie of the Bicycle,” where the stage comes alive with the stories of two captivating characters, both embodied by the versatile Hew Parham under the direction of Adelaide legend Chris Drummond.

In a masterful tribute, Parham interlaces the narratives of Gino Bartali, the revered Italian cycling legend, and Hew, an embittered soul haunted by the spectre of a childhood rival’s success.

With palpable fervour, Parham breathes life into Bartali’s heroic exploits, recounting his triumphs in the Giro Italia and the Tour de France amidst the tumult of family tragedy and World War II. Through Parham’s portrayal, we witness Bartali’s indomitable spirit as he defies adversity, even clandestinely aiding persecuted Jews under the guise of training rides.

Yet, amidst the grandeur of Bartali’s tale, Hew emerges as a poignant contrast—a solitary figure, adrift in his discontent, until an unexpected encounter with fitness luminary Jake Johnson sets him on a path of self-discovery. As the narrative weaves between their stories, Parham’s performance dazzles, effortlessly shifting between accents and emotions with impeccable timing and boundless charisma.

Simple yet evocative staging, with a lone black stage adorned by a golden bicycle and intermittent props, invites the audience to immerse themselves in the unfolding drama, while the deft interplay of lighting underscores the shifting moods of each character’s journey.

Parham’s comedic prowess shines through, eliciting laughter and engagement from the audience, transforming moments of introspection into shared moments of joy and connection. The performance culminated in a rapturous standing ovation, leaving the audience both entertained and enlightened.

As the curtains draw to a close, Parham’s poignant reflection—”I was so busy trying to be someone else I forgot to be me”—lingers in the air, a poignant reminder of the power of authenticity and the importance of embracing our true selves. “The Symphonie of the Bicycle” entertains and inspires, inviting us to pedal forth on our unique journeys with renewed vigour and purpose.

Symphonie Of The Bicycle is now showing at the Space Theatre in the Adelaide Festival Centre from 14th May to 25th May 2024.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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Potted Potter – The Unauthorised Harry Experience

Potted Potter

Potted Potter Rating

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Every now and again a show comes along that is simply just good fun. Potted Potter is one of these shows. It is child-like (in the best possible way), hysterical and does not depend on a deep knowledge of the seven Harry Potter books.

The Playhouse, normally home to the State Theatre Company of SA, was packed with eager children of all ages, some dressed as their heroes, accompanied by apprehensive parents. The atmosphere was palpable.

The stage is shrouded with mysterious objects covered with sheets, a study corner with a desk standing on a pile of books, ominous shadows and eerie music. A perfect setting for horror story, but this production is everything but that!

Written by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, with direction by Richard Hurst, set by Simon Scullion, lighting by Tim Mascall, video by Tom Hillenbrand and music by Phil Innes, Potted Potter was ‘born’ in 2005 as a 5-minute street show, and has evolved since then, travelling around the world, into the current 70-minute spectacle.

Featuring the comedic talents of Scott Hoatson and Jacob Jackson, the production rockets along and includes, puppets, quidditch, fast costume changes, quidditch, audience participation, quidditch, topical references and yes, of course, quidditch!

At roughly 10 minutes per book, this is no mean feat for Scott and Jacob, however, they handle the task with ease and never allow the pace or the humour to drop, complete with numerous ad libs and in jokes.

Hoatson plays the wizard himself, complete with the trademark glasses and more than a passing resemblance. Jackson plays all the other characters (except the golden snitch). Individually and together, they are masters of their art with enough material to interest children and adults alike. The rapport between them is amazing, particularly when using physical humour.

If you are a Harry Potter purist, be prepared to suspend your devotion to perfection for 70 minutes and embrace your inner child. There are references to Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Australian political figures and more!

At times it is hard to determine where the script ends and the ad libs begin as the performers work at rocket pace daring us to keep up. The direction (Richard Hurst) is flawless and we could be forgiven for believing the boys are ‘making it up as they go along as the banter is completely natural.

Highlights for me include – Voldemort wearing bright red horns (a parody of Maleficent?), the final battle between Harry and the dark lord staged as a sing off to ‘I Will Survive’ and the terrifying (or is it?) Norwegian Ridgeback dragon battle with Harry.

As wonderful as these highlights are, the climax of the evening is the game of Quidditch with two lucky members of the audience as ‘keepers’. Blow up globes of the Earth bounce through the audience in search of the lifebuoy goals in the auditorium and the golden snitch is spotted and captured to win the game. Hoatson, as the snitch, in an amazing golden costume that defies my description, was lucky to survive the keepers in this performance.

Potted Potter – The unauthorised Harry experience – a Parody by Dan and Jeff is a joyous 70 minutes packed with hilarity, audience participation and downright good fun. It is sure to cast a spell on those who are young, and those us who wish we still were! A must see!

Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre. May 10-12

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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The Addams Family

The Addams Family

The Addams Family Rating

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There is so much to love about the Addams Family Musical comedy presented by the Metropolitan Theatre Company of SA Inc., which was originally formed in 1958 as the ‘Metropolitan Light Opera Company’. Performances first took place at the Unley and Norwood Town Halls before moving to the Arts Theatre in 1964, where the Company has remained.

I love that it was performed three streets from my house in a gorgeous little old theatre in Adelaide, The Arts Theatre.

I love that we left home a little bit too late to race there in my high heels, so hubby and I jumped on our scooter and it took us three minutes to scoot there, longer in fact to chain the scooter up outside.

I love that I could pull this old dress out of the wardrobe and nobody batted and eyelid. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been complimented on my outfit so much that I might wear it again!?!

I love that everybody was chatting in the foyer before entry, like a bunch of old friends.

I love that you could stand outside the stage door after the show to chat to the artists, if you could recognise them that is, as they left to celebrate their opening night.

Even my husband who gets dragged along to these things, and he loved it, which is a really really big compliment coming from him.

But now to the important thing, the performance

Fans of the Addams Family you will discover and love these actors and their characters immediately.

The show is brilliantly cast :

Ben Todd (Young Frankenstein, Spamalot,Guys & Dolls) playing Gomez Adams.

Selena Britz (One Touch of Venus, All That Jazz, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs) Morticia Adams.

Vanessa Crouch (The King & I, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hello Dolly!) Wednesday.

John McKay (Jack The Ripper, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pirates of Penzance) Uncle Fester.

Elizabeth Lee (characters such as The Beggar Woman, Hedy La Rue, Mrs Higgins) Grandma.

Tom Sheldon (Winnie The Pooh, The Sound of Music, Hairspray) Lucas Beineke.

Krystal Dally (Annie, Nice Work If You Can Get It) Alice Beineke.

Andrew Mayer (The Boyfriend, Fiddler on the Roof, Pirates of Penzance) Mel Beineke.

Jason Clark (Le Mis, Grease) is Lurch.

Pugsley shared between 14-year-old Phoebe Clark and 11-year-old Elijah Proctor.

And also a cast of 15 ancestors who were absolutely perfect support to the story.

Each main cast member had their time to shine with their song. As each cast member sang, I thought, this is the show stealer, until the next one, and I thought, this is the show stealer, and the next one, and I thought, this is the show stealer!!

If I really had to choose, I would say Vanessa. Wednesday was mesmerising, and you couldn’t take your eyes off her. Vanessa appeared in her first show at age five, and her state experience is evident.

The storyline is fabulous, giving each of the actors their moment in the sun.

It has a great message about the importance of family, mother-daughter struggles, long-term husband-and-wife dynamics, and the trials and tribulations of bringing new members into families.

Which coincidentally coincided with the first time that our eldest daughter brought her partner home to our house to meet us and her four siblings for a movie night tonight, so that aspect of the story was particularly relevant to my husband and I.

It was a long show, but it was so much fun that you didn’t feel it was too long.

A bonus was that during the break, we could order some lattes on an app, and my husband walked down to the On The Run on the corner, arriving back just in time for act two with some nice hot coffees.

The production team consisted of Caroline Adams, Director, Jane Feast, Musical Director, and Jacinta Vistolli, Choreographer. They should all be very proud of what they have created.

The only disappointment of the night was that I would’ve loved to have seen more guests in the house.

If you can get out and see this show, support our local talent, support our local venues, remember that these guys do this for the love of it and do a spectacular job, so let’s get behind them.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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Living Together

Living Together

Living Together Rating

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Celebrating its 75th year in community theatre, St. Jude’s Players present a lively rendition of “Living Together”, the second play in Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s renowned trilogy, “The Norman Conquests”. Directed by Les Zetlein, who, with four decades of dedication to St Jude’s community, offers a delightful escape into the quirky world of 1970s England.

Upon entering the theatre, audiences are greeted by a meticulously crafted set courtesy of the multi-talented Don Oakley. Oakley’s expertise shines through as he transports us to a cozy English living room, complete with all the nostalgic touches of the era. A dedicated team have ensured that every element of the production is seamless and authentic.

At the heart of the story is Norman, portrayed by Simon Lancione, whose antics set the stage for a weekend of chaos and comedy. Despite his moral shortcomings, Norman possesses a charismatic charm that allows him to manipulate and charm those around him, particularly the women in his life. Lancione, as Norman, is both witty and pervasive, often managing to avoid the consequences of his actions through his quick thinking and silver tongue.

Norman’s role in the trilogy is multifaceted. He serves as a catalyst for much of the conflict and chaos that unfolds, driving the plot forward with his reckless behaviour and romantic entanglements. At the same time, he is also a deeply human character, grappling with his own insecurities and desires beneath his charming facade.

Rebecca Butler shines as Ruth, Norman’s long-suffering wife, capturing her character’s mix of disgust, frustration, and eventual resignation. Adrian Heness brings humour and a very expressive character to the role of board-game inventor Reg, opposite Rose Harvey’s sharp-tongued portrayal of his wife, Sarah. Larry Waller’s portrayal of the harmless neighbourhood vet, Tom, adds a touch of dim-witted charm to the ensemble, while Carla Hardie delivers a compelling performance as Annie, the troubled sister burdened with the care of their mother, seeking a little excitement and distraction from her otherwise dull life.

The cast has great chemistry, with each member skilfully supporting each of their fellow actors to deliver a fast-paced, layered performance filled with comic timing. The result is a performance full absurdity, as the characters navigate through a weekend filled with unexpected twists and turns.

While the cast’s performances are commendable, the plotline may feel somewhat dated, with all three women seemingly revolving around Norman, whose flaws are glaringly apparent. Despite this, the production offers an engaging exploration of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships.

With its high production values and talented cast, St. Jude’s Players once again prove their commitment to delivering quality theatre and the audience laughed in all the right places creating an appreciative and warm atmosphere.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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