5 Questions with Michelle Pastor

michellepastorWhat is your favourite swear word?
I don’t swear a lot. My boyfriend looks at me in shock when I do. So you’ll mostly hear me say Oh My Goodness, but in times of extreme frustration it’s F*ing Hell!

What are you wearing?
Right now I’m in my pyjamas. The curse of working from home. If I got dressed? Jeans and a lazy jumper. Im in Melbourne today and it’s stupidly cold.

What is love?
Wanting to spend every second with that person, or thinking about them, or remembering them, or talking about them, accepting every part of them and being so grateful they are in your life, because with them, joy is abundant.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
I saw King Kong yesterday. That gorilla is freaking incredible. Kids were in tears with fear. I wanted to give him a hug. It took 13 guys
to work the puppet! How many stars? Sadly the story was a little disjointed, so I’ll give it 4.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Yes. Undoubtedly. Why? Because it’s fun. I have fun performing it and you’ll have fun watching it.

Michelle Pastor is starring in Spoil Your Love Life.
Show dates: 29 Oct – 9 Nov, 2013
Show venue: The Newsagency

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre Royal)

dirtyrottenscoundrelsVenue: Theatre Royal (Sydney NSW), Aug 14 – Sep 1, 2013
Writer: Jeffrey Lane (based on the 1988 film)
Music and lyrics: David Yazbeck
Director: Roger Hodgman
Choreographer: Dana Jolly
Performers: Tony Sheldon, Matt Hetherington, Amy Lehpamer, John Wood, Anne Wood, Katrina Retallick
Image by Kurt Sneddon

Theatre review
The “Broadway Musical” genre is hugely popular, with productions travelling across continents everyday. They represent the ultimate in live entertainment, and consistently provide incredible inspiration to everyday folk by showcasing unimaginable artistic skill and talent.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is an excellent example of a show that ticks all the boxes. It is an engaging and amusing story, peppered with uproariously funny sequences, and a clever plot driven by beautifully written songs. Design elements are of the finest quality. The stage in Theatre Royal is slightly tight, but the venue looks exceptionally elegant and glamorous on this occasion. Performances are beyond “world class” with an Australian cast that can only be described as brilliant.

Matt Hetherington as Freddy Benson is a perfect fit; one can hardly imagine any other actor more suited for the role. Hetherington is the proverbial “triple threat” incarnate, with a killer singing voice, impressive command of choreography, and seriously hilarious comic abilities. His star shines irresistibly bright in this production.

Amy Lehpamer is an absolute delight as Christine Colgate. Her masterful vocals are quite literally perfect, and coupled with her fervency in the comic content of the show, she is completely impressive and a very wonderful musical theatre actor indeed. Like Hetherington, Lehpamer has star quality in spades, and together, they are a surety that this is one production that will never have an “off night” in its entire season. Also noteworthy is Katrina Retallick who has a smaller role as the pistol wielding Jolene Oakes. She earns some of the biggest laughs of the show, and while appearing only in a couple of scenes, they are thoroughly memorable ones.

This is a musical characterised by its vivacious humour. There is an irreverent sensibility that many would love, but others might find challenging. For those of us who enjoy a dose of naughtiness, and are not averse to a little scoundrelly wit, this is a show that will leave an enduring impression for many years to come.

www.dirtyrottenscoundrels.com.au

5 Questions with Richard House

richardhouseWhat is your favourite swear word?
Just in case my mum reads this I’d better not be too creative when choosing my favourite swear word. I’m a big fan of South Park and Butters (one of the characters from the show) has a great expression in times of frustration. “SON OF A BISCUIT”.

What are you wearing?
I’m in-between rehearsals at the moment so currently I’m in sweaty tights, a sweaty bandana, sweaty ballet shoes and a sweaty t-shirt with Rafael Nadal on it.

What is love?
Love is a large Big Mac meal from McDonald’s. Ha! It’s also an enticing emotion that once you experience the completeness it brings, you’re always craving for more.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Well I haven’t seen a show in quite a while due to being incredibly busy, but I am seeing Beyonce perform this week and I can only assume she will rock my world and it will be a 100 stars out of 100 stars show!

Is your new show going to be any good?
Well it premieres on the 31st of October which is also my birthday and I have never heard of anything less than awesome happening on that date!

Richard House is starring in Bodytorque.Technique, with The Australian Ballet.
Show dates: 31 Oct – 3 Nov, 2013
Show venue: Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay

Three Winters Green (Lambert House Enterprises)

threewintersgreenVenue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Oct 7 – Nov 3, 2013
Playwright: Campion Decent
Director: Les Solomon
Actors: Tom Sharah, Brett O’Neill, Gael Ballantyne, James Wright, Emily Kennedy, Matt Young, Diana Perini

Theatre review
First produced in 1993 (and again in 2003), Three Winters Green arrived at a time when the AIDS epidemic was still a crucial force in galvanising gay communities in the developed world. Campion Decent’s script is a beautiful representation of that generation’s experiences, and his depiction of their struggles is an important documentation that needs to be borne witness time and time again.

The emphasis on Les Solomon’s 2013 direction remains on the devastating effects of the AIDS virus, but other elements in Decent’s writing make the play more than a relic of recent lgbt history. It deals with uniquely queer experiences of family, the closet, and homophobic violence, all of which are hugely relevant themes that resonate strongly, even for the most jaded of contemporary Australians.

Tom Sharah is the lead, and his work is a major factor in the success of this production. Sharah has a thorough and sensitive understanding of the text, and his portrayal of Francis is deeply affecting. He plays the flamboyant character with great humour and delivers a lot of big laughs, but he also cuts through with beautiful, subtle moments that convey truthful character development and heartfelt emotion. It is a heartbreakingly sublime performance. Brett O’Neill is memorable in his supporting role as Andrew. He is naturally charismatic, and impresses with simplicity and authenticity. The restraint in his acting contrasts well with other cast members, and allows him to shine brightly through.

The play concludes with the unfurling of a quilt that was part of the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt Project, that commemorates and honours those who have lost their lives to the disease. The poignancy of the quilt’s presence, along with the angels and the mourners they leave behind, cannot be understated. George Orwell said, “the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” May Three Winters Green return with greater emerald vibrancy at each passing season, and may we never forget the foundations of our shared histories, even if the communities we live in become increasingly fragmented.

www.kingstreettheatre.com.au

5 Questions with Amy Lehpamer

amylehpamerWhat is your favourite swear word?
The one that my phone’s auto-correct changes to duck. It’s percussive and punctuating. I enjoy it.

What are you wearing?
From the neck up, a full show face and giant bouffant blonde wig. Neck down, workout wear. I’m a hybrid musical theatre creature. It’d be a confusing sight on the street. Unless you were in Double Bay or Brighton. I hear people love this look down those parts.

What is love?
Sharing everything. And wanting to.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
South Pacific. Lisa McCune is a star. I’d give her all of them. Also to the male ensemble. Imagine waking up to those boys singing ‘There Is Nothing Like A Dame,’ it’d really change the course of your day. Another highlight was watching the audience notice that John Wood (fellow Scoundrel) was sitting amongst them. People genuinely couldn’t contain themselves that Sergeant Croydon was looking on Maggie Doyle’s stage work. It was like the Logies set to Rodgers and Hammerstein. A CLASSY Logies!

Is your new show going to be any good?
If you hate laughing and songs and handsomeness and beauty and Tony nominees, then don’t come. If you like those things – YOU GET ALL THOSE THINGS! And then some. The show is beautifully constructed. The characters are full of life and scope and a good dose of silliness. Yes.

Amy Lehpamer is starring in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Show dates: From 17 Oct, 2013
Show venue: Theatre Royal

Butterflies Are Free (Lambert House Enterprises)

butterfilesVenue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Oct 7 – Nov 3, 2013
Playwright: Leonard Gershe
Director: Les Solomon
Actors: James Wright, Emily Kennedy, Cheryl Ward, Matt Young

Theatre review
Written by Leonard Gershe in 1969, Butterflies Are Free premiered at virtually the same time as the legendary Woodstock Festival. The work discusses notions of freedom at a time when America was in the depths of the Vietnam War, and when the hippie subculture was at its peak. 44 years on, the resonances in Gershe’s script remain strong, and its story still strikes a chord with contemporary audiences.

Les Solomon’s revival of the play is slightly referential of the 60s, but design elements do not explore the retro aspect too deeply. Instead, Solomon focuses our attention on character development and the themes inherent in the writing. His direction of the piece is confident and passionate. We are treated to perfectly paced comedy, as well as an earnest approach to the deeper and more philosophical sections of the text.

Quality of acting is consistently strong. Emily Kennedy’s portrayal of a free spirit is delightful, and she captivates by shading her character with glimpses of a sombre interior. Her balance of light and dark grounds the show in a space of warmth and truthfulness, and establishes an intimate sense of identification with the audience. Cheryl Ward plays Mrs Baker, the “mother”, bringing a comic quality that is enjoyable yet subtle. Ward’s performance is measured and sensitive, creating probably the most convincing character in the show. It is noteworthy however, that the final quarter of the play seems slightly rushed. The comedy eventually gives way to a fairly serious conclusion packed with meaning and pathos, but the actors seem to remain at the speed of the earlier scenes.

The theme of freedom is one that absolutely everyone can relate to. In Butterflies Are Free, we are presented with a beautiful story and sublime, deeply moving words. This production allows us to savour those words as delivered by a group of impassioned players, and provides an opportunity for its audience to reflect upon the freedoms that exist in our lives and also those that are sadly absent.

www.kingstreettheatre.com.au

Daisy Pulls It Off (The Genesian Theatre)

daisypullsitoffVenue: The Genesian Theatre (Sydney NSW), Oct 18 – Nov 16, 2013
Playwright: Denise Deegan
Director: Mark Langham
Actors: Anna Hitchings, Amylea Griffin, Bianca Bradey, Laura Genders, Anita Donovan, Monica Smithers

Theatre review
Originally staged in the 1980s, Denise Deegan’s Daisy Pulls It Off is a modern parody of adventure stories from the early twentieth century about English boarding schools. With the passage of time, Genesian’s production has the difficult task of referencing those old adventures that have all but faded from our memories. On the bright side, director Mark Langham and his cast have crafted a crisp and well-rehearsed piece of light entertainment that accommodates audiences aged 8 to 80.

Amylea Griffin’s performance as Trixie Martin is by far most memorable. Her portrayal of an adorable and playful youngster is vibrant and extraordinarily effervescent. She brings a great sense of fun to the proceedings, and keeps the show lively whenever she appears. Laura Genders is one of the funnier actors in the show, who performs the postmodern elements of the comedy most effectively. She demonstrates that realism has very little place in Deegan’s writing, and it is in the madcap and absurd, that her humour is found.

Langham is very strong with his details in the construction of the play, and even though the laughs are not always riotous, Daisy Pulls It Off is filled with wonderment and good old-fashioned cheer, which are of course the hallmarks of the great Genesian Theatre.

www.genesiantheatre.com.au

5 Questions with Matt Young

mattyoungWhat is your favourite swear word?
Well, I grew up in the States, so “hell” is considered a swear word-it’s blasphemous, you see. So I’ll have to say: God-damned!

What are you wearing?
Now that I’m half-Aussie, R.M. Williams button-down shirt, jeans, and boots, mate.

What is love?
My man-husband and our two beautiful children.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Kit Brookman’s Small And Tired at Belvoir amazed and moved me in design, direction, and acting performances. I submitted myself for the role of Electra’s husband, and read the outstanding, mature script back then. But I didn’t get an audition. So four stars. Otherwise five. God-damned Belvoir didn’t give me an audition!

Is your new show going to be any good?
Hell… I mean, heck yes! Both of them. Check out #ButterfliesRFreeAu and #3WintersGreen @kingsttheatre on Twitter to find out what the punters think. Or just me. If I’m the only one using the hashtag. #sob

Matt Young is starring in Three Winters Green and Butterfiles Are Free, two plays in repertory.
Show dates: 17 Oct – 3 Nov, 2013
Show venue: King Street Theatre

5 Questions with Stephen Mahy

stephenmahyWhat is your favourite swear word?
C you next Tuesday.

What are you wearing?
Black Calvin Klein jeans, grey t shirt with the earth on it.

What is love?
Not expecting anything back.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Tequila Mocking Bird in Brisbane. A great theatre and education play. 4 out of 5.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Grease? I think it is.

 

 

Stephen Mahy is starring in Grease.
Show dates: From 13 Oct, 2013 (Sydney) & Jan 2, 2014 (Melbourne)
Show venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre & Her Majesty’s Theatre

5 Questions with Damian de Montemas

damiandemontemasWhat is your favourite swear word?
Clusterfuck, or fucking motherfucker, or shove it up your ass and fuck off while you’re doing it…

What are you wearing?
Jeans, t-shirt, boots.

What is love?
All you need.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Ummm Iggy Pop at the Hordern… 9/10 stars… How many stars is it outta 5? 4.5 outta 5.

Is your new show going to be any good?
Anaconda is going to be unmissable.

 

 

Damian de Montemas is starring in Anaconda.
Show dates: 29 Oct – 23 Nov, 2013
Show venue: The Bondi Pavillion Theatre