5 Questions with Brett O’Neill

rsz_1069168_10201646988048453_838512451_nWhat is your favourite swear word?
Piece-a-shit!!! It just slips out… A lot…

What are you wearing?
I was in my Peter Alexander pyjamas but now I am not.

What is love?
Love is cuddling while a storm is raging outside. Metaphorically and physically.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
Merrily We Roll Along on Digital Theatre. 5/5. A truly touching, funny and heartbreaking staging of this musical. Everyone should buy it online. And all of the other ones. I may have done this. Maybe.

I would have loved to have said Sweet Charity (I was even rehearsing on their set) but I was one of the unfortunate buggers who missed out on a ticket for this one (yay for selling out though!!!)

Is your new show going to be any good?
Judging by the standing ovation we got for our last preview, I think we’re on a winner here. This is the feel-good show Sydney needs. In the afterglow of Charity, our tickets are selling like hotcakes so people need to book right this second. (Not a marketing ploy. I know someone that sold 3 of their kids to see this show, even though the tickets are reasonably priced)

Brett O’Neill is appearing in The Drowsy Chaperone, with Squabbalogic Independent Music Theatre.
Show dates: 14 Mar – 6 Apr, 2014
Show venue: Hayes Theatre Co

Carrie (Squabbalogic Independent Music Theatre)

carrieVenue: Seymour Centre (Sydney NSW), Nov 13 – 30, 2013
Music: Michael Gore
Lyrics: Dean Pitchford
Book: Lawrence D. Cohen (based on the novel by Stephen King)
Director: Jay James-Moody
Performers: Hilary Cole, Margi de Ferranti, Adele Parkinson, Rob Johnson, Prudence Holloway, Bridget Keating

Theatre review
Transposing a well-known horror movie into the live musical genre seems a strange concept, but Carrie is mainly about life in an American high school, which is a setting that is no stranger to show tunes and dance sequences.In fact, Jay James-Moody’s direction is confident within that realm of the “high school musical”, and he steers it into family-friendly territory, which is not inappropriate but unfortunately loses the opportunity at creating something darker and edgier for the genre.

The show has a stable of outstanding singers, but casting misses the mark in a couple of cases. Three key characters, Carrie, Sue and Tommy, however, are excellently portrayed, and their work contributes greatly to the success of this production. Hilary Cole as the protagonist is convincing and heart-wrenching. Even though her characterisation of Carrie is slightly underplayed, her singing voice is strong enough to create impact whenever the plot demands drama. The penultimate and iconic scene is handled especially well, which is surprising, considering the pervasiveness of its imagery in pop culture. Cole more than lives up to expectations, and gives us a Carrie who is at once frightening and tragic.

Adele Parkinson is fantastic in her role of Sue. Her creation is the most believable in the show, and crucially, she encourages empathy from the audience with her natural warmth, and the credible affection she musters for the lead character. Rob Johnson is a charming Tommy. He is an eminently watchable actor, who seems to be at ease in any situation, and with any co-star. Johnson has a confident laid-back quality that suits his role perfectly.

This production does not have the same horror and tension that many know from the book and film adaptation, but it stands alone as a fascinating and captivating show. Carrie is an “outsider” classic that speaks to many, despite its implausibilities. We relate to the girl who is left out, and the bullying she experiences is topical for any generation.