5 Questions with Helen Dallimore and Lucy Durack

Helen Dallimore

Helen Dallimore

Lucy Durack: What did you enjoy most about playing Glinda in the original London production of Wicked and do you ever miss it?
Helen Dallimore: Going on stage in front of two thousand people a night, in a show you know they will love, in a role you love to play. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If the Sydney Symphony Orchestra let you sing one non-witch related song, any song in the universe, just for fun, in a karaoke-with-a-symphony-orchestra kind of way, what would it be?
Actually, we are doing my number one karaoke song in the show! What are the chances? I won’t ruin the surprise…

Of all the iconic witches out there, who is your favourite and why?
I love Elphaba. She’s so strong, yet vulnerable and fierce and loving. A brilliant role model for aspiring witches.

If you were given the option of flying or travelling by bubble as your preferred mode of transport in real life, what would you choose?
Look, the bubble has that element of theatricality about it, which to a showgirl is very appealing. But sometimes you just want to pop down to Coles in your trackies and not necessarily have to put on the whole crown and gown scenario. It’s a lot of pressure. Flying allows for a more casual look, you can dress it up or down – it’s a bit more versatile.

Do you think you might bring some of those amazing tube cakes you are so famous for making to rehearsals? Asking for a friend.
Ah yes, the caneles. Tell your “friend” I think I can rustle some up. Don’t forget to remind her about the bespoke gowns we have to fit into though.

Lucy Durack

Lucy Durack

Helen Dallimore: What is the difference in your process as a performer when approaching a concert rather than role in a show?
Lucy Durack: Preparing for a role in a show for me means getting in the head of that character, figuring out their voice, their walk, what they want, how they go about getting (or not getting) what they want and mapping out their character arc within the story of the show whilst trying to make it all as truthful as possible. In a concert, while you are sort of playing a heightened version of yourself, you also have to ask those questions and figure out those thoughts separately for each song as often the songs are all sung by different characters and then work out how to put them all together in the one show. On top of that, seeing as you are being a version of yourself, it’s about figuring out the ratio of how much ‘you’ you bring to the piece and how much ‘character’ from wherever the song is originally from and that will most probably differ from song to song. For both a concert and a show, I like to start by learning all my words and harmonies as much as possible before the first rehearsal so I can really play in the rehearsal room, in the hope that the playing helps me find some of the answers to the above questions that I haven’t figured out yet.

Do you have a bucket list role that you haven’t yet played?
It would be very lovely to voice some awesome character in a Disney Pixar film or any great animated film, if it was a musical that would be a bonus.

Who is your idol and why?
Ok, there are a few. My mum and dad are in so many ways, they are great, fun, hard working people that always keep our family and our family values at the core of everything they do. Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope are also great influences in my life, they work so hard and make intelligent, hilarious, uplifting, poignant television and films that I love and they manage to always do everything with such kindness and humour. They never make anyone working with them feel excluded and have a real focus on gender equality. I have never met Amy Poehler or Tina Fey but they are also my idols, they are so funny, smart and seem to be people with their heart in the right place. If I could have a dinner party with all 6 people that would be really, really awesome.

If you were a real witch, what would be your signature spell?
I would love to have a spell to be able to make people feel peaceful, happy and contented, not in a ‘block your feelings’ way but to speed up times of depression, anxiety, grief and sadness to get to that lovely fulfilling feeling where you have worked through it all and come out the other side and can appreciate life and laugh about things again.

Who do you think would win in a fight between the four of us witches?
It depends what it was over, if was over the last salted caramel macaroon in the world, I think it would play out like this: Amanda would be a contender, she only has to think about arm muscles to get them, but I feel she would tire of the idea fastest, just get bored with it and really she prefers savoury food. Physically Jemma is probably the strongest, she runs many kilometres a day and she has a sporting mentality, but I feel she is too peaceful and again, has less of a sweet tooth and an iron will to stay that way. I think you Helen, have the core and inner strength as well as unequalled old fashioned gumption to really seal the deal but I possibly have the strongest sweet tooth of all so it would be down to the two of us. I think Amanda and Jemma would have gone home by now and you and I would have decided not to fight but rather share the last macaron whilst getting our nails done and dreaming up a fun new show for us all to star in.

Helen Dallimore and Lucy Durack can both be seen in Witches, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Dates: 15 – 16 July, 2016
Venue: Sydney Opera House

Les Illuminations (Sydney Dance Company)

816436-les-illuminations[1]Venue: Sydney Opera House (Sydney NSW), Aug 28 – 31, 2013
Choreographer: Rafael Bonachela
Music: Benjamin Britten
Musicians: Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Vocalist: Katie Noonan
Dancers: Sydney Dance Company

Theatre review
Rafael Bonachela’s latest work with the Sydney Dance Company is set to the music of Benjamin Britten from the 1930s. Bonachela’s immense respect for the music has produced a work that is sensitive to the audience’s aural experience, where the dancers are never allowed to overwhelm or contradict Britten’s essence. It is a successful meeting of creative art forms, but the music is kept paramount.

If beauty is ever a theme in theatre, Les Illuminations embraces it wholeheartedly. Eight dancers perform with a variety of moods and energies, but ultimately all the nuances they bring to the stage dissolve into fleeting moments, for what remains in the aftermath is a sense of sublime beauty. In part 1, Bernhard Knauer embodies a certain lightness and delivers a dream-like quality to the dance. The effortlessness he displays is delightful, and representative of Bonachela’s style, which is chiefly of a sensual nature, rather than giving prominence to technical athleticism. Janessa Dufty impresses as always with her magnetic presence and supreme confidence. Her performance style is characterised by strength and freedom, with a quality that is exceptionally alluring. In part 2, Thomas Bradley’s androgyny is important to the reading of Bonachela’s work, which in this instance, will be remembered for featuring multiple pas de deux sequences. A queer influence gives “partner work” texture, elevating gender dynamics from mere romance to more interesting ideas, and more complex notions of relationships and love.

Katie Noonan’s voice in the classical space is a marvellous revelation. Her singing comes to us with a transportative other-worldliness. It is perfect. Memorable segments of the show involve the dancers engaging us and each other, but with minimal movement. Our eyes and ears are seduced into a state of rapture, with Noonan’s timber ringing as though in dreams of purity and beauty, as though suspended in time.