The BeatGirls’ 21st – All Grown Up

April 17, 2017 at 3:49 am | Posted in Concert Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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To commemorate their 21st year milestone, the Group put on a celebratory season at Circa Theatre. There have been 29 Beat Girls during history of the Group; this show featured Beat Girls #1, #4, #26, and #29.

The show was a walk down through the 21 years: intermixed with congratulatory video messages from past Beat Girls, projected photos of past performances; the Group performed numbers from their wide repertoire.

The BeatGirls – Andrea Sanders (#1), Carrie McLaughlin (#4), Kali Kopae (#26) – took the stage and launched into a Tom Jones number. After two more numbers, Sanders welcomed the audience and began a show long history of the Group. Apparently the Group began covering Beatles songs in Wellington pubs. To show off a little bit, the Group then sang the Beatles’ Daytripper in a bossa  nova style.

Dresses from past performances were suspended above stage, a strong reminder of the colourful nature of the Group. After a costume change Kopae utterly owned Amy Winehouse’s Valerie. This is the real power of the Group: their vocal versatility combined with great choreography and on stage energy guarantee a great show.

Just before the interval, the Group re-introduced the character of Doreen (Christina Cusiel). She gave a wonderful characterisation of a sex goddess covering  Aretha Franklin’s  Think. in the process, she gave a reluctant member of the audience bit of close attention.

After the interval, the Group came on in their 70’s psychedelic pants suits. Their was touching tribute to David Bowie – Modern love. McLauglin hammed it up a bit, by acting stiff and occasionally stuck in a pose!

The final costume change saw the Group in their characteristic beehive wigs and 60’s one-piece short dresses.

The show fittingly ended with Sanders (#1) singing a duet – No More Tears – with Ella Monnery (#29).

It was a fantastic night, with great music, great choreography, with the added bonus of a short history of the Group. Throughout the show, each of the Group took turns to explain a little of the history of the BeatGirls.

I’m glad I went.

 

 

 

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Promise & Promiscuity

May 9, 2016 at 9:09 am | Posted in Play Review, Show Review, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A hilarious one-women play set in the Jane Austen Regency Period. I attended a sold out performance at the Circa Theatre the other night. The amazing Penny Ashton, played a multitude of characters, doing a number of voices and personalities, singing now and then (also as different characters), danced, and played the ukulele!

Ms Ashton has turned her novella (available on Amazon) into a one-women one-act play; or she may have turned her play into a novella.

The plot was very familiar to the audience: a pair of sister; living in reduced circumstances – as a result of their father’s poor decisions; they live in a little cottage; there is a wealthy neighbour; the neighbour has a wealthy stand-offish friend; and of course there is a ball.

Go see it if you can. Oh if you are a male, don’t sit in the front row, unless you can dance – Ms Ashton selects someone to dance at the ball!

Dead Tragic (2014)

December 14, 2014 at 7:08 am | Posted in Musical Review, Show Review | 1 Comment
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Last weekend, it was Michael Nicholas Williams’s Mama Mia, this weekend it was his Dead Tragic – which I saw at Bats Theatre 20 years ago.

The original cast:

  • Emma Kinane,
  • Jo Pheloung,
  • Lyndee-Jane Rutherford,
  • Michael Nicholas Williams, and
  • Darren Young.

updated some of the material, cast off the years and wow-ed the audience.

Mysteriously, the Bee Gees number was cancelled – copyright (?), after all, with a name like Dead Tragic, surely Tragedy, when the feelings gone, … would have been perfect. Still the updated choreography, included ‘selfies’ in hilarious rendition of “I did what I did for Maria” – very generation X.

It was really funny – “putting the fun back into funeral” – and very entertaining – even the Circa Theatre ushers were bopping to the music during the interval :-). The tradition version of how Billy[the] Hero [despite orders from his fiance] is challenged! Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town gets an update – what does happen if Ruby’s dis-abled husband doesn’t die, but lives for 20 years; well she waxes! The Leader of the pack was actually as lady biker!

Go see this, you laugh and be transported back to a simpler music period.

Spector

July 15, 2012 at 10:09 am | Posted in Musical Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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… with the BeatGirls (and Jason Chasland) … a clever parody of 60’s and 70’s music (produced and influenced by Phil Spector) … a history of 60’s and 70’s music (using Phil Spector to connect the songs) … the story of Phil Spector … the wall of sound – (one of Spector’s many innovations).

I went to the opening night of this new BeatGirls show.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, having been to a number of BeatGirls gigs – where they sang some wonderful covers. But this was a show – a story, drama, … . This was also a departure for the Girls – having a male guest performer.

Some of the audience were dressed in 60’s and 70’s outfits. Some of the audience looked like they caught some of the music first time around – they clearly enjoyed the show and the music. Not being a baby-boomer, I missed many of the references.

Spector is a ‘show of two halves’: 60’s music leading up to the intermission, and 70’s music after. The first half was restrained and tidy; the second was psychedelic and a loss-of-innocence (was there really that much sexual goings-on?). In the first half, the Girls were dressed as tidy inspirations for Amy Winehouse – very ‘Mod’; in the second, the Girls were in 70’s flower child outfits (complete with John Lennon headbands). The first half was a music history lesson; the second was a riot of events – culminating in where Spector is currently living (prison) and how he got there (2nd degree murder of Lana Clarkson). In the first half, the wall of sound was explained and demonstrated; in the second it got out of control – I can see why Paul McCartney eventually released Let it Be … Naked – the wall tended to overwhelm the lead singer.

Armslength – a play

January 26, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Play Review | Leave a comment
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I got the chance and went to Circa Theatre to see a play.

Jan 26, 2008 by


Theatre Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
Wellington
New Zealand

The play has five characters and three scene settings – actually there are four, but you see three most of the time.

The theatre space has no arch, so the audience is very close to the cast; at the end the audience is co-opted in to be the audience at a gallery openning. The three setting are side-by-side across the stage: a post-graduate office, a student flat, and a lecturer’s office. The characters never actually cross from one directly onto another; clever stage design creates the impression of doors and a series of corridors and roads at the back of the stage.

The cast are:

  • Elsie, played by Kate Prior, is a a photo journalist come home to study photographic art and to patch up things with her younger sister.
  • Ruth, Abby Marment, is Elsie’s estranged sister. She has a Mac-job, having stopped dancing, to support herself and her student boyfriend.
  • Steve, Jamie McCaskill, is the student boyfriend – half way through a two-year photographic art course.
  • Julie, Emma Robinson, is a photographic art lecturer and mildly famous as a photographer.
  • Harry, Eli Kent, is an alcoholic PhD student studying the Earth’s magnetism. a very geeky guy.

With an uneven number of characters and an uneven number of the sexes, the opportunity for pairing, triangles and quadrangles is explointed to the full. You wonder at times: who else has a relationship who, that is about to be disclosed. There is a love quadrangle !

The play is definitely worth the ticket price. The plot is rich – maybe too rich. I hope that the playwright – Branwen Millar – has not used up all of her material. There is even a knock-down fight. Plus the obligatory shock end.

For me, the best character was Harry: a real nerd !

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