Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Old Time Music Hall inspires audience singing in Comic Songs
There was only one little white lie between all the olde world charm of this show. And what was the lie? It was not all women. It was a wonderful group of versatile and talented actors of both sexes. And they mixed it up beautifully. Talented writer Colin Mockett has taken those famous sing-along tunes and added a dash of romance and cheeky laughs. And the complementary talent makes them shine. It was not apparent they had lost some of their "stars" to Broadway recently, according to Chairman Rossiter Pearce. New talent was found and you shouldn't miss them stepping out.
Andrew Hardiman and MC Ross Pearce. All Photos by Tricia Ziemer
Oh dear, I caught another little white lie. Colin said this is the second Old Time Music Hall he has written. Luckily, it is his sixth. So the audience has yet another treat to enjoy and join in with. Yes, this show is about audience participation. I was surrounded by people from their teens up to seniors all singing along, booing, hissing, and clapping to add to the comic ambience. If you ever wondered where karaoke came from, I have just discovered where.
In one act, two lovely sisters married the same drunken sailor and built a bicycle built for three. Intrigued? You should be - it was delightful. A must see. These poor sisters, played by Evelyn Devitt (from Mooroolbark Theatre, St Peter Julian Eymard Revue Group, and SPJE Choir) and Ann O'Connor (from Radio ARKadia, the LARK sisters, CinderFELLA as well as being a Director in her own right) have set their sights on the same fella. They were gorgeous. Why would he do a runner?
Evelyn Devitt and Ann O'Connor have lost their sailor
Fiona Carter, previously of "Calendar Girls", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Busybody", and "Sitting Pretty", struck the right cord with her old world charm and portrayal of Miss Lilly Dale singing "Tis the Last Rose of Summer" and "Home Sweet Home".
Poor Sonia Settee, played by Sonia Agjee (am I seeing a naming theme), was left at the altar with a very sad note, stating, "His wife wouldn't let him get married". And she was all dolled up and ready to tread the threads. Fifteen years of musical theatre experience shown as brightly as her wedding gown and flowers on stage. I wonder who caught the bouquet? Make sure you get the chance by sitting in the front row.
All the tunes were accompanied by an extremely talented pianist, Brooklyn Cullen as Miss Brooklyn Keyborne. Lilydale Heights was a learning ground for part of her 8 years of training. It is a treat for us that she was able to fit in another show around her jazz and concert band commitments. Her solo," Saint Saen's Swan", was stunning and faultless rendition.
Now personally, I love my cat. Except when I am trying to type up my articles on the computer and she decides she needs to get affection by laying all over the keyboard. I have to save files far more regularly just in case she hits delete. However, this is not the case for hottie tottie Madam Harlie Quinn, played by Ann Quinn. Sublimely wonderful lights, makeup and a magnificent costume add glowing touches to her poignancy as she laments how she had to have a cat. Why? Because "Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-wow." She has obviously been scarred for life. Yes, time for everyone to hiss. Luckily it hasn't stopped her musical career which includes "Steptoe & Son", "Last of the Summer Wine", and "Calendar Girls".
I am very surprised that Julia Cunningham was able to actually get off the sticky stage after her hilarious rendition of the song, "When Father Papered the Parlour". Luckily her perfect creamy white costume will not clash with any styles of wallpaper. Even though she is usually behind the scenes writing or directing, when she struts on stage, she is a whirlwind of talent. Just watch out for flying paste out of the bucket. I have never given up carrying "baby wipes" since I had babies - they came in handy once again.
Who has thrown more past Julie Cunningham or her father
When the nightingale sings, it now has competition, Miss Lorna Rens. This light soprano trilled through, "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls". She lifted us all to new heights in the sky with this lovely song. This was not her swan song with prior experience in "Allo Allo" and "Broadshorts". She has again delighted the ARK Theatre audience.
Lorna Rens was waltzed on stage by Andrew Hardiman Twinkle Toes
Debut of new twinkle toes talent, Andrew Hardiman, did not disappoint. His gentlemanly style and grace showed throughout his premier stage moves. I hope to see more of him throughout the theatre world.
Then there is the stark intruder, Alan Ashby, who the women begged to join them. This little white lie is mine. You have to go see the show to get to the comic truth. But the fact that he is a "Very Shy Guy, Mary Ellen" is not evident in his stage presence. His performance is all out there acting art.
Finally, I would be remiss by not featuring a major contributor of comic quip and showmanship, Chairman Rossiter Pearce, played by Ross Pearce. Do I have room for all his qualifications? Probably not. With over 30 years experience in non-professional theatre as an actor and director with over 9 companies, trust me, he steers the course for you throughout the show. And then sings as well with a resounding, "When I was a lad, from HMS Pinafore". The whole crew singly support him through his growth to Admiral of all he sees or even all the seas.
This is all beautifully directed by Fiona Carter, who uses all the arts of stage, lighting, costume, and makeup to create a lovely show and nails to perfection this old world sing along.