Category Archives: performing arts

interviewed | Rap Sensation Melvin Bailey

The comedy musical Love Me Tinder is coming to Auckland this week. Stephen Sinclair has directed and produced a hilarious perspective on the path of love in the age of Tinder. The show, who is for anyone with a smart phone and an open heart, was a sell-out at the Auckland Live’s International Cabaret Season last year.

Love me Tinder is the story of Zoe and Daren who meet on the ubiquitous dating site. They are compatible in so many ways, but Tinder’s on-going temptations then threatens to tear them apart. The show lets the audience witness the train wreck of a Tinder date going disastrously wrong.

The musical has been rewritten and developed for this year’s show. I chat to local rap sensation Melvin Bailey AKA Kloos, who has created suave and seductive lyrics for Love Me Tinder.

Melvin, who was just fifteen when he started rapping, explained how the script has been adjusted for the second season, and all of the music is now original. He said: “The show is about relationships and how the advancement of technology has affected the ways in which we communicate.”

Melvin is excited about acting alongside Jennifer Austin and Stephen Lunt, who play Zoe and Daren.

When asked how he got into rapping, Melvin said: “I love music and naturally Hip-Hop suited me, I wrote bits of poetry whilst studying at university and thought why not lay those verses down. It was my new year’s resolution for 2015 to make a mixtape, and once I did that, I simply carried on.”

I asked Marvin about his personal experiences with Tinder. He said: “We were encouraged to download the app last year for research purposes but I lasted less than five minutes. I’m more of a walk up to you and chat kind of guy.”

At last year’s Auckland Live International Cabaret Season, Melvin thought it was awesome to partake in the lively vibe in town. This year, he said he’s excited about “being part of the music once again, and having the opportunity to perform at the Comedy Club, which puts everyone at the heart of it all.”

After the show finishes, Melvin is hoping to get tickets to see Drake and celebrate all of the shows hard work. He will then focus on solo projects. He said: “My debut EP has been in the works for some time now, but the finish line is in sight.”

Melvin gets his inspiration form Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino and Lute. He said: “These guys are skilled and force me to go further with my lyrical content. Through their words, they alter my perspective and I’m left with a greater appreciation of life. I hope that one day I can do the same for someone else.”

Melvin’s advice for aspiring rappers is: “Create tracks that you enjoy and be honest in your output.” He gets his inspiration from life, “each day is a blessing, regardless of what happens.”

Love Me Tinder returns to bar Freida Margolis in New Lynn on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th October, then plays at The Classic Comedy Bar on Queen Street from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th November. Book your tickets here.

Been | The Vultures – Q Theatre

Nominated for Five Wellington Theatre Awards 2016 including Best New New Zealand Play  –  ‘The Vultures’  written and directed by Miria George tells a bitter tale of sibling rivalry and greed, set among an old world of land and privilege.

Performing to a near packed-out audience.  The intimate yet lofty setting of the Rangatira stage provided the ideal backdrop for this indigenous collaborative production by Tawata Productions

Set within the parameters of sacred land and an idyllic lake, the plays theme, together with the polished and engaging performances, highlighting the very distinct character traits within whanau, was simplistic yet highly effective.

Starring Nicola Kawana, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Ani-Piki Tuari & Erina Daniels; the actors are the heart of this production. Honest and kind Sister Nurse Hinemoa is a polar opposite to her successful yet ruthless and intimidating sister, magazine magnate – Atawhai.  Superbly cast alongside their imposing and calculating brother, the dubious businessman Petera, and not least, their more virtuous niece and nephew, the prodigious scientist Kiwi and her cousin, budding gymnast, Te Rāwhitiroa, who have long been estranged.

I was particularly impressed with the metaphoric use of costume throughout the production, the grand and regal cloak of feathers worn by Petera, which throughout his descent into uncompromising rapacity and his physical stature, came to resemble that of an actual vulture.

‘The Vultures’ success lies within it’s characters and the underlying message.  A powerful portrayal of family loyalty vs greed, and the insatiable lust for material wealth which ultimately becomes soul-destroying.

With a very limited few days left of viewing to go, be sure not to miss this superbly crafted piece of Maori theater.

 

Now Showing @ Q !

Wednesday 18 October – Saturday 21st October

been | Pleasuredome The Musical

Let’s get this mother*cker started….welcome to the Pleasuredome!

And what a welcome it was…

Tucked away in the West Auckland suburb of Avondale, the Pleasuredome sits amongst an industrial estate.  And as you walk through the doors of a former factory office, you’re greeted by member of Angel’s security who usher you into the ‘subway.’

For the next three hours, you’re transported back to a time when Prince topped the charts with Purple Rain, hooped earrings were all the rage, and Tom Selleck’s moustache was the epitome of male facial hair.  Welcome to 1980’s New York City.

The set is meticulously detailed with all the trappings of the big apple; there’s the diner serving typical American food, the newsstand, the street vendor selling I <3 NYC t.shirts and the casually parked yellow taxi.  You’ll even find members of the NYPD patrolling the neighbourhood.

The musical centre’s around Sappho, a coke snorting club owner, who is trying to stop the Pleasuredome, a club that not only is the life of the party, but also represents pride, acceptance and freedom, from being demolished. Throw in a cocaine dealer, a topless DJ, a homophobic father, a self-repressive gay and a newly-discovered lesbian and you’ve got yourself a feet-tapping musical.

The cast are brilliantly cast and their performances are worthy of a West End/Broadway show.  Lucy Lawless, who plays Sappho, has come a long way from playing Xena the Warrior Princess.  Her voice is delectable and her performance of Sweet Dreams puts her back in the limelight as one of NZ’s best performers.  Vince Harder, the former X-Factor contestant gives a strong performance, with every RnB number paying homage to the classics that they were.

This is truly an immersive experience; one which I did not want to leave. IF there is only one musical you see this year, make it the Pleasuredome!

Buy your tickets here.

been | Cole

How much charisma does it take to fill the Auckland Town Hall? If you’re Michael Griffiths, consider the building bursting.

The spirit of Cole Porter lives in Griffiths, who has been portraying Porter for 3 years in this show. From the moment Griffiths stepped onstage – complete with Porter-esque limp – the spell was cast for an hour of marvellous musical magic.

As with the best cabaret, all of the glamour and fun of the genre combined beautifully with hints of melancholy as Mr Porter regaled us with the highs and lows of his life and career; taking in Paris, New York, a marriage of convenience, love lost and found, and the riding accident that nearly ended his career. These moments, retold wittily and wistfully, but never self-pityingly, were touchingly revealing, and Porter’s greatest hits are cleverly woven into the narrative, musically illustrating the story.

Typically matinee audiences are subdued, but Griffiths in mischievous style alternately teased, cajoled and affectionately bullied the assembly until we were transformed into his own private singalong chorus. A gorgeous setting – complete with glittering curtains at the doors, romantic lighting, roses on the tables, and a particularly well-deployed mirrorball– completed the spell.

Like the most pleasing of parties, the hour flew by in the blink of an eye. I didn’t want it to end. Five stars.

Grab tickets HERE.

been | Velvet + The Sound of Falling Stars

Where do I begin with such a superbly theatrical and musically packed evening ….. ? One which took me from the bright hedonistic lights of the disco era – a’la Studio 54, to the beautiful yet melancholy crooning of musical heroes now past …

The Rangatira balcony of the Q-Theatre stage provided the perfect spot to appreciate an evening of fabulously retro sounds and an array of gymnastic talent as witnessed through the night’s show and winner of the Adelaide Advertiser Best of Fringe 2016 and the Bank of South Australia’s Pick of the Fringe 2016 – ‘Velvet’.

I loved the raised DJ Booth and the cool and perfectly suited attitude of it’s resident DJ, Joe Accaria, who took the audience through a ‘Boogie Wonderland’.

The drumming and percussion skills of the mix-master, as well as the acrobatic display of a very toned and skilled Mirko Kockenberger was impressive and boosted me out of my otherwise sombre mood, and that was only within the first ten minutes!

With the presence of renowned Australian music legend, Marcia Hines, a true disco diva owned the stage, with amazing soul and star power from an equally talented ensemble consisting of; rising Australian star Tom Oliver, aerialist Emma Goh, a gorgeous display of muscles (Stephen Williams) soul sisters Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour, and not to forget my personal highlight, the delightfully flamboyant hula master Craig Reid.

Velvet was a perfectly polished disco extravaganza of powerful nightclub ballads, a journey of a who’s who of 1970’s dance hedonism featuring; Gloria Gaynor, “If you could read my mind”,  a group effort of the classic It’s Raining Men’ – to an unexpected acoustic act of an altogether different pace, with Tom Oliver in fantastic stage dress and a ukulele version of ‘Stayin Alive’.

‘Last Dance’ was the perfect score to conclude this wonderful show of glitter and glamour.  An energetic and marvellous fusion of dance, disco and gymnastics, ‘Velvet’ is a wonderful parade of Cabaret.

After such an entertaining display I was not 100% certain that my enjoyment could be surpassed. But the next show proved me wrong and on a major scale too …

‘The Sound of Falling Stars’,  performed within the tête-à-tête of the Auckland Town Hall, was hands-down one of the most unexpected and awe-inspiring performances of the season and had me mesmerized throughout the entire evening.

The unassuming musical genius of Cameron Goodall (Sydney Theatre Company’s Lion King) personifies a plethora of musical legends gone before us.  Taking the audience on a musical journey that transpired through the decades.

Marking the tone of the show with a very believable characterization of Elvis ‘The Pelvis’ – Cameron Goodall and creative director Robyn Archer put together a show that was incredibly smart, well-researched and narrated in a manner so unique.

Cameron had outstanding support from George on accordion and from keyboardist Enio Pozzebon, whose passion for real music was evident from the expression on their faces and faultless instrumentalism.

From the blue-grass/country of Hank Williams to the Neapolitan classic tune ‘O Solo Mio’, transitioning through to soul icons Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye; then to a complete juxtaposition of rock gods; Jim Morrison who noticeably influenced his formative Michael Hutchence, Kurt Cobain and even portraying the anarchic punk Sid Vicious.

So many more figures in musical history, that I cannot name all,  but with each one, he immerses himself with such honesty, depth and appreciation that was truly remarkable.

His rendition of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’ so cleverly intertwined with his equally musically talented son Jeff, was hauntingly beautiful.

Cameron Goodall provides the audience with accounts of each artist’s inevitable fate – all chronicled so informatively, whilst seductively sashaying between musical genre; country, soul, rock and even a crooning Frank Sinatra – his version of ‘I did it my way ‘summarizing a magical and truly moving performance that truly left me touched and spellbound.

A definite must-see this Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.  5 Stars *****

been | Starman

The anticipation was high, didn’t know what time it was and the lights were low … The roar from the crowd was rapturous and it set the evening mood.

The glamorous premise of a show dedicated to the original Starman needed an explosive start, and in this case, it did itself justice.  Opening the show with the charged and raucous ‘Rebel Rebel’, tempo was born!  Carried by the energetic flare of this Cabaret extraordinaire; Sven Ratzke emulated Bowie’s enigmatic persona, falling into his un-mistakable vocals and succinct articulation at random.

Intermingling with the eclectic audience and transporting us to another dimension – Starman (aka Sven Ratzke) took us on an intergalactic journey; through crazy anecdotes of some of life’s most pedestrian situations, told with delightfully comedic element, which was heightened by his Dutch/Germanic twang.

‘Ground Control’ was one of the most mesmerizing ballads of the night’s performance.  Its powerful delivery and tight composition, really demonstrated the skill of Sven’s talented group of musicians, and which without their support, would have diminished the show’s brilliance.

So stylistically was his costume incorporated into the show; the gradual removal piece-by-piece, done with remarkable  flare, really lending to the overall ambience of the night.

Closing with other such Bowie classics – ‘Heroes’ and my personal ’Life on Mars’; fittingly provided the audience with a musical destination, in the genre of the finest Cabaret.

From the dynamic entrance to the fantastically detailed boots,  Sven Ratzke’s proved that he is a true, Starman …

Powerful, magnetic and deliciously libertine – this electrifying show of this year’s Auckland Live Cabaret Season, is a proud dedication to the brilliant Bowie and his fans alike

4 Stars! ****

Catch Starman at the Auckland Town Hall until Sunday 17 September.  Buy your tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

interviewed | The fabulous Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky is gracing Auckland again this month for two evenings of karaoke cabaret nonsense, vocal pyrotechnics, and riotous fun. You may remember her from the British musical comedy cabaret double act – Frisky & Mannish – who performed at last year’s Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.

This time, the audience gets to choose the playlist during her performance! The show is all about classic music and why we love it so much. It will allow the audience to offer their random favourite songs, and express why they love certain tracks so much. Miss Frisky admitted: “It’s about getting to use me as a human jukebox and hear your favourites belted live, right in your face.”

When I asked her what she has lined up for the audience, she replied: “Really, it’s about what the audience have lined up for me! I genuinely do not know what I will be singing, it’s in the hands of the audience and I know we’ll all have a brilliant time together.”

After extensive research into interactive technologies, Miss Frisky and her team have decided that the audience will let them know their choice of songs by writing on a post-it note, and sticking it to their heads. Miss Frisky told me how incredibly efficient this method is, “and everyone looks suitably ridiculous, so I enjoy it,” she said. “I’ll then choose whichever songs I feel like singing. Bribes will be accepted.”

Along with the show, she’s super excited to be back in Auckland to visit Ponsonby’s food market, boutiques and brunch spots. She loves Karangahape Road’s vintage shops and the Wharf’s killer oysters and seafood. She also spoke very highly of Waiheke’s vineyards but will be looking for new adventures this year. She said: “All the best days out I’ve had, were suggested by Auckland locals, so write it on a post-it and stick it to your head, please.”

She is one of the biggest voices in cabaret and has performed all over the world, but she still gets nervous. She said: “What’s extra-nerve-racking about the show I’m doing here, is that I am totally in the audience’s hands. We will be making something unique every night, so comfort won’t really be coming into it! But the nerves are the thing that give you superpowers – I cannot wait to see what happens.”

Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky

Miss Frisky performs in Miss Frisky’s Karaoke Experience from Friday the 15th to Saturday the 16th of September at 8pm in Basement Theatre. Buy your tickets here.

After Auckland, Miss Frisky will fly back to London for a short time, before heading to Berlin to host a nightly dinner cabaret show, drink gluhwein and eat currywurst until March 2018.

She said: “I won’t be able to do more karaoke for a little while, so it’s going to be very very special doing these shows.”