Event: Rock of Ages Review.

The last few musicals I’ve been to I haven’t enjoyed. West Side Story, Hairspray… My friends keep telling me I need to stop comparing them to Wicked! Fair call.

So I went into Rock of Ages last Tuesday night with trepidation. I was looking forward to the music and the ’80s campy quality, but I wasn’t expecting a storyline and character development of Gregory Maguire proportions.

And I was right. While the music and the one liners are great, Lonny (to be played by Russell Brand in next year’s big screen adaptation), the chubby, mullet-sporting narrator, admits ten minutes into the production that they should “probably introduce a storyline” to keep the audience invested.

This is where Drew aka Wolfgang von Colt (played by Justin Burford), aspiring rock star and busboy at Dupree’s Bourbon Room on the Sunset Strip (a nod to The Viper Room, perhaps?), and Sherrie, a small town girl looking to make it big as an actress in Hollywood, come in.

While Sherrie is the most vapid character I’ve seen in a musical for a long time ever, her representation is typical of women in the male-dominated rock music industry at the time: just a piece of ass.

This is all mega rock star Stacee Jaxx sees her as, and acts accordingly. Jaxx seems to embody guys like Bret Michaels from Poison, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and perhaps Jon Bon Jovi (but he just seems too nice!), as the quintessential egomaniac douchebag who forgets where he got his start (hello, Bourbon Room!). The role is a good one, and I can really see Tom Cruise excelling in it in the film version, however I thought Michael Falzon overplayed the role. If he’d just kicked in down a notch and acted like he took himself more seriously as the best front man to ever walk the earth, I think the character would have been more effective.

In fact, if the production itself employed this tactic, I would see nothing wrong with it.

But all in all, the costumes were fab, the majority of actors killed it, the set “broke down the fourth wall”, both literally and figuratively and, of course, the music was pure ’80s hair rock and power ballads.

It’s the best thing going in Melbourne at the moment and, since the last musical I saw at the Comedy Theatre, Avenue Q, for a while.

 

 

 

Image via Crikey.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week.

Sarah Wilson’s “A Better Life” column in this week’s Sunday Life deals with her “First World problems”, popularised by fellow former Cosmopolitan editor Mia Freedman on her MamaMia blog:

“There you are, having some First World, self-righteous, control-freakish throwdown—your latte arrives cold and made with non-decaffeinated beans, you have under-thigh burn because one of the kids left the heated car seat on high—and someone mentions their baby has cancer. Or that they’re bankrupt. It makes you pull your head in. And get perspective.”

I had some similar First World problems last Wednesday; I forgot take my hairbrush to work, so I had no way of taming my tresses before going to see Hairspray that night. I also got to work especially early to get some blogging-related work done, and the internet was down, so I wasted half an hour that could have been spent sleeping. Or jogging. Or retrieving said hairbrush.

And don’t you worry; I made damn sure everyone knew about “the worst day of my life”. (Actually, the worst day of my life was the day I moved to Sydney. Funnily enough, I can’t remember the best…)

This is not to mention the crisis that followed on Friday night when I fucked up the application of a faux-tattoo for a costume party (stay tuned for more on this next week). Luckily, I was able to commandeer the permanent marker-on-skin skills of my sister and her friend

But considering the apocalyptic events happening around the world—uprisings in Egypt and Libya; flood after cyclone after flood in Queensland and Victoria, and now Christchurch’s earthquake; WikiLeaks and the can of political relations worms that scandal opened—there’s really nothing for me—nor Wilson—to worry about.

You can read the full article here.

[Sarah Wilson] A Reality Check with Nick Vujicic (And a Lesson in Helping Others).

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Julian Assange: Modern Day Outlaw.

Events: The Bitch of Living—Spring Awakening Review.

Ever since Annie Wilson belted out “Mama Who Bore Me” on the first episode of the new 90210 (lame, I know), I had to know what Spring Awakening, the musical the song is from, was all about.

Well last week, some two and half years later, I went to see the “new musical” performed by The Young Australian Broadway Chorus and loved it.

The story is based around a bunch of 17-year-olds in 19th century Germany who are coming to terms with their sexuality and “the bitch of living”, which manifests itself in parental abuse, pregnancy, same-sex tendencies and suicide.

Now, two of the people I went to see it with are actors themselves, one of whom has seen the original on Broadway, with Glee’s Lea Michele naked and in the lead role (needless to say, this is a male friend and never fails to drop this anecdote into many a conversation!), so they weren’t so impressed with the mediocre acting. But, just like Fame or Hairspray, acting isn’t the cast’s primary vocation, and what they lacked in that respect, they more than made up for in the musical numbers.

All in all, well worth the somewhat-steep (for an amateur show) $50 and if you can get there before closing night (Saturday 5th February), I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] This is a Story About a Girl Named Britney… I Mean Lucky! Britney Spears Cabaret Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Disturbing Behaviour: Terry Richardson Does Glee.

Event: Dressing Up for West Side Story.

Last week, some friends and I finally went to see West Side Story at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, an event we’d been planning for a good six months.

As you can see, we really went all-out outfit-wise, with me breaking out my beloved vintage yellow dress for its debut wear.

While I’m not such a fan of the musical, it was a fun night out. Next musical? Hairspray, here we come! 

Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

A recent post on Girl with a Satchel (which was reblogged here) inspired me to assess my favourite fictional female characters.

One of my favourite books is To Kill a Mockingbird (if you’re a frequent reader of Early Bird, you’ll be no stranger to my love for Harper Lee’s novel), and protagonist Scout Finch is one of my favourite characters of the written word. Her innocence and naivety are super-endearing, and her past-tense narrating allows the reader to put themselves in her shoes easily.

Wicked is a niche musical and book that theatre buffs can’t get enough of, but the general public are a bit oblivious to because it hasn’t derived from/been made into a movie, like Melbourne’s current season of musicals, West Side Story, Mary Poppins and Hairspray, all of which are on my theatre-going agenda in the coming months.

I’ve seen the production three times in Melbourne, and many a friend has seen it in its various international incarnations on Broadway and the West End… oh, and Sydney! I was so touched by the story and its messages of friendship, good versus evil and judging a book by its cover, and even more so by Elphaba, better known as The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Unlike in the original story, Wicked’s Elphaba is fiercely loyal to her disabled sister Nessarose, and those who become close to her like Glinda, Doctor Dillamond and Fiyero, misunderstood because of the colour of her skin and the slander spread about her when she discovers the Wizard of Oz is a fraud and seeks revenge.

In the vein of fairytale musicals, Beauty & the Beast (which is being re-released in selected theatres in 3D from 2 September) is by far my favourite, and I love its heroine Belle so much, I have been known to fight with my friends and children alike over the fact that I AM BELLE! Hello, I have brown hair, like burly men, read a lot and have a penchant for yellow gowns! While there have been arguments circulating that the Disney princesses are beacons of anti-feminism, I maintain my stance that Belle doesn’t need a man to rescue her (in fact, she does the rescuing, helping the Beast when he is attacked by wolves, attempting to make the townspeople see the error of their ways in going after him, and ultimately, setting his heart free) and sees the Beast for who he truly is, not for what he looks like or what he can do for her. She’s a kick-ass beauty in the vein of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

I’ve blogged (or reblogged) a little bit lately about Elle Woods. She’s an everywoman. Rachel Hills identifies with her, as does Satchel Girl Erica Bartle. A law-studying friend of mine recently compared herself to Miss Woods, also. And I won’t lie; I’ve fantasised about wearing a Playboy bunny suit whilst purchasing an Apple Mac! Elle Woods proves that you can take pride in your appearance and have fun whilst pursuing your dreams and making a name for yourself separate from the name of the man in your life.

There are plenty of other made-up women who I have an affinity for, including the aforementioned Buffy Summers, and Daria Morgendorffer for their kick-ass feminist mentalities; ditto for the Charmed sisters; Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, who can be a psycho bitch at times, but she’s THE psycho bitch; Carrie Bradshaw, only for her clothes, apartment and loyalty to her friends; for similar reasons as Elle Woods, Cher Horowitz; Glee’s Sue Sylvester, whom the show is worth watching for her one liners about Will Shuester’s hair; and at the risk of angering feminists everywhere, Barbie.