Spoilt for choice: Theatrical performances, streaming and festivals

Sep 03, 2022
This blogger takes a dive into this month's entertainment avenues. Source: Getty

I’m spoilt for choice this month, movies, family musicals on stage and live theatre, as well as the usual streaming and free-to-air choices.

I finally replaced my old plasma TV (a hand-me-down from one of my sons), with a glamorous 4K OLED TV set and a matching soundbar, so everything I watch at home is looking and sounding amazing. I celebrated the installation by watching the 2005, Joe Wright directed, Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley playing Elizabeth Bennett (one of my favourites), so I was easily able to spot the details that differentiate my new viewing arrangement. Happy Days!

This month though, my picks are about live theatre and two movies.

Moulin Rouge

If you Can, Can, Can, then you should, should, should NOT miss the live stage production of Moulin Rouge.

Baz Luhrmann’s movie comes to life on stage with a musical mash-up of hits. The promo reads: “Enter a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur and glory! A world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment” – and it’s a great description.

This show is a visual feast with an incredible set and lighting design created by world leaders in their craft and the costumes and costume design are simply amazing. The music includes the soundtrack from the movie and new additions from Adele, Sia and Beyonce, 70 songs spanning over 160 years of music. Then there is the cast, practically perfect, and the choreography – brilliant. Moulin Rogue is a worldwide production currently on stage in a number of countries including Australia, at the Capital Theatre in Sydney, returning to Melbourne next year and also opening in Perth in 2023.

If you can get a ticket, you should.

Mary Poppins

A childhood favourite of mine, I recently saw this show accompanied by 5 grandchildren aged 6-10 years and a daughter-in-law to assist with kid wrangling. I first saw Mary Poppins on the big screen in the 60s, then a live performance in 2010 on Broadway and a few years later in Sydney. It’s currently on stage at the Lyric Sydney, but only until October so, “spit, spot “.

This production has a few changes, Winnifred Banks is not a suffragette, but is just as good as any I have seen.

I had been trying to entice the grandchildren into watching this show for a while, via streaming, but to no avail. However, since we got back from our theatre visit there have been a number of impromptu song and dance performances of A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The children were enthralled and engaged for the entire performance, with spontaneous applause during the show, and some, “oh my and wows, Nana did you see that, and how are they doing that?” in response to some amazing theatrical magic during the show, including Mary Poppins flying and Bert dancing on the roof.

Stephanie Jones is divine as Mary and Jack Chambers’ Bert is as good as any I have seen. Keep an eye out for the amazing Nancye Hayes as the Birdwoman.

A wonderful experience to share and enjoy the magic through young eyes. Even if you can’t find a young person to go with you, go along and find yourself humming along and leave the theatre steeping in time!

Where the Crawdads Sing

Deila Owen’s book has found its way to the big screen through Lucy Alibar’s screenplay and Olivia Newman’s direction. I read the book and struggled with the first half but then needed to know and was hooked. The story is faithfully retold and the cinemaphotographer Polly Morgan has delivered some remarkable scenes of beauty.

Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kya, an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina, isolated from her community. It’s a mystery when one of the two young men Kya interacts with from the town is found dead and Kya is the suspect.

Daisy Edgar Jones plays Kya and delivers a subtle performance with both vulnerability and strength. Not everyone will love this movie but if you enjoyed the book it’s worth a look.

Top Gun Maverick

More cheese than the Bodalla factory, but some great exciting moments that allow you to feel the thrill of flying in a way that most people will never experience. You get the feeling that there was nothing spared in the making of this one.

For those of us who remember the original, it’s a chance to revisit some of the characters 30 years on as Maverick returns to training up a group for a dangerous mission, including Goose’s son who has the callsign Rooster. The relationship between Maverick and Rooster is complex but resolved.

It’s an action movie and will tick many boxes for most watchers.

Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet Live Theatre Festival is happening in September and October in Sydney, Essex, Illawarra, Hollywood and Dubai.

Billed as the “Biggest Little Play Festival in the World”, it also includes film in some places. S&S theatre is original new works, short 10-minute plays, so for the price of a single ticket, you can see lots of new works by international and local writers knowing that if you don’t love one, there will be another one in just 10 minutes!

Check out the website ShortandSweet.org for local details.



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