Thursday, July 12, 2007

Malthouse Theatre: Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty devised by Michael Kantor (director), Paul Jackson (lighting designer), Maryanne Lynch and Anna Tregloan (set and costume designer). Scenario by Michael Kantor and Maryanne Lynch. Musical direction and sound design by Peter Farnan. Choreographed by Tony Bartuccio. Presented by Malthouse Theatre. At the Merlyn Theatre until July 28.

Teaser and spoiler alerts.

1. Teaser. This is the first chunk of a much longer review... it will be expanded upon after my Herald Sun review hits the streets. But there is stuff here, and there'll be more, that won't appear in the print review... Feeling lucky? (Yes, well...)

UPDATE (MONDAY JULY 16): The full Herald Sun review is now on-line.

2. Spoiler. After the jump, I've listed the songs performed in the show. If you are intending to see the show, I advise you not to read it. (It might -- or might not -- put you off!)

Personally? I blame the 1960s. That's when it all went to hell. The music world was turned on its head. Joplin recording songs by the Chantells and Kris Kristofferson. Hendrix playing Dylan. Hendrix playing Henry Mancini. Hendrix playing The Beatles. Hendrix playing the national anthem. Hendrix playing... well, you get the picture.

But it was way more widespread. Ancient waltzing hymns were turned into chart-topping gospel anthems. 'Oh Happy Day' was rebirthed in 1967 thanks to Edwin Hawkins, bless him, and the Edwin Hawkins Singers. And it's had countless resurrections since, even manifesting itself in an acoustic version of Nick Cave's song 'Deanna'. (Rescuing what is otherwise a ratshit song.)

Now look at the world? 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' has been turned into a bluesy ballad for solo piano and voice; tinpot crooners and TV weather presenters are all tacking -- I mean tackling -- songs by Mr Cave; Johnny Cash improved on Nine Inch Nails... See what I mean? Wot's the world coming to?

Sleeping Beauty cuts a bunch of songs out of time and pastes them, Mamma Mia like, into a kind of weird ransom note narrative. Weird, yes. Grand, no. But it also mixes and mashes the original fairy tale -- like sampled music -- with snatches of other stories. And it invites us to look at the shapes and infer a story. (I'm feeling compelled to mash my metaphors, too...)

The review continues here...

Act I

That's Entertainment (The Jam, 1980)
She (Charles Aznavour and Herbert Kretzmer, 1974)
A Little Ray of Sunshine (Brian Cadd and Don Mudie, Axiom, c 1970)
There She Goes (The La's, 1988)
Our House (Madness, 1982)
I Want You (Elvis Costello, 1986)
Life on Mars (David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971)
Go To Sleep (DMX featuring Eminem and Obie Trice, from Cradle 2 the Grave, 2003)
O Tod, O Tod, wie bitter bist du (Brahms' Four Serious Songs, 1896)
Dreamer (Roger Hodgson, Supertramp, 1974) (original version)
Deep in the Woods (Nick Cave and Mick Harvey, 1983)
Hush Little Baby (trad, lullaby)
What A Swell Party This Is (Cole Porter)

Mockingbird (Carly Simon and James Taylor version, 1974) medley with
Oops!... I did it Again (Max Martin and Rami, Britney Spears, 2000)

Cherry Bomb (The Runaways, 1976)
Starman (David Bowie, 1972)
(I'm) Stranded (Ed Kuepper and Chris Bailey, The Saints, 1976)
I Want You (reprise)

Act II

So Like Candy (Elvis Costello, 1991)
Deep in the Woods (Nick and Mick versus Freddy "Chopper" Chopin)
Beautiful Boy (John Lennon, Double Fantasy, 1990)
Rock and Roll Suicide (David Bowie, 1972)
Boys in Town (Divinyls, Monkey Grip, 1982)
Oh Happy Day (Edwin Hawkins, 1967)
Bitter Earth (Dinah Washington, c 1960)
That's Entertainment (reprise, more or less intact)
Death is not the end... (Nick Cave's version... shudder!)

Before you say, Chris, Mate, you're quick on the draw, I must point out that those smartypants folk at The Jamjar appear to have pulled their guns out eight hours before me!! The executive summary of their review reads (and I quote): "Yeh, nah."

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Blogger Nikki B said...

Although I can sympathise with your fear of the obvious music pimping going on here - I saw the production today and loved it!
No disrespect intended but "that's entertainment!"
It reminds us to step back and re-visit the originals... got my Bowie out now and loving it!

2:10 AM  
Blogger Chris Boyd said...

Good call Nikki! I dusted off my old Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory records! (I gotta say, Diamond Dogs has been on high rotation for the last several years... now that record has long legs!!)

7:41 AM  

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