Wolf Play, by Hansol Jung

A passionate and intricate story of family, love, loss, queerness and otherness

By Sebastian Purcell

Wolf (Yuchen Wang) is a 6 year old Korean boy put up for adoption on the internet after his white-American-adoptive father Peter (Charlie Cousins) and his wife have a new baby. Wolf is adopted by Robin (Jing-Xuan Chan), with her initially supportive brother Ryan (Kevin Hofbauer) present. Ash (Brooke Lee), Robin’s wife, laments that the adoption wasn’t a joint decision as she is about to go pro in her boxing career. Peter comes to regret giving Wolf up, holding traditional family values and views of fatherhood and homophobia. Peter fights for Wolf’s return through the messy court system that both parties attempted were trying to avoid.

Director Isabella Vadiveloo has created a vivid, emotional work that is both complex and at the core very simple–the love of a parent for a child. There are strong themes of the fear of otherness–Asian, queerness and loneliness–that shines through in real way on stage. Sam Diamond’s set and costume design is interesting–all blue for the set (kitchen, floor, walls, balloons, couch) with the white lines of a boxing ring framing the set; it’s striking in one sense but also cleverly fades into the background allowing the actors to pull focus at all times.

Every single performer puts in standout performances. There is a physicality to Lee’s boxing performance of Ash, enhanced by the creative team’s lighting and staging, which is terrific. The emotional connection and longing for a family that Chan and Cousins each display is palpable and Hofbauer’s masculinity comes to the forefront as the play progresses as he subtly yet commandingly switches from supporter to agitator. However, Wang’s control as quasi narrator, often puppeteer of 6 year old Wolf, offers at times some of the few moments of levity. Using inner monologue and breaking the fourth wall, he breaks through the heavy material and captivates the audience from start to finish. Wang’s commitment and execution of a howling wolf is also very impressive.

The entire production is tight. It’s almost two-hour run time is forgotten; I was drawn into the detail of the relationships on stage, and cleverly at times. through a great lighting technique, off stage too. The use of a puppet connected at times to Wang, and at other times connected to other characters, is a really interesting choice; it allows the audience to feel the size and vulnerability of the puppet child and the commanding and insightful performance of Wang too.

As the play reminds us, a wolf will adapt to its surroundings, so will those cast as others in society. This is a play that would easily fit right at home on some of Melbourne’s biggest stages.

Wolf Play is showing at Red Stitch Actors Theatre until 2 April with tickets available via Wolf Play 2023 — Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre

Photo supplied

Review: When the Rain Stops Falling

By Kiana Emmett

A whirlwind story transcending place and time about the inherent complexities of family relationships.

Presented by Iron Lung Theatre and Theatreworks, Andrew Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling tells the story of two conjoined families through four generations, grappling with the secrets and stories that inextricably bind their families together. The production uses climate change and weather as a descriptor and representation of the tensions the two families face.

Andrew Bovell’s writing is nuanced, dark and shows the full depth of flawed characters dripping with humanity. The intricate weaving of naturalistic and non-naturalistic writing is refreshing and brilliant.

Briony Dunn’s direction is exquisite. She brings so much out of her actors and the result is direct, detailed work. Her staging creates a knowingness among the audience, helping them to feel almost complicit in the actions of the characters, even when they are hearing about said actions for the first time. The venue seems like the perfect choice, with the more intimate setting Theatreworks provides aiding the production through making the audience feel more readily involved in what was happening.

The set design by Greg Clarke feels like the perfect blank canvas for this story to be etched upon. The minimalistic set with ‘Off-White’ coloured walls emphasises the stark intellectual wasteland the characters are navigating themselves through. The projections of Uluru are a smart choice in theory, as they gave the landmark the grandiosity that it evokes in the text, but in execution, I found them a little out of place.

As someone who hadn’t seen this show prior to this production, the writing was thoroughly intellectually stimulating and is one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I’ve witnessed on stage. This production treads the line of taking on deep and dark material and making it more palatable for an audience, whilst still challenging them mentally.

The ambience created in the theatre through constant music and/or white noise creates an unsettled atmosphere, and, while an unsettled audience is not always desirable, I felt this was a positive, helping to maintain interest and engagement through the dense and heavy two-hour-long show with no interval.

Performances were strong throughout, with the leader of the company Francis Greenslade being utterly captivating as Gabriel York and Law. Although the production steers heavily away from comedy, Greenslade creates light and shade in his performance, eliciting a few laughs amongst the serious and thought-provoking tone of the show. Another highlight was Esther van Doornum, who was strong as Young Elizabeth, with her pinpoint accuracy and delivery raising the stakes of the production immensely. The show is an incredible ensemble piece, with an equally incredible cast to execute it. Bovell’s writing is in safe hands.

When the Rain Stops Falling is an intellectually stimulating, at times overwhelmingly clever, production full of stellar performances, and is a must see.

When the Rain Stops Falling is running at Theatreworks through March 18.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.theatreworks.org.au/2023/when-the-rain-stops-falling

Photo by Joshn Wayn

Review: American Idiot

By Sebastian Purcell

American Idiot the Musical is a juke box musical by American punk rock band Green Day, which first appeared on Broadway in 2010. The show takes place some time after the events of 9/11, with three thirty-something-year-old mates Johnny (Mat Dwyer), Tunny (John Mondelo) and Will (Ronald MacKinnon) who go about seeking more from their mid-suburban lives. Will is left behind with his pregnant partner Heather (Harmony Thomas-Brown), Tunny joins the army, and Johnny (Will Huang) creates an alter ego St Jimmy as he navigates the big city using women – “whatshername” (Romy Mcilroy) – sex and drugs. The three friends reunite by shows end where it’s ambiguous as to whether any of the characters have experienced any real growth over the past year.  

First off, kudos to the band expertly led by musical director Tahra Gannon who brings Green Day’s music to life in spectacular fashion, with at times wall to wall sound. With such big sound, I found that sometimes the cast struggled to compete. In saying that, there were some outstanding performances, including from from Mcilroy (Whatshername) who soars above with such vocal control and emotion in arguably the emotional heart of the show 21 Guns and then again in Letterbomb. Thomas-Brown also shines vocally in her solos and Thomas Martin as Favourite Son showing his amazing acting and singing skills. Hunag as St Jimmy gives an energetic performance both vocally and physically and perhaps has the most dazzling costume of the night in a bright pink leopard suit.

Leads Dwyer, Mondelo and MacKinnon give spirited performances, and clearly share a great connection, immersing themselves into the performance. I found Dwyer most at home with guitar in hand for songs such as Wake me up when September ends and When it’s Time. The ensemble are high energy and you can see all are enjoying themselves, but I did wonder whether the smaller stage of Chapel off Chapel may have limited the choreography at times.

I can see what director Scott Bradley has tried to accomplish, and there are some standout moments. However, I found the source material lacked narrative, as well as light and shade, presents a real challenge where it relies heavily on the audience’s enjoyment of Green Day’s music, falling short of contemporary juke box musicals such as Jagged Little Pill.

On a couple production notes, Yvonne Jin and Felicity Dain’s set design is reminiscent of the last production in Melbourne and the tiered scaffold works well with the band housed inside.  Jason Bovaird’s lighting design is ambitious and, early run tech issues aside, adds to the punk-rock-concert-feel.

Fans of Green Day will enjoy the hit after hit that the show offers.

Tickets available Green Day’s American Idiot | Chapel Off Chapel from 9- 26 March. Please note that audiences should consider the course language, mature sex and drug references including self harm. The show is suitable for people aged 16 +. 

Photography by Nicole Cleary

Review: La Cenerentola (Cinderella)

By Sebastian Purcell

La Cenerentola was a wonderfully staged concert by Victorian Opera in the beautifully sounding and designed Elisabeth Murdoch Hall of the Melbourne Recital Centre. La Cenerentola (or Cinderella) was a really accessible opera for new and experienced opera goers alike.

From composer Gioachino Rossini and librettist Jacopo Ferretti the story of Cinderella takes a slightly different approach to the modern fairytale many would know. In this version, it is the Prince (Mert Sungu) that is in disguise as a valet, unbeknownst to the townsfolk, rather than Cinderella (Margarita Gritskova). The Prince sends his loyal companion Dandini (Stephen Marsh) to court Don Magnifico’s (Teddy Tahu Rhodes) daughters Clorinda (Rebecca Rashleigh) and Tsibe (Shakira Dugan) and bring them to the palace ball so he can then chose a wife. However, Cinderella, who is initially denied her request to attend by her stepfather (another change from our modern fairytale), is whisked away to the ball in a magnificent gown by a transformed beggar-come-tutor Alidoro (Michael Lampard).

While sung in Italian, there are English surtitles; I did feel these were not really necessary with such a familiar storyline, emotive score and performance from the cast. It’s a comedy and love story at the heart, with ample levity for an enjoyable night. The cast shine with their impeccable vocals, and the acoustics of the theatre makes listening the soaring tones of Margarita Gritskova such a joy.

On a production note, the costuming was detailed and vibrant. The lighting design (Peter Darby) is bright with the biggest change occurring during a storm scene where, between the orchestration and the lighting, I felt as though I was in the middle of the storm. The direction and staging (Elisabeth Hill-Cooper) was simple and clean but effective for the cast to deliver.

The Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra gave a flawless performance and were such a joy to listen to, tightly conducted by Richard Mills. You could see their enjoyment throughout and it was lovely to see them centre stage and lit for the entire production.

A highly enjoyable evening, showing why Melbourne is the cultural and theatre capital, where local and international talents combine to produce a vibrant operatic concert for all ages. 

For Victorian Opera’s 2023 Season visit https://www.victorianopera.com.au/season/2023

Photo courtesy of Victorian Opera

Review: Gundog

A gritty and absorbing story, brilliantly performed
By Owen James

Simon Longman‘s fierce drama ‘Gundog’ has made its Australian Premiere thanks to Three Fates Theatre, a small independent company rising from strength to strength with each production they present.

Gundog was first presented at the Royal Court Theatre in London, the home of unmatched modern English playwrights including Simon Stephens, Tim Crouch, and Martin McDonagh – and Longman’s dynamic script exudes the urgency and explosive dialogue we have come to expect from his contemporaries and the Royal Court. It’s a superb choice of text to present, capturing the audience in the puzzle of a non-linear timeline and drawing us into the fate of this turbulent family.

Director Alonso Pineda has masterfully captured the isolation and cynicism that bleeds from every page, crafting a heartbreaking interpretation of this raw, ‘timeless’ world. The unrelenting advance of time is the core theme, perhaps reiterated with too heavy a hand in the writing, but reflected in a visceral and considered approach in this staging.

Freya Allen‘s innovative set design aligns seamlessly with a lighting design from Harrie Hogan. Coupled together, these designs transform the bite-sized Loft stage into a farm, replete with sheep and rusty shears. Their work especially pays off marking each transition in time, footlights circling and set rearranging. Costume design by Zoe Hawkins is faultless, making great use of farm-like stains and intricate detail.

This ensemble of five are perfectly cast, together forming a believable dysfunctional family unit, and individually delivering balanced and nuanced performances. Thalía Dudek, a co-founder of Three Fates, holds this ensemble together as Becky, the optimistic younger sibling keeping their head high despite grave circumstance. Their transitions between ages are steeped in detail, and successfully convey a litany of thought in just a glance. One to watch.

Andy Johnston‘s physical, connected performance as Ben is emotional, and often chilling. Taking on the character with perhaps the biggest arc in the piece, his journey from confident to vulnerable, and all states inbetween, is very moving, and performed with considerable tenacity. Dion Mills is the audience favourite, a fireball of energy and gravitas. He has us in his hands with every word from grandfather Mick. Alexandros Pettas confidently carries the arc of foreigner Guy, and Laura McCluskey is touching as Anna, displaying firm determination to hold strong through loss and abandonment.

A gritty and absorbing story, brilliantly performed.


Titanic – The Musical – in Concert

A production that befits the scale of the Titanic itself

By Sebastian Purcell

Titanic – the Musical is an operatic recount of the events of the catastrophic maiden voyage of the proclaimed unsinkable ship the Titanic. The story follows a selection of guests from the first three classes and a handful of crew members as they recount their hopes, dreams and come to grip with their ultimate mortality for those1500 souls that perished.

The Australian production directed by Theresa Borg is staged as a lively concert, with minimal set and props. However, it does extend beyond just a simple concert with Katie Ditchburn’s choreography and Jason Bovard’s lighting design combining to add movement and colour, taking the audience from the boiler engine room of the ship and to the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Musical Director Stephen Gray leads a 26 strong orchestra, which is wonderfully tight.

The 23 strong ensemble is impeccable with their vocals. They soar with every note despite dialogue, which I found clunky, and songs which I don’t overly memorable. John O’Hara, as third officer Pitman and Henry Etches is marvellously flamboyant, gleeful and brings a welcome levity to an otherwise serious production. Likewise, I found Johanna Allen’s performance as Alice Bean a standout in her portrayal of a person looking to rise above her class; her acting a stand out in this production.

Juan Jackson as Thomas Andrews, the Titanic’s architect, is a powerful, sublime vocalist and serves dutifully as the narrator for the production. However, Anthony Warlow as Captain E.J Smith is the draw card for this production. I was surprised by how little stage time Warlow has in comparison to other roles, and I certainly felt like he was under-utilised given that every time he sang it was a complete masterclass in performance, completely unmatched by anyone. There is a very short aria To Be a Captain in Act Two, his only solo, and his rendition gave me goose bumps and left me wanting more.

On a technical level, I found the Melbourne Town hall not well suited for the sound needed for a work of this stature; the large room created echos in parts. There were also some other difficulties, such as the microphones not been switched on making it had to hear the cast over the orchestra, and some late spotlights struggling to find the performer on the balcony.

For fans of Warlow and Opera you won’t be disappointed, but this is not a musical version of The Titanic the blockbuster movie; My heart will go on does not feature as part of the score. It may have been stronger if it was more reminiscent of the movie.

Titanic-The musical in concert played at the Melbourne Town Hall

Image supplied

Review: The Phantom of the Opera 

The Phantom will be inside your mind long after the curtain falls.

By Sebastian Purcell

The Phantom of the Opera opened on London’s West End in October 1986 and has been re-staged many times over for the past 36 years. Opera Australia’s season of Phantom of the Opera is beautifully re-imagined through an exquisite and lively production. Director Laurence Connor has breathed fresh life into arguably one of the most successful and recognisable musicals in history.

For those unaware, the story is set In the late 1800’s. The cast of the Paris Opera House are rehearsing a new production of Hannibal when resident soprano prima donna Carlotta Giunicelli’s (Giuseppina Grech) aria is interrupted by a stage accident. Ballet dancer Christine Daaé (Amy Manford) takes over the role to great acclaim, but her unseen angel of music teacher the Phantom (Josh Piterman) is enraged when his physical deformity is revealed. Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (Blake Bowden) falls in love with Christine, promising to protect her from the Phantom. Christine must then choose between her love of performing and the love of her life.

As one expects from Opera Australia, the vocal performances of the 37 strong cast are flawless. Amy Manford’s performance as Christine is the best I have ever seen. Think of Me, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and The Phantom of the Opera are chillingly breathtaking. However, it’s her performance of Notes/Twisted Every Way that grounds the character as a frightened child, being used by the men in her life. Manford draws the audience to a standing ovation – and deservedly so. 

Josh Piterman’s Phantom is full of interesting choices. While vocally exquisite and smooth and his renditions of Music of the Night, All I Ask of You (reprise) and The Point of No Return are pitch perfect, he plays the role more gently, more humanly than other portrayals. However. I must say I missed at times the cruelty and anger of previous Phantoms which tie the inward ugliness of the character to his physical ugliness. The staging of this production at times also humanised the Phantom, placing him amongst the cast for the Act Two opener Masquerade/ Why so Silent? as opposed to above the cast, on a staircase, as per previous productions. For me, this reduced his stature and consequently less likely to be feared. Nonetheless, Piterman’s performance is worth the top billing. 

Blake Bowden’s performance as Raoul is also outstanding. His tone is silky throughout All I Ask of You and the trio of Bowden, Piterman and Manford soar in Wondering Child. Credit must go to the sound design team at the State Theatre as every note is clearly audible. The ensemble is tight, and well utilised throughout for scene changes adding impressive colour and movement. 

Paul Brown’s set design is the boldest I’ve seen and is as jaw dropping as the performances themselves. The well-known bridge to the Phantom’s lair is replaced with the most magnificent spiral staircase. The scenes are densely populated adding a rich character that fills the State theatre, ensuring you can’t mistake it for a concert. The chandelier, well its best left to experience rather than description, but in true Phantom form it comes screaming down from the ceiling. 

Finally, Phantom of the Opera’s music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is what audiences love. The 27-piece orchestra brings the wonderful score to life. Melbourne’s State Theatre is arguably the best place to hear it. It doesn’t get any better than this full orchestra taking flight as the chandelier rises and the overture kicks into full swing. 

Opera Australia’s The Phantom of the Opera is the boldest, most stunning production of the musical yet. This night of music was indeed incredibly special. 

The Phantom of the Opera is playing at the Melbourne Arts Centre from 3 November to 5 February. Tickets Arts Centre Melbourne

Photo credit: Daniel Boud

Review: Urinetown – the musical

You’re in Urinetown and it’s a wee bit of fun!

By Sebastian Purcell

Urinetown the Musical premiered on Broadway in 2001 with music by Mark Hollmann and lyrics by Hollman and Greg Kolis. Soundworks’ production is distinctly set in rural Australia, on the backdrop of a 20-year drought highlighting a way of life that may be more closer to reality if the effects of climate change continue on our current trajectory. Urinetown parodies a number of musicals and Soundworks’ has offered a contemporary take some of these parodies along with the musical format itself.

Due to the severe water shortages, Caldwell B Cladwell (Quin Kelly) has established Urine Good Company (UGC) to control water consumption. The towns’ officers Lockstock (Dom Hennequin) and Barell (Ashlee Noble) ensure the town-folk pay to pee under the harsh eye of Penelope Pennywise (Maddison Coleman). If the laws are broken, then offenders are sent to Urinetown, never to return.  The oppression leads to an uprising from former UGC employee Bobby Strong (Finn Alexander) with the support of Caldwell’s daughter Hope Cladwell (Amy McMillan), only for the town and its people to realise freedom might not be the savour they were hoping for.

This is an absolute laugh out loud performance. It is superbly directed by Mark Taylor, with the support of choreographers Sophie Loughran and Aadhya Wijegoonawardena. The production is lively, energetic and borderlines ridiculous but never crosses the line; and while the show doesn’t take itself seriously the cast and creative team absolutely do. The cast, as an ensemble excel, especially in dancing in unison, with a personal favourite the Act Two opener What is Urinetown? – a homage to Fiddler on the Roof.

This is a tight-knit cast, each shining and getting applause throughout, but there are some absolute scene stealers in this show. Finn Alexander as Bobby Strong demonstrates a polished vocal performance in a Sister Act inspired Run Freedom Run. Alexander leads the ensemble who transform into a garbage bag clad chorus while his defying gravity run, mop in hand (not broomstick), is terrific. Amy McMillan as Hope also soars  but my favourite is her acapella start to, I See a River. McMillan brings such depth to a role that could easily be a one-dimensionsupplementary character. Chloe Halley as Little Sally plays deadpan against the goofy and solid Hennequin. However, it is Ashlee Noble as Officer Barrell that steals the spotlight in every scene. She has the audience eating out of her palm. Not only is her comedic timing superb but she is an all-round performer bringing a physicality that’s unmatched.

The staging is minimal and effective, ensuring the large cast are able to fill the small stage available at Chapel off Chapel. The use of milk crates as major props from barricades (think Les Miserable) to love heart props within a corrugated iron outhouse puts you immediately in the Australian Outback. Aron Murray’s lighting design is vibrant and a clever use of toilet plungers as handheld lights is used to good effect.

The subject matter may be doused in toilet humour, but what better way is there to get audiences to consider important themes of sustainability and climate change and their impact on the world around them.

Urinetown the musical is playing at Chapel off Chapel from 28 October until 6 November 2022 with tickets via Urinetown | Chapel Off Chapel.

Photography by Benjamin Gregory (BG Group)

Review: Sirens

A brilliant queer story of self-discovery, self-worth and redemption that is raw, authentic and full of hope.

By Sebastian Purcell

Sirens is a solo performance, delving into the queer experience of love, lust and acceptance. Siren is expertly directed by Liv Satchell and superbly written and performed by Benjamin Nichols.

Twenty-two years old and rurally isolated, Eden, finds purpose when his voice is in full flight. However, bored, aimless and angry at his parents, Eden is consumed by the attention and sexual gratification from the endless string of older men that pass through on holiday. That is until he meets David and forms a connection and dreams of what life could be like. Until David abandons Eden and Eden is forced to come back to reality and find an inner strength, peace and joy once again in his music.

This is an exhilarating, fair dinkum Aussie tale. Nichol’s performance is visceral, rhythmic and his ability to project characters he brings to life—his mother, father and David as well as others—through just the inflection of his voice conjures ripe imagery.

But above all, and in a total surprise, Nichol performs two songs acapella throughout the show; I Want Someone Badly, Jeff Buckley and Into my Arms, Nick Cave.  These are stunning moments in the context of the show, but also show Nichol’s skill as a vocalist with such raw power, control, and emotion. These remakes are emphatically better than their originals. Selfishly, I wanted to have the whole show sung after hearing this.

The script has a mammoth word count that would rival any hour-long Aaron Sorkin TV episode, and impressively Nichol hardly draws a breath. As a minor critique, I did find the lack of silence refrained my ability to reflect and take in the full emotion; we were thrusted from one high octane scene to another, one after the other.

On the technical side, Connor Ross’s sound design is minimal yet important as a quiet supporting act, placing you on location, whether that’s the crash of waves along the beach, to the ear-splitting sirens inside Eden’s head. Harrie Hogan’s lighting design does the same, effortlessly supporting scene changes on an empty stage. I never once felt like I didn’t know where we physically were in the story.  It’s a shame that the Trades Hall Meeting room isn’t soundproof. and noisy, excited crowds outside could be heard towards the end of the show – not that it knocked Nichol off his game.

Siren certainly deserves to be seen in front of large crowds, with an Aussie story worth telling. Nichol’s acting proves that you only need an authentic commitment to storytelling for a truly impressive theatre show.

Siren played as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The 20s, and all that dissonance

By Leeor Adar

Ah, the 1920s. Some think Gatsby, but I’m inclined to think Weill.

A period that inspired many current-day flapper parties, but fundamentally tested an array of structures, very notably in music. It’s almost too good: Meow Meow and the MSO coming together again (remember Pandemonium?) to jostle a comfortable audience’s senses with tales of tragedy and temptation.

Meow Meow is joined onstage by the incredible Aura Go on piano and Christopher Moore conducting and on violin. They take us on a long (and I do mean, long) journey through the 1920s with Hindemith, Walton and Stravinsky. Amidst these pillars of discord, we are also treated to Picabia’s La Nourrice Américaine (The American Nurse), Schwitters’ Cigarren, and Weill, of course.

Meow Meow keeps things light to begin with, adding her own unique schtick that elicits chuckles from the audience. Once the back is suitably exposed, and we’re all smiling, she does a fine job of introducing the audience to the 1920s and what it meant politically, socially, and importantly, musically.  Parallels are made to our current end of days, and we nod understandingly.

The first pillar of discord of the evening is Paul Hindemith’s Kammermusik No. 2 for Piano and 12 solo instruments. Composed in 1924, the piece is structured across four movements, with the piano at the centre. Go is absolutely in element here, showcasing her versatility as a performer and every bit the virtuoso. Hindemith’s piece essentially takes chamber music and thrusts it into a storm, all the notes carrying off the ground and ascending to a place beyond the period and spouting it back out with vigour and contempt. It’s an uneasy ride, but it’s perfectly well suited to the commencement of the pieces this evening.

It’s time for more chuckles with Cigarren by Kurt Schwitters, an obscure piece of disassembled language that only a Dada could love. It curls and purrs out of Meow Meow’s mouth like it was written for her. Meow Meow also gives us a delicious rendition of Brecht/Weill’s classic, Pirate Jenny. The shrill cruelty of Pirate Jenny’s words sounds as it should in German, and it’s quite titillating despite only three audience members speaking a lick of the language (Meow Meow checked). It’s okay, we, the bourgeoise audience all universally understand the welling hatred of those who look down upon us.

It’s all cruelty, with another Brecht/Weill ballad, in The Ballad of the Drowned Girl, until we fall headlong into William Walton’s poetic universe in selections of Façade. The morbid state of the evening ascends briefly in Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. The tale is compellingly narrated by Meow Meow, and the devil in disguise is elegantly portrayed by Moore, who’s silhouette as he conducts and plays along, is a ghoulish projection upon the Melbourne Recital Centre’s curtains. And just as I too am about to abandon all hope, the lighting saturates a deep red, the drums crescendo, and the soldier makes his choice in the face of the beckoning devil.

Ah yes, the 1920s as we like to remember, where temptation wins.