Tag: Alice Tovey

MICF 2016: Seemingly Evil Productions Presents WILLY WANKA

Never a Dahl moment

By Narelle Wood

The title of both the production company, Seemingly Evil Productions, and the show, Willy Wanka, was incredibly enticing; it seemed like an easy comedy combination of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and spoof comedy.

Willy Wanka.jpg

The storyline of Willy Wanka follows closely that of the original. Poor boy wins tour of mystical chocolate factory with several other bratty children, meanwhile Wanka is being undermined by one of his employees, Slugsworth. The show only really deviates in the breviety of each scene and Wanka is a child-hating imbecile. For the most part the comedy comes from over-exaggerating the creepiness that was much more subtle in the original. The Oompa Loompas are an oppressed race, working in slave-like conditions and are easily dispensable, Charlie’s mother is void of personality, Charlie himself is largely ignored due to his poverty and the four grandparents have an unusual relationship having spent more than 20 years together in bed.

The show is well cast. Amongst the standouts are the overly-enthusaistic Charlie (Sam Garlepp), eerie Grandpa Joe (Lachie McKenzie) and Willy Wanka (Will Reinehr).  Several actors play multiple characters and these are exceptionally well done, especially those created by Clare Rankine and John Liacopoulos, who not only change between several characters super quickly, but also momentarily change costumes and accents as well. Vocal performances during the musical moments, such as those from Melissa Tracina and Alice Tovey, were also very strong and I would have been keen to hear more musical numbers throughout the show.

It was opening night so there were a few small glitches, however the flying Oompa Loompa received one of the biggest laughs of the night. But that’s not to say the planned comedy wasn’t funny because it mostly was. There were a few times that they went for shock-factor humour, which I’m personally not a fan of. The best bits were the scenes with the Oompa Loompas, the use of flashbacks and the reworking of some of the original songs. That said, I couldn’t help but think there was more that could have been made of all these scenes and the promising Wanka character, had the pace been a smidge snappier.

Willy Wanka is an entertaining parody of the original, but as its title indicates, is certainly not a reworking that would be suitable for children. It is definitely worth a look if you like irrevent humour and children’s stories that flirt with and sometimes succumb to the darker side of comedy.

Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton

Season: Until April 3rd, Tue-Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm

Tickets: Full $23 Conc $17

Bookings: www.willywanka.com.au or at the door

REVIEW: Alice Tovey in MALICE

Singing it how it is

By Myron My

Alice Tovey has a lot to say about many things. Mainly it’s about things that frustrate her and anger her. Things like racism, anti-vaccine supporters and organised religion. In her 2015 Melbourne Fringe cabaret show MaliceTovey sings her way through these contentious issues with wit, charm, and no care if she is going to offend you or not.

Alice Tovey in MALICE

While she performs a number of brilliant songs, the highlight of the evening would have to be her loving tribute to “Today” show host Karl Stefanovic, in which Tovey shares her suffering from Stefano-sickness. “Disciple of Satan” is also a great song that is infused with Tovey’s sharp wit and humour.

Accompanying Tovey on piano is composer Ned Dixon, who plays with great energy and is a solid musical support to Tovey’s voice. The two have co-written these original songs, and between them there is a huge amount of talent.

Between their songs, Tovey shares some anecdotal stories with us while also making pointed remarks about the society in which we live, such as her commentary upon being told by a man that the feminist goal of equality is like the RSPCA only caring about sheep… The stories are well-constructed and adroitly told, and along with Tovey’s easy humour, I could easily have sat there and listened to her recall these experiences for far longer.

However, it’s not all jokes and jibes in this 60-minute show, as shown when Tovey dedicates a song to a friend’s recent diagnosis with an eating disorder. It’s a touching moment that is sung from the heart and a reminder that we all need to be kinder to ourselves.

Great songs, clever lyrics and humourous and heart-felt stories are in abundance with Malice. Tovey’s naturally charming stage presence is a crowd-pleaser and rightfully so. Despite the seriousness or dryness of the topics Tovey takes on, you are guaranteed to walk out of Malice with a smile on your face.

Venue: Fringe Hub, The Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne, 3051

Season: Until 3 October | Tues-Sat 10.15pm, Sun 9.15pm

Tickets:$23 Full | $18 Conc | Cheap Tuesday

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival