Tag: David Hobson

REVIEW: Victorian Opera Presents REMEMBRANCE

How do you choose to remember?

By Deborah Langley

It’s a cold night in Melbourne and I must admit I’m feeling quite nostalgic. It’s been a hard week for me, the week I said goodbye to my grandmother, of funerals and sadness, of tears and regret. So it was with a heavy heart that I went along to the Victorian Opera’s Remembrance at the Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall.

Victorian Opera 2015 - Remembrance © Charlie Kinross

On this the centenary year of the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli, I was ready to remember: to shed a tear for the wasted youth and reminisce of times gone by, of what could have been and what we have lost.

With stories, songs and images we were given an historical and musical account of Australia’s involvement in World War 1. From the time of enlistment in 1914, with diggers leaving us and training in Egypt, through to landing in Gallipoli, the Somme and the Western Front and finally the homecoming of some of our luckier diggers. Remembrance gives a respectful reimagining, complete with authentic wartime ditties, but unfortunately this ultimately did not feel a truly heartfelt tribute.

Written and directed by award-winning Australian author Rodney Hall, and composed and conducted by acclaimed artistic director Richard Mills, Remembrance stars one of Australia’s best-known operatic tenors David Hobson, along with eight of Victorian Opera’s talented young artists.

Elizabeth Lewis is a standout in the ensemble, embodying characters both vocally and physically, while Michael Petruccelli and Nathan Lay give equally memorable performances as diggers throughout the war as the cast create a series of moving musical portraits against the backdrop of archival footage.

Accompanied by an impressive chamber orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and a large rousing community choir, Remembrance does offer a glimpse into what life might have been like during World War 1: something we should all continue to remember.

Victorian Opera’s Remembrance was performed at Hamer Hall on August 13 2015, before touring:

Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo
15 August 2015, 7:00pm

The Cube, Wodonga
31 August 2015, 10:30am & 7:30pm

West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul
3 September 2015, 8:00pm

Eastbank Centre, Shepparton
12 September 2015, 7:30pm


Review: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG opens in Melbourne

All the fun of being a kid again

By Kim Edwards

I went to Her Majesty’s last night with every intention of being a theatre critic. But there was the excited boy behind me who chattered until the lights went down, whereupon he sat in rapt silence. And the little girl across the aisle who asked in a horrified whisper, “Doesn’t that mean lady like children?!” And the preschooler in front who crawled into mum’s lap at a crucial moment and exclaimed, “Oh no!!” And the audience spontaneously clapping along throughout, and booing the villain, and applauding the over-excited dog who lost his way…

And my inner child kicked my shins and pulled my pigtails, and I succumbed to the joyful fun of a good family musical, and caught my breath in sheer child-like wonder at that spectacular magical moment closing Act One.


Written by the creator of James Bond, scored by the musical talents behind Mary Poppins, and starring a who’s who of Melbourne celebrities and theatre stars, this production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where a magic car takes a little family on a wild ride into adventure, is full of action, colour, verbal wit and slapstick comedy, and delightful music. My first compliments go to the deliciously dynamic men’s chorus whose spinning dance in Toot Sweets, infectious energy in Ol’ Bamboo, and hilarious elderly antics in Roses of Success won my heart completely. Rachael Beck does a charming job as love interest Truly Scrumptious, Tyler Coppin was wonderfully creepy as the Child-Catcher, and Alan Brough as the Baron and Jennifer Vuletic as ‘that mean lady’ the Baroness were superb comic chemistry.

It was the scene-stealing clowning of the Vulgarian spies played by Todd Goddard and George Kapiniaris however, who most pleased grownups with ribald humour and the kids with their buffoonery.

David Hobson as lead Caractacus Potts does an admirable job, and it is my nostalgic affection for Dick Van Dyke that made this genteel, velvet-voiced portrayal harder to appreciate. It is a shame the theme of overcoming class boundaries therefore gets lost, however.

So the prolonged exposition in the opening scene is clunky, the romance a little flat and unconvincing, the English accents sometimes dubious, and the ‘defeat’ of the bad guys in the finale clumsy – but who cares? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is thoroughly entertaining and the perfect introduction to the marvels of musical theatre – your kids are simply going to LOVE it.

Playing until March 17 at Her Majesty’s Theatre – book at Ticketek or call 1300 795 012