Tag: Marcia Hines

Review: Shrek

A warm and lovely treat

By Bradley Storer

Based on the beloved film with a score by modern Broadway legend Jeanine Tesori, Shrek opened last night at Her Majesty’s Theatre to rousing response and standing ovation. Despite some minor technical issues and a slightly overpowering sound balance from the band pit, it is easy to see why this production has been charming audiences around Australia.

As the titular character, Ben Mingay offers a refreshingly truthful performance that helps to ground the cartoonish surroundings in emotional reality. Tapping into the loneliness and awkwardness that lies beneath the character’s abrasiveness, Mingay showcases a beautiful vulnerability alongside his gargantuan voice and stage presence. Nat Jobe has a harder time as Donkey, dealing with a role whose humour doesn’t translate as well from screen to stage but manages with good-natured cheek and bombastic energy.

In contrast to her earlier work as high energy fairytale ‘princess’-esque characters, Lucy Durack plays the stereotype-shattering Princess Fiona in a slightly more laid back and chilled manner than one would expect. This characterization can leave one wanting more in certain moments but pays off handsomely in her comic and romantic chemistry with Mingay, and she still sells her big Act Two opening – ‘Morning Person’ – with charm and cheer.

Todd McKenney as the walking visual gag Lord Farquaad steals every scene he is in, proving the very definition of a ‘star’ by milking what is essentially a one joke character to maximum effect. The ensemble are an absolute joy, shifting through various roles throughout but truly providing the heart and soul of the show as a ragtag bunch of displaced fairytale characters – watching them let loose during the ridiculous and empowering ‘Freak Flag’ is quite possibly the best moment of the entire performance. (Special mention to Denise Devlin, stepping in for Marcia Hines on opening night in the role of the Dragon, and unleashing some truly astonishing vocals during the finale)

A warm and lovely treat for children and parents alike, it would be hard to leave this show without a smile on your face!

Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, 219 Exhibition St, Melbourne

Dates: February 19th – April 12th

Times: 7:30pm Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, 6pm Sunday, 1pm Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday, 2pm Saturday

Bookings: ticketek.com.au

Photography by Brian Geach


Sparkling and sexy disco cabaret

By Bradley Storer

Even before the show began, the atmosphere at the opening night of Velvet was electric. Upon entering, the audience was immediately drawn into the hedonistic disco era through the beats being spun out by music director Joe Accaria on the deck above the stage. The opening image was stark and sudden – centre-stage, a young innocent-seeming man (Brendan Maclean), ukulele in hand and unsure of himself, drawn into the seductive world of a Studio 54-esque dance party filled with bright lights and sequins, the quintessential ‘Boogie Wonderland’, bringing us along with him like Alice down the rabbit hole.


Velvet is not a traditional narrative theatre piece, but rather a variety-show combining music, song, fabulous costumes and incredible acts of acrobatics and aerial feats, held together by the Dionysian atmosphere of classic disco and the incredible charisma of the performers. After the opening Mirko Kockenberger launched us into the spirit of evening with an wonderful character act that combined acrobatics and strip-tease, channelling a sexy and cheeky energy that provoked the audience into a near frenzy.

Fellow acrobats Emma Goh and Stephen Williams would each have their own moments to shine across the rest of the evening, with amazing aerial acts that combined both of their talents, a highlight being their S&M-themed ballet in the air. Performer Craig Reid was quite possibly the biggest scene-stealer of the night: as a short chubby man dressed in sequined lycra, he was not the traditional image of burlesque glamour. But he wowed the audiences with such stunning hula-hoop skills and an impish and utterly joyful magnetism that you couldn’t help but watch him every second.

From the moment Marcia Hines, as the disco ‘fairy godmother’ of the evening, steps onstage she completely commands the audience. She takes centre stage and tears through numbers like ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before’ and ‘It’s Raining Men’ with such authority that you want to bow down before her. Hines is backed up by two wonderful singers, Chaska Halliday and Rechelle Mansour, who dance up a storm and send chills up your spine with their vocals in their own songs.

Maclean as the young man whose journey and transformation loosely ties the show together is completely charming, with a wonderful and emotive voice that truly comes into its own during the show’s more emotional moments. His blossoming into a fabulous disco creature of the night allows him to unleash his own wild stage presence that burns just as bright as that of Hines.

A daring attempt to fuse elements of cabaret, circus and burlesque, Velvet is a massive success, creating a spectacular world that thrills at every moment and is infused with such glamour, sex and excitement that you just want to visit it again and again!

Venue: The Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank

Dates: 23rd March – 17th April

Bookings: Ticketmaster.com.au

Image by Daniel Linnet