REVIEW: David M. Hawkins presents ‘Cabaret’ (Melbourne season).

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The beautiful cast of ‘Cabaret’. Image: supplied.

Iconic Musical Heats Up The Athenaeum. 

I was invited to attend a preview production of the production of Cabaret currently playing in Melbourne. As a longtime fan of the musical, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Cabaret is set in Berlin in 1929 and tells the story of a young American writer named Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) who finds himself in the debaucherous night spot The Kit Kat Club. Bradshaw quickly becomes bewitched by one of the club’s headlining performers, the vivacious Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb). The pair end-up living together in a flat they rent from a conservative but caring landlord, Fräulein Schneider (Kate Fitzpatrick).

While Cabaret might sound like the typical boy-meets-girl story, it is anything but. The Nazi regime is beginning to take hold and the characters do not know if they are safe or who to trust. Particularly distressed is Fräulein Schneider’s love interest, fruit shop owner Herr Schultz, who happens to be Jewish.

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The story of Sally Bowles (Chelsea Gibb) and Clifford Brashaw (Jason Kos) is not a typical love story. Image: supplied. 

In Cabaret, the action constantly shifts between bittersweet realism in the dramatic scenes and bright musical numbers that are performed within The Kit Klub Club. These songs are so much more than catchy showtunes though, they are commentary about the characters’ lives and the political climate of the time. Leading these dynamic numbers is the Emcee (Paul Capsis) who also acts as a narrator for the show.

With a book by Joe Masteroff and a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret is so cleverly written that, if performed right, you will fall a little bit in love with every character. And as for the ‘villains’, you will love to hate them. Every performer in this production had me smitten.

From the moment Paul Capsis greeted the audience with the iconic song ‘Willkommen’, I knew the show was going to be great. Capsis brings bucketloads of charisma and energy to the role making him the perfect Emcee. He is one of those rare talents who can give one hundred percent to challenging songs and choreography while making it look effortless at the same time. If you are debating seeing Cabaret, I urge you to not let the opportunity to see Capsis in this role pass you by.

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Paul Capsis is an unforgettable Emcee. Image: supplied. 

Chelsea Gibb brings a unique level of vivacity to the role of Sally Bowles. Gibb’s performance of the title song is an absolute showstopper filled with raw emotion. Her chemistry with love interest Clifford Bradshaw (Jason Kos) is electric.

Kos brings an appropriate sense of innocence to the role of Clifford and successfully portrays the character’s transformation into a more jaded, weary man.

The supporting cast work well together and create an eccentric, unconventional family. Kelley Abbey’s intricate choreography is performed with style and ease. Ensemble vocals are flawless and powerful.

The Athenaeum theatre is a small space but the inventive scenic design is nothing short of genius. A raised platform acts as both The Kit Club’s stage and Fräulein Schneider’s apartments. Two doors on either side of the platform allow for actors’ entrances and exits as well as clever storage spaces for props and costumes. A few small tables and chairs surround the platform for cast members to act as an audience at the club. Between songs, the Emcee often sits at a table, watching the characters’ lives unravel.

Without giving too much away, this production of Cabaret is unique, innovative and expertly performed.

So what are you waiting for? Book now and come to the cabaret!

Cabaret is running until the 20th of May at the The Athenaeum theatre in Melbourne. Tickets are available through Ticketek

*I was invited to attend a preview performance of ‘Cabaret’ and tickets were supplied. This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

Book Chat: January – February 2015

[Image from Google]

[Image from Google]

Welcome to a new feature on my blog: ‘Book Chat!’

As my regular readers know I love to read books in my spare time and listen to e-books in the car.  The title is pretty much self explanatory but in my new monthly ‘Book Chat,’ I’ll be listing the books I enjoyed that month and giving a quick review.  I’m always looking for new books to enjoy and I would love your suggestions!

It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell (Unabridged Audiobook) 

  • Genre: Autobiography.
  • How I found out about it: an article that randomly appeared in my Facebook newsfeed (i.e modern day serendipity.)
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $30.99.
  • I would recommend it to: anyone who is, on or has ever been, on a weightloss/health-gain journey.
  • Quick Review: Successful thirty year old food blogger Andie Mitchell, who has lost 136 kilograms (300 pounds), shares the story of her life so far.  Mitchell eloquently shares how her life experiences shaped her complicated relationship with food and her self-image.  As regular readers know from my previous posts, I am currently trying to loose some weight that I gained last year.  As a self-confessed emotional eater who has been through my share of difficult times, this book spoke to me on a personal level and was very inspiring.
  • Rating: 5/5 stars.

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dreams by Paulo Coelho (Unabridged Audiobook) 

  • Genre: Fiction/Inspirational.
  • How I found out about it: An Oprah interview with Pharell on the Foxtel TLC channel, in which they discussed it.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $29.99.
  • I would recommend this to: People doubting the validity of their goals (and who doesn’t from time to time?)
  • Quick Review: Through a young boy’s quest to find his treasure, Pablo Coelho explores finding and following one’s dreams.  As a discussed in my very first post, I’m going through a quarter life crisis and needed a reminder that I have plenty of time to reach my goals.  This book did the job.
  • Rating: 3/5 stars

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (Abridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Autobiography.
  • How I found out about it: Another Oprah interview, this time with Jane Fonda of course.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $29.99
  • I woud recommend this to: EVERYONE.
  • Quick Review: As a twenty-something woman, I only knew Jane Fonda as an actress and a pre-Facebook fitspo. This book educated me about the many other sides to this fascinating woman: survivor of a difficult, complicated childhood; political activist; feminist; director; producer; mother; grandmother and new Christian.  If you already knew about some or all of these sides to Fonda, I’m sure the book will give you insight into why she made certain choices and a behind-the-scenes (no pun intended) look at her career and relationships.  My only criticism of the audiobook is that it’s abridged, I think I will need to read the full book in the future to check out any details I missed.  I have a new-found respect for this inspirational woman and the book left me wanting to watch all her films.
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (Unabridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Fiction
  • How I found out about it: Featured a Caitlin Moran quote in this post, researched who she is and found her books.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $32.99
  • I would recommend it to: I think every woman has something to learn from this book.
  • Quick Review:  I have read teenage fiction since I was about ten years old.  Since I feel that life is a big learning experience and adolescence never really ends, I still enjoy a good teen read every now and then.  This book contains explicit language, sex scenes and drug references, so it should probably be recommended to people fifteen years and older.  How to Build a Girl tells the story of Johanna Morrigan’s self-discovery during her teenage years as she turns herself into gothic bad girl Dolly Wild.  I loved this book because it perfectly captures how exciting, confusing and terrifying being a teenage girl is.  I could certainly relate to several of Johanna’s cringeworthy moments, as I’m sure many other readers would.  I really hope that this book is developed into a film.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What books did you read last month? Any recommendations for me?  Or, have you read any of these books?

Comment below to keep the Book Chat going!

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Keep in touch!

Salon Melbourne 2015: Recap and Haul

Glamour on the Main Stage.As I mentioned in my last post, Salon Melbourne is the most renowned hair and beauty expo in Victoria.  An annual event since 2010, Salon Melbourne is a must on the calendars of many beauty industry professionals and students.

I was very fortunate to attend Salon Melbourne on Sunday 1st March as a Media Representative and I was absolutely blown away by the sheer volume of amazing deals, exciting new retailers and amazing talent on display.

Crowds flocked to grab a bargain at Scotty's Make-up & Beauty.

Crowds flocked to grab a bargain at Scotty’s Make-up & Beauty.

Salon Melbourne is any shopper’s dream, almost every store offered discounts for buying multiple products and everything was at trade prices.  If beauty is your business, stocking-up at Salon Melbourne could result in massive savings.

Party bags for grown-ups at the Orly stand.

Party bags for grown-ups at the Orly stand.

Many exhibitors offered the chance to try before you buy, which I think is very important.  It was also nice to see beauty professionals who usually pamper others every day, treating themselves to a manicure or a mini makeover at some stalls (as pictured below.)

Manicures at the BioSculpture stand.

Manicures at the BioSculpture stand.

Makeovers at the Young Blood cosmetics stand.

Makeovers at the Young Blood cosmetics stand.

Throughout the day there were demonstrations and style shows on the Main and Launchpad stages.  Both areas were set-up beautifully and the audience seating areas were stylish, yet comfortable.  I watched in awe as beauty professionals showcased their creative and intricate work.

Educational demonstrations at the Launchpad Stage.

Educational demonstrations at the Launchpad Stage.

Andrea Taylor from Mediterranean Tan and Gina Liano.

Andrea Taylor from Mediterranean Tan and Gina Liano on the Main Stage.

As a shameless reality TV fan, one of the Main Stage highlights for me was an appearance by Gina Liano, star of The Real Housewives of Melbourne.  Liano spoke as part of the ‘Nothing Less Than Glamorous – Learn How to Build a Glamorous Life’ session, hosted by Andrea Taylor (CEO of Mediterranean Tan.)  When she’s not sharing her social life on Real Housewives of Melbourne, Liano works as a barrister and she is not afraid to bring a little glamour into the courtroom.

“You’ve been a girl longer than you’ve been anything else so never lose your femininity,” Liano said.

Liano also explained the importance of beauty professionals protecting themselves legally and warning your clients of any risks associated with treatments.

“If you hold up yourself as a professional, make sure you are,” Liano advised.

Myself with Gina Liano after her presentation.

Myself with Gina Liano after her presentation.

I didn’t plan to purchase much at Salon Melbourne, but with all the special offers available, I just couldn’t help myself!  I splurged a little on make-up, nail polishes and beauty tools.  Many of these products are difficult to find in stores, so having all brands in the one place was very convenient.

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Limecrime lipsticks: Countessa Flourescent, D’Lilac and Great Pink Planet.

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RCMA No Colour Translucent powder and Ben Nye Concealer Wheel from Scotty’s Make-up & Beauty.

Brush cleaning glove and make-up sponges from Girlee Cosmetics.

Brush cleaning glove and make-up sponges from Girlee Cosmetics.

Orly Base and Top-Coat Nail Polish.

Orly Topcoat and Basecoat Nail Polish.

Free samples that were handed out at various stores: Snob Girls Hair Multivitamin, two sachets of Embryolisse Laboratories Hydrating Cream and Poni Cosmetics clear lipgloss.

Free samples that were handed out at various stalls: Snob Girls Hair Multivitamin, two sachets of Embryolisse Laboratories Hydrating Cream and Poni Cosmetics clear lipgloss.

In conclusion, I had a wonderful time at Salon Melbourne and I would definitely love to attend again in 2016.  If you’re in the beauty industry and you’re interested in attending or exhibiting at the next Salon Melbourne visit http://www.salonmelbourne.com.au, for more information.