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.

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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!

Reflection on 2014

I’m not gonna lie, 2014 was a tough year.  I pushed myself to the absolute limit work and study-wise which meant I was left with little to no “me time.”   In all the craziness and stress, I turned to comfort food and made exercise less of a priority.  I gained some weight which has left me feeling pretty crappy about myself.  I don’t know how much exactly because I don’t weigh myself due to it being too easy for me to become obsessed with the numbers.  I am just going by photos and how my clothes look and feel.  As a girl who has always had body image issues, gaining what is probably around five kilos has left me feeling really down.  I know that to some people, I may seem ridiculous complaining about such a relatively small weight gain but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how much you weigh or what size you are, if you feel uncomfortable in your own skin you’re going to feel unhappy.  I’m not saying that loosing weight guarantees happiness but I know that when I’m physically fit and fuelling myself with the right food it boosts my mood and energy levels.

Just like I have almost every new year since hitting puberty, one of my new year’s resolutions is to eat less junk and exercise more.  I don’t have a particular number of kilos I want to loose or a size I want to be.  I just want to feel fit and strong and like how I look in photos again.  I am putting some great new habits into place to make my resolutions easier to stick to including: preparing a Menu Plan and grocery shopping for the week a head every Sunday; trying new clean eating recipes each week to prevent boredom; scheduling workouts; and going back to regular dance classes (a form of exercise that I actually LOVE, which is a big deal for a not-so-sporty-girl.)  For the sake of my mental health (and getting through the final year of my uni degree) I am also planning to adjust my work schedule.  I know I am lucky to have the luxury to do that, but it is one of the positives of working for yourself (thankfully there are SOME, haha).  I am also going to continue practising meditation, Reiki and healthy self-talk because happiness and mindfulness helps me feel and look better.

It is so easy to mentally beat myself up for gaining weight and view 2014 as a failure but I need to remind myself that I was busy and I achieved A LOT.  So for the sake of uplifting my spirits (NOT bragging) here is a list of all the GOOD STUFF that happened for me in 2014 (and if you’re feeling shitty about 2014, I suggest you make a list of the positive things that happened to you too):

  • I received one of the best birthday presents ever, my beautiful baby cat Sweeney who has brought me so much joy #crazycatlady
  • My singing teaching business has continued to grow.  My lovely students have passed voice exams; performed in talent competitions; received music scholarships; had lead roles in plays; overcome stage fright; performed in 2 singing school concerts (with costumes!) and gained confidence and I am a part of all of that.
  • I’ve strengthened my relationships with my husband, family and friends.  Thank you to the people who are always there for me and make me laugh hysterically.  You know who you are.
  • I had my first featured role on a TV show (although it was unfortunately a non-speaking one.)  I got to be on TV previews and even a Facebook meme for the show which was pretty cool. #15minutesoffame
  • I had my first auditions for a feature film and for a voice over role.  Unfortunately I wasn’t cast in either role but in the entertainment industry one has to celebrate the baby steps.
  • I was one of the Victorian finalists for the role of Snow White in the Snow White Oz pantomime/musical.
  • I read A LOT of great books and listened to even more audiobooks.
  • I passed 5 units part-time at uni while working two jobs, running a household, maintaining a social life and blogging occasionally.  Still waiting on my medal, haha!
  • I found time for all my favourite trashy TV shows which brought me so many laughs and much needed down time: Dance Moms, Jerseylicious, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Bethenny, Giuliana and Bill, Real Housewives of Melbourne and, most importantly, The Bachelor Australia. #Prorities #dirtystreetpie
  • I somehow found time to squeeze in an amateur musical, ‘Avenue Q.’ 
  • I did my Reiki 1 course and started meditating more regularly.
  • I went to some AWESOME blogger events and beauty expos. 
  • I survived a 3 day Pressed Juices cleanse and gave-up coffee.  A big deal for a previous 3+ cups a day girl.
  • I had a blog post shared by The Glow, Mama Mia and retweeted by some of their editors.
  • I gave-up acrylic nails for good! 
  • I invested in (and actually figured out how to use) some great make-up brushes and I actually think I am much better at doing my make-up now.
  • Made my YouTube related beauty debut on Melissa Bubbles’ YouTube Channel and she actually invited me back two more times! Thanks Mel!
  • I finally figured out how to French braid my own hair. #Nevertoolate

So, if you made it through the list without getting bored or deciding I’m a self-obssessed idiot (I swear I’m not), as you can see it was a pretty fruitful year and I need to stop giving myself such a hard time.  As I said, If you’re regretting how you spent 2014 please try writing your own list of positives, things probably weren’t as bad as you thought 🙂

I am determined to make 2015 a big year of positive changes and in my next post I’ll talk in more detail about the strategies I am putting in my place to make achieving them easier.  I am also going to write about my progress once a month on this blog to keep myself accountable.

Thanks for reading my rant and I hope it has left you feeling positive.  Would love to know about your reflections on 2014 and your goals for 2015.  Please comment below!

Till next time,

Ms This n That Blog xx