Tag Archives: musical

Mamma Mia! @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

Dust off those dungarees, folks – Mamma Mia! is back in town.

I have to admit, my views on Mamma Mia have softened over the years. Whilst I have always wholeheartedly adored ABBA’s music (and if you cannot bring yourself to recognise its genius, we need to have words), I used to find the musical too thin, too cheesy, too ridiculous to be worthy of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ gold-plated songbook. But then I got over myself, the world went to hell in a handcart, and I suddenly found myself loving Mamma Mia for exactly all the reasons that I side-eyed it in the first place.

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

The second that three divas descended from the ceiling belting out It’s Raining Men, I knew that Priscilla Queen of the Desert was going to be my kind of show.

Adapted from the 90s Aussie film starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terrence Stamp into a jukebox stage musical, Priscilla tells the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman’s journey across the Australian outback, and all the adventures (i.e. excuses for massive song-and-dance numbers) they encounter along the way.

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Wicked @ Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts review

wicked-hong-kong

It’s been a while since I got goosebumps in the theatre… So enter Jacqueline Hughes as Elphaba in Wicked to deliver a whole year’s worth of them in one night.

It’s over a decade since Wicked, the smash hit musical based on a novel reimagining the events of The Wizard of Oz, first debuted on Broadway – which of course, means it’s only now arriving in Hong Kong for the first time. It tells the story of how Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West became well, wicked and it’s probably not much of a spoiler to say she wasn’t really that wicked at all… just you know, misunderstood, except with green skin (actually created using MAC eyeshadow, fact fans).

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The Sound Of Music @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

the sound of music hong kong

The hills are alive…!

When it comes to the opening lyrics of musical numbers, I’m not sure there are any quite as stirring as those of The Sound Of Music. Come on, you’re singing it already aren’t you?

Landing in Hong Kong for a month-long run, Lunchbox Productions’ version of The Sound Of Music is a pretty faithful retelling of the Rodgers-Hammerstein stage musical turned Julie Andrews-starring movie classic. However, it’s worth remembering that this is a staging of the original theatre script (specifically Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s 2006 revival where the role of Maria was cast on a BBC TV reality show) and not the movie – although it has been rejigged to include two numbers written especially for the film, I Have Confidence and Something Good. In comparison to the nearly three-hour long film, the script’s pacing does feel a little uneven – dragging when it comes to the songs by Max and The Countess that were excised from the movie, rushed when it comes to the speedy second act where love, marriage, Nazis and the Von Trapps’ escape are all dealt with in swift and rather abrupt fashion.

the sound of music hong kong Carmen Pretorius

Nevertheless, Carmen Pretorius makes for a fantastic Maria; in the wrong hands, this character can easily become a saccharine-sweet goody-two-shoes but Pretorius brings a warmth, fun and sense of mischief to the part – and all with the most beautiful voice that rings through the Lyric Theatre as clear and perfect as the bells at Maria’s abbey. I was less convinced by Mark Rayment’s Captain Von Trapp – he felt a little bland and unyieldingly stiff to me and I didn’t detect much chemistry between the two leads either.

But the children, a rotating cast selected from local schools, more than make up for it. They’re uniformly excellent, executing the musical’s sharp choreography and layered harmonies flawlessly, and making complicated numbers like So Long Farewell, The Lonely Goatherd and show highlight Do-Re-Mi an absolute joy. I also enjoyed Hugh Osbourne as wily music impresario Max Detweiler; providing the show’s more humorous moments, he manages to convey the character’s spineless scheming nature whilst remaining likeable too.

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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

showstopper the improvised musical hong kong

If you like laughing and you like musicals (in which case, hey, we should be friends!), then you need to go see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical stat.

Much like a round of Catchphrase, it’s pretty much say what you see regarding the show’s premise – a whole new musical improvised every night based on suggestions from the audience, encompassing everything from the setting, title and plot to musical theatre genres and song styles. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway meets one of those Andrew Lloyd Webber reality TV competitions and you’re almost there… except even funnier.

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Starlight Express @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

starlight express hong kong

Sick of pedestrian productions ruling the roost in Hong Kong? Well, how about a musical where the entire 30-strong cast spends the whole duration of the show on roller skates?

Yes, Starlight Express has sped its way into the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts – and if you’ve never seen Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most innovative musical before, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

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Dirty Dancing @ Hong Kong Cultural Centre review

dirty dancing hong kong

Despite being dragged along to see Chicago, Grease and even High School Musical Live with me, my boyfriend point blank refused to come watch Dirty Dancing. ‘I just don’t think it will be very good,’ he said… and it pains me to say that he might just be right.

Does Dirty Dancing really require any introduction? The film, telling the coming-of-age romance between Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman and dance teacher Johnny Castle, is nothing short of a cult – and now, with its stage adaptation flying high after a successful run in the West End, the cult has come to the Hong Kong’s Cultural Centre.

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