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During the recent Sydney run of La Cage Cage aux Folles, the chemistry on stage between the two leads, Paul Capsis and Michael Cormick, was palpable and electric. This iconic stage musical is about two eccentric men (one more-so than the other) bringing up a child above a nightclub in St Tropez, where one of the parents, Albin, performs as a drag queen. I took these production photographs at the final dress rehearsal in late January at The Concourse Concert Hall. I couldn’t stop myself laughing – the jokes are still relevant, even decades after they were written.
I remember when I saw the Franco-Italian film version in my 20’s … it broke many taboos in such a fun and ground-breaking way. Initially it was created as a play by Jean Poiret and was performed by Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret. It was a huge success and hence made into a film (also starring Michel Serrault) in the French language, which broke into the international mainstream market and certainly took Australian audiences by surprise. Not only did we see a successful homosexual relationship front and centre on the big screen, but there was cross-dressing, drag and hilarious slapstick on display … a far cry from the tortured, artistic, foreign-language cult films we were used to seeing from France.
The David Hawkins production of La Cage Cage aux Folles was a joy to shoot. If you appreciate colour, movement and good humour, then this version is the ultimate production. I loved watching Paul and Michael play the roles of Albin (and ZaZa, the drag phenomenon) and his more conservative partner Georges (who was previously married and produced a son).
News Flash!!!!!! La Cage is getting another run this time at the State Theatre in Sydney from 19th – 23 April, 2023. Click here to book tickets:
It was a real pleasure to shoot the Sydney dress rehearsal of director Richard Carroll’s new production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Hayes Theatre.
The two leads, Emily Havea and Georgina Hopson, are fabulous in the roles of Dorothy and Lorelei and the rest of the cast are equally brilliant. When you are producing a theatrical shoot, it can be very difficult to appreciate the bigger picture of what is happening on stage. Your attention as photographer is focused on multiple things while you apply your craft, including technical considerations and stylistic decisions. However, in this case, it was impossible for me to ignore the magic of what was happening on stage, even though it was only the dress rehearsal.
If you see this post before the production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes finishes at the Hayes Theatre on March 18, 2023, make sure you book tickets to see this wonderful piece of musical theatre. Book here
Director:Richard Carroll | Featuring:Octavia Barron-Martin, Thomas Campbell, Ruby Clark, Adam Di Martino, Emily Havea, Georgina Hopson, Tomáš Kantor, Leah Lim, Tomas Parrish, Matthew Predny, Monica Sayers | Musical Director: Victoria Falconer | Band: Nathan Barraclough, Amanda Jenkins, Abi McCunn, Jarrad Payne | Choreographer: Sally Dashwood | Set Designer: Dan Potra | Costume Designer: Angela White | Lighting Designer: Benjamin Brockman | Associate Musical Director:Abi McCunn | Stage Manager: Bronte Schuftan | Assistant Stage Manager: Anastasia Mowen | Dialect Coach: Benjamin Purser | Intimacy Coordinator: Caroline Kaspar
On Friday night (December 9), I had the extreme pleasure of being entertained by Trevor Ashley’s production of Moulin Scrooge at the Seymour Centre in Sydney. Only a week prior, I was backstage photographing the performers during their preparations for the dress rehearsal of this new adult panto, which I also recorded.
When it’s possible, I like to capture informal shots in the dressing room, with the actors applying their makeup, prior to the main shoot. This helps to establish a good working atmosphere. Trevor said to me: “Come a bit earlier, if you like, because I know how you love to get a few shots backstage”. And it’s true, I do find these behind-the-scenes photographs and outtakes fascinating.
Now a week later, as an audience member, I thoroughly enjoyed the production, cleverly written by Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott. And performed beautifully by Trevor, his “high-kicking” supporting trio of Jakob Ambrose, Jarrod Moore and Stephen Madsen, and of course his magnificent co-star Carlotta (“the Queen of the Cross”). I also have to mention the fabulous costumes by Angela White.
Carlotta’s show-stopping performance of the Sondheim classic “I’m Still Here” (with a poignant libretto rewritten by Ashley and Scott), tracked her journey from a vilified Balmain schoolboy to national icon. Her rendition moved the audience to their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation. It is a testament to why Carlotta is considered one of Australia’s ground-breaking treasures and why Ashley so generously provided a new platform for one of his all-time “drag mothers”. Nearing her 80th birthday, Carlotta especially came out of retirement to perform as the club-owner of Moulin Scrooge.
“Moulin Scrooge” has opened at the Seymour Centre in Sydney to wild laughter and much merriment, both on-stage and off. I have had the pleasure of photographing the various stages of the production, including the poster and the dress rehearsal, which gave me a sneak preview of Trevor Ashley’s latest parody. This pre-Christmas spectacle features the iconic Carlotta, known as The Queen of Kings Cross, who shares the stage with Trevor, Jakob Ambrose, Stephen Madsen and Jarrod Moore. The mood is fiery and fierce.
Playing the role of club-owner Astrid Zeneca, Carlotta is a force to be reckoned with. As Australian entertainment royalty, Carlotta is an original cast member of the long-running Sydney-based male revue Les Girls cabaret show, which established an international following starting in 1962. Although best known as a cabaret performer, Carlotta appeared in the television series “Number 96” in 1974 as Miss Robyn Ross, in a storyline where she reveals that she is transgender. Her ground-breaking appearance in the show is the first time a transgender actress played a transgender TV character anywhere in the world. We need to applaud our true legends.
Meanwhile Trevor Ashley is known for his irreverent revues which include the likes of “The Bodybag”, “Little Orphan Trashley”, “Fat Swan” and “The Lyin’ Queen”, some of his long line-up of stage hits. Now, together with Phil Scott, Ashley has written a madcap adults-only panto as a satirical twist on a beloved Dickensian tale.
Here are a few images from the fast-paced show, with choreography by Rhys Bobridge, costumes by Angie White and lighting design by Sam Wylie. Book a ticket and treat yourself to a hilarious evening of stirring musical extravaganzas, purposely bad jokes, salacious dance numbers and lots, lots more.