Go from Shakespeare to show tunes with our top five picks at QPAC
I see London, I see France, I see QPAC’s… awe-inspiring line-up of theatre, ballet and music (get your mind out of the gutter)! Known as one of the country’s leading centres for all things live, QPAC is a haven for both emerging locals and big-name international stars. As well as hosting a number of rad Brisbane Festival picks, QPAC’s September program is packed with loads of goodies from all around the world. Take some time out to immerse yourself in our top five selections at QPAC this month.
Snow White – September 2–11
This is one of those things you have to see to believe – although you may think it’s been done to death, Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White has come all the way from France to prove you wrong. Making its Australian debut as the latest instalment of the QPAC International Series, this contemporary retelling is dripping in opulence and driven by a team of true masters. Choreographer Angelin Preljocaj’s stunning ballet is set to the marvellous excess of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Johannes Fritzsch, with set design by the inimitable Thierry Leproust. Whilst this all-star roster stands alone, perhaps the biggest talking point of Snow White is the absolutely beautiful costume design. The inimitable Jean Paul Gaultier is responsible for the jaw-dropping garments that grace the stage, so you know it’s right.
Singin’ in the Rain – September 22 to October 9
This is a production that needs no introduction. Unless you had some kind of joyless childhood, odds are you’re familiar with a little movie called Singin’ in the Rain. For those who haven’t watched the much-loved silver screen classic a million times (like some of us), here’s the gist – it’s the story of the first Hollywood musical, when silent movies were on the way out and stars suddenly had to raise their voice to match up. The cast is made up of a huge host of talent including Grant Almirall, Rohan Browne, Gretel Scarlett, Jack Chambers and Erika Heynatz to name a few. This super-spirited bunch have more than risen to the challenge of taking on this toe-tapping classic, bringing to life one of cinema’s most recognisable trophies in slick style.
Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier – September 9–10
The year 1991 was exceptionally special – Terminator 2 came out, Bob Hawke was the prime minister and a powerful lady named Deborah Conway released her debut album String of Pearls. Since day one, Deborah has remained one of the true iconic songwriters of Australian history who is able to defy convention and stay honest, with her storytelling abilities often compared to that of Paul Kelly. Long-time collaborator and guitar shredder Willy Zygier will be joining her for the intimate concerts, bringing the music to life in a raw and emotional set. The duo are putting it into reverse, opening the night by performing their just-released ninth album Everybody’s Begging and following up with String of Pearls in its entirety. The hype surrounding this show was such that the fine folk at QPAC have snagged a second date for those who missed out, so get it while you can.
En Avant, Marche – September 3–7
Say hello to En Avante, Marche, a triple threat of a production that combines multiple styles of entertainment in one very charming package – kind of like a trifle, if a trifle was a play. This brilliant fusion of music, dance, theatre and opera – including a full-scale brass band – is a pure, life-affirming celebration of the power of music. With close to 40 performers on stage, internationally acclaimed director Alain Platel has collaborated with soul mate Frank Van Laecke to celebrate the marching band community. The story focuses on one of its members, a flamboyant trombonist coming to terms with his demotion to cymbal player. As a bonus, this international collaborative effort places our own Brisbane Excelsior Band, winner of eight Australian National Championship titles, at its overflowing heart. The awesome musical arrangements include marching band classics along with big names such as Verdi, Beethoven, Schubert, Richard Strauss, Elgar and Holst.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – September 9–17
Forget the lame, snooze-worthy Shakespearian adaptations you were forced to sit through in high school – A Midsummer Night’s Dream is coming to Brisbane in a lycra-clad premiere set to bring the belly laughs. Created by international powerhouses Lyric and Filter theatre, these guys have brought The Bard back to life in this riotous reimagination of the classic tale. Expect the finest in physical comedy interlaced with Shakespeare’s epic narrative of love lost and found – think Nerf guns, food fights and spontaneous bursts of song being used to tell the story of four young lovers getting totally messed with by woodland creatures.
Bonus mention: Green Jam – Every Friday night
Many have tried (and unfortunately failed) to encapsulate that perfect pre-weekend feeling, but QPAC has totally nailed it with Green Jam. Aptly set in the lush surrounds of the Melbourne Street Green, Friday night sees local artists come alive on the stage to bring audiences everything from folk to rock and even cheeky jazz. The best part? It’s totally free, which leaves more spending money for delicious Asian inspired Green Jam Eats. To check out what’s coming up on the green, view the line-up here.