Bill Bailey – Earl of Whimsy

Bill Baily Actor Comedian

I love searching for theatre performances out-of-town.  Just the ticket!  British actor, writer, musician, comedian Bill Bailey will bring his inimitable style to Queensland in the historic Empire Theatre in Toowoomba.

A thriving rural town with fine old buildings, a genteel air and beautiful gardens, Toowoomba is situated on the top edge of the Great Dividing Range so the weather is more temperate than Brisbane.  And they have successfully resurrected the art deco splendours of the Empire Theatre.

Bill Baily Actor Show Empire Theatre

Bill Bailey has appeared in various TV series including ‘QI’ and ‘Have I Got News for You’ and his most memorable character was Manny in ‘Black Books’.  The following details are all about his newest stage show––

Black Books 05

“After his 2016 sell-out tour, ‘Larks in Transit’, the UK’s very own straggle-haired polymath, Bill Bailey, returns to Australia in 2018 with his new comedy and music extravaganza, ‘Earl of Whimsy’.

“Bill describes himself in his own words, an Earl of Whimsy.  Whatever his title, this might be Bill’s cleverest, daftest, most eccentric show yet.  Quote from The Guardian ‘Scales the peaks of sublime silliness…this is a foray into Bailey’s magpie mind…a delightful place to spend time.’

“While the world tumbles into a seemingly more chaotic place by the minute, find a moment of calm in the chaos with a trip round Bill’s mind, described recently as ‘A huge, lavishly decorated and nicely untidy place… its contents spill out with an infectious enthusiasm during this wonderful show’.  This I gotta see!

“The show has Bill’s trademark blend of satire and surrealism, stories and dismantled jokes, crowd singalongs, weird instruments and musical showstoppers.  But there’s a distinctly historical feel.  With its tales of Britain’s fortunes past and present, of ancient Viking battles, of Shakespeare’s contribution to comedy, and Bill’s own ancestry, this is both a mockery and a celebration of national identity.

“It’s also a journey of discovery.  We find out where Knock Knock jokes came from, how we got days of the week.  And why Nicky Minaj rejected a puffin sample for her latest single.  (That last sentence means nothing to me!)  There are lively audience discussions, a mass German singalong, and even some Cockney crab-dancing.  Something for everyone.”

For more information on Bill’s extravaganza on Monday 15 October 2018, 8pm and other shows at the Empire Theatre, click What’s On.

Vacy Hall Historic Boutique Hotel 03
Hmm, I think dinner and a show is likely and perhaps an overnight stay at historic boutique hotel Vacy Hall. Love that place!

Thank you to local blogger Fiona Ryan of Tiffin who has images of the Empire Theatre art deco delights on her website http://www.tiffinbitesized.com.au/2015/02/13/art-deco-delight-the-empire-theatre-toowoomba/

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Coincidence: Where Were You When?

The Princess Diarist Carrie Fisher

I was listening to the audio recording of “The Princess Diarist” by actress Carrie Fisher, read by Carrie Fisher, when she passed away. I was already freaked hearing her true tales from the first Star Wars movie so the news bulletin got to me.

Carrie Fisher delivers a robust narration of her early acting career and famous mother Debbie Reynolds, whose death followed her own within days. Admittedly Carrie’s use and abuse of a variety of substances had ruined her voice and it could not be likened to that of youthful Princess Leia, but her naïve discontent and vitriolic humour pepper the story.

A frank look at the early life of a young woman shaped by Hollywood and eventually defined by George Lucas and his sci-fi series.  The extraordinary 1977 Star Wars movie launched her fame, hair buns and an affair with Harrison Ford, making this book a slice of Tinseltown history with big appeal for fans of the first Star Wars production.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Star Wars Poster
May The Force

The Thirteenth Doctor

Doctor Who number thirteen is Jodie Whittaker.  After media speculation and BBC misdirection for several years, the first female Doctor has been revealed.  The newly appointed Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, has been quoted as saying:

Jodie Whittaker Dr Who
Doctor Who

“To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in this legendary role.”

Note:  The series “Doctor Who” is a British time-travelling science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963.

Quote:  Rolling Stone magazine Monday 17 July 2017 : Photo BBC

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Dr Who Daleks
Ice-Cream Lamingtons

 

Large Portions of Fast-Paced Comedy

Queensland Theatre Review “Noises Off” QPAC Playhouse Saturday 3 June 2017

Stage Door
Theatre

“Noises Off” theatre production is loud on laughs.

My first experience of Michael Frayn’s stage play “Noises Off” was in 1983 at Savoy Theatre, London, so I was keen to see how Queensland Theatre would handle a 21st century production in Brisbane.  Currently running at QPAC Playhouse, I was already attuned to the chaos about to transpire.

The Queensland Theatre cast cleverly mirror a blemished performance by a supposed theatre troupe in Weston-super-Mare.  This play within a play is an hilarious bedroom farce of abundant innuendo, silly mix-ups and a display of Libby Munro’s white underwear.  Simon Burke neatly portrays director and libertine Lloyd Dallas with a droll delivery, and Nicki Wendt and Hugh Parker evolve nicely as bemused husband and wife.  Cast flexibility is spectacular, especially athletic Ray Chong Nee who channels Roger Tramplemain, and Louise Siversen as spry housekeeper Mrs Clackett.

Strong language crops up but it appears that most dialogue, costumes and props are relatively unchanged, with crafty set design advancing the action behind-the-scenes.  Authentic director Sam Strong has handled “Noises Off” with finesse and his cast of nine prove that Brisbane audiences can absorb large portions of fast-paced comedy without losing the plot.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Noises Off Stage Set
Set Design