Event, Melbourne

“My Fair Lady” in Melbourne

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It was through my love of Audrey Hepburn that I first discovered the classic American film My Fair Lady (1964) directed by George Cukor. I instantly adored it and have wanted to see the live musical version ever since.


Background

Based on the play by Bernard Shaw entitled Pygmalion and with the dream of Gabriel Pascal to turn it into a musical, lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe brought My Fair Lady the musical to life. Taking audiences on a grand melodic journey on Broadway in 1956 for a sensational 2,717 performance run, the lead female role of Eliza Doolittle went to the young and talented rising star, Julie Andrews, and the lead male role to seasoned theatrical actor, Rex Harrison, who won the Academy Award for his performance in the film version, with the Warner Bros film also taking out the Best Picture of the Year category in 1965. The Broadway version was followed by a hit London production (running for 5.5 years at the Theatre Royal) and the musical eventually reached Australian audiences by 1959, playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne to high acclaim.

Synopsis

The story is set in London in the year 1912. Eliza Doolittle, a common flower-girl from the lower classes meets phonetician Professor Henry Higgins outside Covent Garden one night. He makes a bet with fellow language expert, Colonel Pickering, that he can transform Eliza into a duchess at the embassy ball, teaching her to speak proper English and to behave like a lady who can then work as a shop assistant at a flower shop. Through their ups and downs, the audience is able to witness her transformation and gain insight into British classes, gender politics and social values of the time, all within a light-hearted sense of comedy and playfulness.


Dame Julie Andrews directs this very special diamond jubilee production, which broke box-office records at the Sydney Opera House when it played there in 2016. Last month the beautiful production hit Melbourne’s Regent Theatre where it will continue until July 29th. Don’t miss your chance to see it!

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My Experience

First of all, the majestic Regent Theatre is a breathtaking place to hold such a special show. The organisers and everyone involved should be praised for their choice of venue and everything about this musical production. The interiors of the Regent Theatre are simply spectacular and I was pleasantly transported to the class of creativity seen in Barcelona earlier this year whilst on holidays there. The exquisite detailing, lavish furnishings and luxurious fittings leading up to and inside the main concert hall were elegant and set the mood nicely. Photography was allowed prior to the start of the show only. The lights went out and the live orchestra began the Overture, entertaining us with short renditions of all the main musical numbers we were about to hear play out on stage. The curtain opened and I immediately knew that we were in for a delightful night of heartfelt, glorious music accompanying the amazing performances from the cast and the hardworking crew backstage.

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In this wonderful 60th anniversary production it is also worth mentioning that as a world first, director Dame Julie Andrews teamed up with the associates and former staff of the original set designer Oliver Smith and costume designer Cecil Beaton to recreate the original look of the musical of 1956. Audiences are able to come face-to-face with designs from both these visionaries in the upper and lower foyers before the show and during the short interval.

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Piece by piece the audience were delighted by music that makes the heart sing. The vocal performances of the Melbourne cast were incredible. The role of Professor Higgins was played ever-so-brilliantly by Charles Edwards and Anna O’Byrne’s Eliza Doolittle almost brought me to tears because of my connection and love of Audrey Hepburn. There were revolving sets, wonderful lighting and sound effects, and even a surprise on stage that no one was expecting but was always intended for the original Broadway production.

My favourite part would definitely have to be the immaculate Ascot Racecourse scene where the curtain opens to reveal a cast of men and women all dressed in black and white attire at the famous London horse race. The attention to detail on the hats and gowns of the women and the charm of the men with their suits, still gives me such a thrill just thinking about it. They sing an opening number and then we are introduced to the beautifully transformed Eliza Doolittle, now a lady with confidence and poise, who converses with other race-goers about the weather and everyone’s health. Once the horse race starts though, her cockney upbringing comes to the foreground and audiences are laughing out loud uncontrollably as she cheers for her horse, Dover, to win the race. I love it!

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I enjoyed this production immensely and couldn’t stop smiling for the entire duration of the show! I would like to thank Dame Julie Andrews and everyone involved (notably Opera Australia and John Frost) for bringing this musical to life for younger generations like mine who only came to know it from the film version. Having one of your favourite musicals play out right in front of you is an unforgettable experience that I will always cherish.

My Fair Lady is a masterpiece.


Tickets are available through Ticketmaster but are selling fast.

Handmade, Life

ZenPop Stationery Review

There are so many things to love about Japan. Today I’d like to introduce you to ZenPop, a Japanese company that sends the coolest products from the heart of Osaka to anywhere in the world. While it sounds like a subscription-style service, it isn’t. You can purchase individual packs each month without knowing exactly what’s included (because it’s a surprise!) but ZenPop do showcase a few products on social media and hint about the contents on their website.

ZenPop Box

There are 6 packs to choose from and all prices are in US Dollars and include shipping:

  • Japanese Ramen + Sweets Mix ($24.50)
  • Japanese Sweets Pack ($19.50 – $29.50)
  • Japanese Ramen Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Stationery Pack ($29.50)
  • Japanese Beauty Pack ($29.50)

I bought the Japanese Stationery Pack for the month of April with a “Kawaii” or cute theme, which promised 12 or more items.

Open Box

The box in which the products arrived was so cute and featured the ZenPop bunny mascot jumping for joy! Inside the box the first thing seen was a little note which said “You got a lucky box with a pair of lucky socks” and of course a smile instantly came to my face.

What a sweet gesture!

Now let’s explore the actual products inside the Stationery Pack. The April kit included:

  • 1x Decorese Pen (1 of 10 pastel colours)
  • 1x Kuretake – Mangaka Pen (1 of 4 colours)
  • 1x Uni Jetstream Pen – Black ink
  • 1x Kuratake Brush Tip Highlighter (1 of 5 fluorescent colours)
  • Washi Tape (1 of 5 designs)
  • Sanrio Memo Pad (1 of 6 designs)
  • Rilakkuma Folder (1 of 4 designs)
  • Schedule Stickers (1 of 3 designs)
  • Nico Sticky Notes (1 of 4 designs)
  • Bento Flake Stickers
  • Tombow MONO 2 Way (1 of 5 colours)
  • Flip Out Message Cards

ZenPop StationeryPen Examples

The items included were all so cute and useful too. I’ll certainly be using the pages of the Sanrio notepad to write letters to penpals and the sushi stickers to decorate the envelopes! All the pens were great and wrote ever-so-beautifully on paper. The washi tape was certainly a highlight as was the gorgeous Rilakkuma folder. Can’t wait to also use the MONO correction tape on one side and eraser on the other!

Overall, I loved the ZenPop Stationery Pack. All the products were of very high quality and with a large variety of inclusions from stickers to sticky notes, paper, washi tape and pens. No two boxes are the same as there are endless colour and design combinations ZenPop sends you. It took just under 4 weeks to arrive to Australia from Japan but it was so worth the wait. For all the info on ZenPop’s other packs please visit their website here and try something new from Japan for yourself.

In Detail



Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this review are 100% honest. This box was purchased by me and I genuinely loved all the products and wanted to publish a review here.

Music

Jack Savoretti “Sleep No More” Review

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Not many artists in the music industry today can touch your soul through music the way Jack Savoretti can. His fifth studio album “Sleep No More” was released on October 28th 2016 and is charting at No.6 on the Official UK Albums chart. I’ve been a fan of Jack’s from the first moment I heard him sing in Munich in 2008 and it has been such a beautiful thing watching him evolve into the confident, charismatic singer-songwriter he is today, finally getting the recognition he deserves.

The first track on the album “When We Were Lovers” is the perfect opening track as this rhythmic ballad sets the mood for the music that follows. Jack expresses so much raw emotion in his voice and performs with such passion that it’s hard not to be completely spellbound by him, especially during his live shows with his incredible band.

“Deep Waters” performed acoustically sounds even better than the album version in my opinion and it would be amazing to have this version on a future record. If you close your eyes and listen to the beautiful guitar music accompanying a man with a husky voice like Jacks’s you’ll go to some amazing places in your mind. Pure bliss and a personal highlight for me!

The third track “I’m Yours” has been described by many fans as the perfect first dance song at their wedding and is so beautifully delivered by Jack, I can’t help but feel as if he wrote this song for his beautiful wife, Jemma Powell, describing their life together through poignant story telling.

With each track it’s easy to get a sense of who Jack is and where his music comes from, even if you’ve never heard his older songs before. “Helpless”, “Only You” and “Start Living in the Moment” are all bold songs with a driving drum beat you can’t help but tap your feet to. Jack’s brilliance really shines through in “We are Bound”, “Tight Rope” and “Sleep No More” as each track showcases his amazing vocal range and songwriting ability. “Troubled Souls” is a powerful track (one of my favourites) and has a catchy Eurovision vibe.

“Any Other Way” is an upbeat track which perfectly sums up how far Jack has come after almost 10 years in the music industry. It tells a beautiful story through its lyrics and is a track you can’t help but dance to. “Lullaby Loving” is such a beautiful way to end the album and has a slight resemblance to “Harder than Easy” with its melancholy and haunting vocals. Jack delivering the line “Don’t give up on our love (x3)…Don’t give up on us” is a highlight for me because it’s such a bittersweet moment knowing that this is the last song on the album and after he delivers these lines, it’s all over. When the silence hits after this track, I always feel an overwhelming sense of emotions. I’m so proud of how far he has come and so grateful that he didn’t give up making music in the face of adversity.

Jack’s fifth album is absolutely brilliant. After touring around his native UK this month, Jack will next head to other parts of Europe and the US next year. Fingers crossed for a return to Australia very soon as well.

Go out there and buy this amazing musician’s album and listen for yourself how music of today can be so meaningful in its lyrics, so poignant in its delivery and so beautiful in its musicality.

-Naira Tamanian

“Graceful Avenue” Founder