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Titanic at the ANU Arts Centre, a review

By 14 April 2012 2

titanic set

Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and thanks to Supa Productions reviving the musical even a hyperlocal website can write about it.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the dress rehearsal. Dress rehearsals are a mixed blessing, depending on how the production went they can be a bit raw, one can’t be too critical, and there’s no buzz of the crowd.

On the other hand one can take pictures of the show. If you’re any sort of photographer that’s a very compelling argument between the sets, the light, and the very pretty people it’s a target rich environment with some fun challenges to work around. To the point Friday night’s dress rehearsal had a camera club in attendance.

So, Titanic.

Not the worst thing that occurred in the 20th century by a long shot. But it happened in a slow news year (by the standards of a century with two trans-global conflicts and 4 odd decades of bi-polar standoff), and many of the victims were from the best English and American families so newspapers of the day paid attention.

It also helps when the (then) biggest ship in the world, proclaimed unsinkable, goes down by the bows on its maiden voyage.

Throw in one of the biggest movies of all time in relatively recent currency and everyone’s paying attention.

But it does make for an odd musical.

Let’s face it most musicals these days are about other people working in theatre. Not massive kilodeath maritime catastrophes.

Therefore there is less dancing than one would normally expect in a musical.

And a lot more parts for old men than are customary.

While the music is excellent throughout it’s somewhat light on the killer tune.

But having gotten that out of the way the positives:

The cast is, old men aside, gorgeous and talented. (Old men are talented and appropriately rugged it should be noted).

The set is epic and works beautifully, the band is great, the singing superb.

I particularly liked what they did with the lighting. Check out the way they used shadows of the cast to multiply the sense of a crowd.

shadows

As you’d expect from a depiction of the tail end of the gilded age there’s some serious bling on display:

bling

The costumes are just stunning throughout.

Titanic is a tale about the birth of modernity as we currently understand it, and that’s been an awkward, occasionally murderous thing.

The first act sets the scene and frankly drags a bit.

But the real tale takes off after the ship interfaces with the iceberg, which engages the whole of the second act. So rest assured the story is going to take off.

Lacking the budget of James Cameron there are some slightly odd moments where the action has to be described by the characters rather than shown.

But the bottom line is that if you like musical theatre this is a very well put together show.

Mix it up with Teatro Vivaldi serving up the same menu as enjoyed by the passengers of the Titanic and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome date night.

You can book online, it’s on until 5 May at the ANU Arts Centre.

Here’s a slideshow of my better efforts from the evening.

titanic poster

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2 Responses to Titanic at the ANU Arts Centre, a review
#1
Rawhide Kid Part311:52 am, 14 Apr 12

I don’t know about you lot. And I might be out on a limb here what with all this Titanic fever over the anniversary date of its tragic sinking that caused the death of over one and a half thousand passengers and crew. It seems to me that a lot of people, companies etc are making a mint out of other peoples tragedies here.
Am I the only one feeling this?

#2
poetix12:45 pm, 14 Apr 12

I do have a difficult time with the idea of a musical about a disaster. Can’t see one called 9/11 in 100 years, but the Titanic is about nature hitting back at our arrogance, so perhaps it’s timely? It’s a bit like Oedipus too (there’s no escaping fate); but there the problematic item was Mum, and here it’s an iceberg. Both a bit of a dampener though.

Hint to those treating it as a romantic event; don’t opt for the third class menu. It may be nice food but it sounds pretty awful as a choice. Unless you’re into steerage.

Thanks for the photos; it looks like quite an ambitious production.

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