The Morning Melodies concerts at the Art Centre are not events that I have ever attended, but the idea of Tivoli - The Next Generation appealed. I was hoping for some historical insight into the Tivoli Theatre, or perhaps an appearance by The Tivoli Lovelies, a tap-dancing ensemble of original Tivoli dancers.
What was presented was a mediocre variety show compered by Simon Russell. The variety show element was about as close as it got to anything reminiscent of the old Tivoli Theatre in Bourke Street. The affair was a bit lacklustre, maybe because it was a one-off show and probably put together with minimal rehearsal and it was a Monday afternoon rather than a Saturday night.
Performances by students of NICA, the national circus school and The Dance Factory made up a significant part of the hour. The concert hall stage is a great experience for any performer-in-training and these appearances will undoubtedly help these young artists’ developments. Opening with George Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm,” the six-strong tap ensemble (choreography by Dulcie Lee) was a bit nervous, but warmed up in a second appearance at the end of the show. NICA offered an entertaining upbeat large group routine with acro-balancing and BMX bike skills as well as two magic/illusion acts featuring Sebastian Rieaux.
On the professional front, Lawrence Mooney had two short (thank goodness!) stand up comedy slots. Joking about the bad driving skills of the elderly was perhaps not ideal for a blue-rinse audience with an average age of 70. Equally, his material on taxi drivers, drunks and hitting kids in supermarkets was naff and cliché.
The highlight of this slap-dash mixture of a show was Wacky Entertainment, a trio of musical comedians - Nic Yates, Colin Cameron and Luke Farrugia whose segments as the Windy Kilts Scottish band and Carmen Miranda look-alikes were quite amusing. Their act seems better suited to roving outdoor work, but at least they were genuinely funny and had a good sense of theatricality in their clowning.
Even though Tivoli - The Next Generation did not live up to expectation, as a concept, The Morning Melodies concerts are a fantastic option for people who want to take advantage of the Art Centre, but may not be able to travel at night or afford larger shows.
the Arts Centre presents
Morning Melodies: Tivoli - the next generation
Venue: Hamer Hall | the Arts Centre
When: 14 Apr 2008
Time: 11am & 1.30pm
Pricing: $18.50 / $15.50