An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy PatinkinAn Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin is a very cleverly layered show, presenting many different and fascinating aspects of a relationship. It was remarkable to watch these two Broadway legends in the one show. The Old Friends complimented each other in their versatility and vitality. And even though there was no time spent chatting, it was like they were finishing each other’s musical sentences. The only problem I had with the show was being torn between whom to watch!
Opening the show with Another Hundred People highlighted the challenge of making a personal connection in the fast paced and impersonal "city of strangers".

Most musical theatre afficionados will know the stories of South Pacific and Carousel and revel in the exuberance with which they performed the turning points of each relationship. Watching LuPone’s jittery Nellie Forbush and later Billy Bigelow’s (Patinkin) bravado be usurped by the honesty of Julie Jordan was a joy to watch.

There were many highlights in the program of this unforgettable evening. Through observation of his wife in domestic business, Patinkin’s beautiful sotte vocce performance of Somewhere That’s Green led tenderly into LuPone’s awareness of this adoration in In Buddy’s Eyes.

In the midst of the couple’s journey, each actor took centre stage and pulled out all stops with astonishing results. LuPone revisited two of her greatest theatrical creations from Evita and Gypsy. The raw intensity in Don’t Cry For Me Argentina was both breathtaking and heartbreaking. Later she sang Everything’s Coming Up Roses with euphoric gusto. Mandy Patinkin’s two virtuostic performances were not as obvious choices. His amazing physical prowess was perfect for The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues from Follies. His stylish vaudevillian flair and manic energy was captivating. And Franklin Sheppard Inc. showcased Patinkin’s ability to delve into characters that can unsettle and get under your skin with their raw anger and unbridled passion.

Though often understated, Anne Reinking’s choreography was perfect. These performers are such strong physical actors the whole piece felt like a dance through two lives connecting. From strongly emotive poses and longing reaches and caresses to the most amusing and impressive desk chair dancing in April In Fairbanks, we were swept away under their spell.

The lighting design by Eric Cornwell did much to compliment the moods created and included the use of multiple bare stage bulbs, reminding us that this is a collection of many stories from theatres past.

Much of the material demanded strong accompaniment and Musical Director Paul Ford’s masterful support on the piano never wavered. Though our eyes never diverted from the magnetic duo onstage, it was hard not to be impressed with the sounds coming from stage right. Australian Andrew Shaw provided excellent support playing double bass.

After the moving You’ll Never Walk Alone, it was joyous to hear the actors have so much fun with the Cole Porter standard You’re Just In Love.

And closing the show with the speedy Coffee In A Cardboard Cup reminded us that we should not be so taken in by "everything is hurry up" mentality of modern society with instant fixes and disposable wrappings.

Solo encores were sung acapella and without amplification. It was an unmissable chance to hear the beauty in both the richly trained voices fill Hamer Hall with little effort. And the personal and touching finales brought the audience to their feet for a third time in the evening.


An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

MELBOURNE
Venue: Hamer Hall, the Arts Centre
Date: Tuesday July 21
Time: 8pm
Price: Premium $150, A Reserve $125, B Reserve $99.90
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136166 or www.ticketmaster.com.au

SYDNEY
Venue: State Theatre
Date: Friday July 24
Time: 8pm
Price: Premium $150, A Reserve $125, B Reserve $99.90
Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100 or www.ticketmaster.com.au

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