Barbie and her show has arrived in Australia and we were lucky enough to be at the opening night with our “sparkle” on.
When: 5 – 7 April 2014 in Melbourne, then touring Australia. Click here for other dates and information.
Where: Palais Theatre, Lower Esplanade ST KILDA
Cost: $35 – $70
The cast of Barbie Live! arrived in Australia this week direct from the US and their performances have kicked off in Melbourne.
It’s always a challenge for a live show to carry the same magic as a TV animation and (in this case) a toy that has been much loved for 55 years. Add to that touring a large stage production, building in many many costume changes and devising a story line that will engage with 3 year olds through to 83 year olds.
Barbie Live! The Musical was actually pretty good – I have seen all sorts of kids productions (taken from TV or brands) over the past 8 years and while I attended this show for the sake of my daughter (8) and out of curiosity for Meetoo I have to say I was quite enjoying myself. If you are a fan in any way of any of the Barbie movies you will absolutely LOVE this production. There is lots of singing and dancing and the stage props and costumes are lots of fun. The story is a little slow to get going – but I don’t think the younger members of the audience cared a jot, seeing their hero in ‘real life’ was a thrill – and Chelsea Bernier was perfectly cast.
And while we naturally loved Barbie, it was mean girl Raquelle and her side-kick Peg Pincushion that provide the best laughs, audience participation and extra dimension.
The performance includes a 20 minute interval and all up is just under 2 hours from beginning to end.
There were a couple of moments where the story lost me – I had no prior knowledge of any of the Barbie movies (Swan Lake, Princess and the Popstar, and Mariposa & Fairy Princess) referenced in this production but they introduced them in a really clever way so that you didn’t need any prior knowledge. I felt one of the references went into unnecessary detail and so was about 5 minutes too long. Expect lots of super sweet (sugary sweet) American accents – given the cast is American this is a totally unfair criticism, but there is a certain wavelength or pitch where this starts to hurt my ears and we went to that place on a number of occasions.
The mum sitting behind us absolutely loved the show and we were surrounded by childless parties too (so the appeal is much wider than 3-8 year olds!). The kids all around us seemed riveted and Immi (8) LOVED it – especially the dancing.
Naturally there is merchandise available to purchase from the candy bar out front – but it’s not too in your face.
Some cool production facts:
Director and choreographer Kobi Rozenfeld is one of the world’s most renowned, innovative choreographers who has worked with Beyoncé, Macy Gray and Britney Spears, and was a judge on international TV show So You Think You Can Dance.
The brightly coloured, fast paced show is performed against an impressive range of elaborate sets designed by the multi-award winning Stanley A. Meyer (Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast).
A production that took 1000 litres of pink paint and 2 gazillion pieces of glitter to create also features Barbie undergoing more costume changes than a runway fashion show! The entire 90-minute production includes 230 flamboyant costumes designed by Aviad Arik Herman (Miss Universe).
The creative team also includes: Obie Award winning multi-disciplinary theatre artist Diane Rodriguez (The Book), award winning lighting designers Jesse Blevins and Peter Morse (lighting designers for New Kids on the Block, Lenny Kravitz, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson and many more); sound design by Kai Harada.