The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show – Giveaway!

PHOTO Whitney Blue Dress Hand Up Email 1024x683 The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show   Giveaway!

The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show celebrates the iconic pop singer Whitney Houston and her most loved songs. The show is coming to Melbourne in May 2015 with the breathtaking voice of South African singer Belinda Davids after selling out in Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, the US and South Africa.

PHOTO Whitney Belinda Singing Email 1024x683 The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show   Giveaway!

The 2 ½ hour concert and stage show spans Houston’s 29 year career and includes hits How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, I’m Every Woman, Exhale (Shoop Shoop), Step by Step and I Will Always Love You.

Watch this preview clip to hear the amazing Belinda Davids – she has a 4 octave range!

The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne

Friday 15 May to Saturday 23 May 2015

Tickets from $49.90 from Ticketek 132 849

Giveaway! Thanks to The Greatest Love Of All – The Whitney Houston Show I have 2 x double passes to give away for the opening night Friday 15 May.

To win just follow the instructions below. The competition closes midnight Monday 20 April and the two random winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

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HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 11 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Summersalt is Melbourne newest arts festival centred around Southbank’s Dodds Street/Sturt Street area, with five weekends of art, dance, music and theatre in February.

I bought tickets to ‘Where the Wild Things Sing’ which was billed as an ‘urban safari through the streets of Southbank where opera and puppetry collide in an adventure full of surprises’.

The hour performance was certainly a surprising experience, not least of which it introduced me to some beautiful street art and buildings in an area that I’ve often visited but never really explored fully.

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 10 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

There were about 30 adults and children on our family-friendly performance of the show and I very much enjoyed an hour of kookiness and unexpected encounters accompanied by some beautiful singing. The evening (non-family-friendly) performances are apparently ‘naughtier’ with adult themes and are for people 15+ years.

The 60 minute experience was led by raconteur Bernard Caleo who, along with series of mermaids, guided the group to a series of intimate performances in unexpected places.

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 7 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 2 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 9 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

I won’t reveal too much but the roll call included a gorilla, giant maggots barbecuing, a panda reading a pamphlet, tiny surreal sculptures, a bed-bug ridden beardy man and some crazed synchro swimming in a tub.

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 1 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 4 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 6 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

The whole surreal experience made me laugh, kept me fascinated and made me look at my surroundings in a new light.

Where the Wild Things Sing Summersalt Arts Festival 2015 Southbank 3 HOT: Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank

Tickets are $5 from Melbourne Recital Centre and numbers are strictly limited for their last performances on Friday 20 February and Saturday 21 February.

Where the Wild Things Sing by Black Hole Theatre, Summersalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015, Southbank 

Family performance Sat 21 Feb 3pm

Evening Performances (for 15+ years
, adult themes) Fri 20 Feb 8.30pm

Tickets $5 each. 

THRILLER LIVE Giveaway!

Thriller Live Dangerous Heartbreak Hotel 6 1024x644 THRILLER LIVE Giveaway!

THRILLER LIVE is a spectacular concert production that celebrates the music of Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. The 2 hour show features non-stop hits, high-energy choreography and dancing and Michael’s innovative dance moves, video footage, a myriad of effects and dazzling costumes.

Thriller Live Smooth Criminal 3 1 1024x680 THRILLER LIVE Giveaway!

THRILLER LIVE has played in London’s West End for six capacity years since 2009 and it premieres in Australia in Perth on 10 December, then tours nationally to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.  Two of the stars on this tour will be Australian’s MiG Ayesa and Prinnie Stevens who have just performed the roles in the West End, London.

Smooth Criminal 1 1024x680 THRILLER LIVE Giveaway!

THRILLER LIVE  is a homage of Michael Jackson’s 45 year musical history and contains all of Jackson’s favourite songs. Don’t miss it!

THRILLER LIVE, Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

Wednesday 28 January to Sunday 8 February, 2015

Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday – Friday 8pm, Saturday 4pm & 8pm, Sunday 1pm and 6pm

Tickets from $69.90. (Booking and transaction fees may apply.)

Bookings: ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE 1300 182 183 or artscentremelbourne.com.au

Groups 10+ SAVE! Call Group Bookings 1300 002 787

Giveaway! Thanks to THRILLER LIVE I have 2 x double passes to give away for the opening night Wednesday 28 January. To win all you have to do is follow the instructions below. Two winners will be randomly selected and notified via email and tickets posted out. Competition closes midnight Monday 8 December. Good luck!

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Arts Centre Winter Season + Einstein on the Beach Giveaway!

Winter in Melbourne is a great excuse to hide indoors and get cultured – and today one of my favourite Melbourne arts venues, Arts Centre Melbourne, launches its Winter season of dance, opera, puppetry and more.

Some of the highlights of the Winter season include Penny Plain, a beautifully dark apocalyptic puppetry comedy; Einstein on the Beachan epic and ground-breaking opera/contemporary dance fusion; Proximity, a contemporary dance performance captured and artistically manipulated through videography; and  Botanica a beautifully mesmerising family-friendly performance featuring spectacular costumes, inspiring dance and theatre.

einsteinonthebeacha255x255 Arts Centre Winter Season + Einstein on the Beach Giveaway!

Giveaway! Thanks to Arts Centre Melbourne I have 2 x A reserve tickets to opening night of Einstein on the Beach (valued at $278) for Wednesday 31 July 6:30pm. Einstein on the Beach is returning to Melbourne for the first time in 21 years for an exclusive season from 31 July to 4 August at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of a major international tour. Note that it runs for four-and-a-half hours without an interval but the audience is able to leave and re-enter the auditorium as they wish. To win the tickets all you have to do is leave a comment and a winner will be randomly drawn on Friday 12 July. Good luck!
And the winner is #4 Kate – an email has been sent to you!
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HOT: Legally Blonde the Musical, Princess Theatre, 163 Spring St, Melbourne

photo 301 656x1024 HOT: Legally Blonde the Musical, Princess Theatre, 163 Spring St, Melbourne

Confession: I love musicals.

My normally fine-tuned antennae for excessive sequins, tackiness and over-the-top-ness is wound right down when there’s two hours of singing, high kicks and jazz hands on stage. Like amusements parks, musicals are almost guaranteed fun!

Legally Blonde the Musical is an adaptation of the fabulous feel-good flick made famous by Reese Witherspoon over 10 years ago. When it came out I didn’t think I’d like the film but my law school buddies dragged me along and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story of Elle Woods, cheery underdog and sweet as candy floss fish-out-of-water at Harvard Law School.

I was invited to see the musical and it has a very similar feeling to the film – there’s a lot of pink, a lot of cheesy girlishness and a lot of potential for things to fall on the too-silly-to-care side. But the production pulls it back from being vapid and silly to make Legally Blonde the Musical a very enjoyable, witty, laugh-out-loud show, with sight gags like the recurring UPS guy Kyle and a very non-PC number entitled Is He Gay, Or European?. It’s been nominated for eight Helpmann Awards, including Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Male Actor, Best Female Actor.

There are great performances from all the cast, including Lucy Durack as Elle Woods. She’s super-perky but not annoyingly so and you really want her to come out on top even though she’s a spoilt sorority beach chick from Malibu. David Harris plays the daggy but smart Emmett endearingly and their blossoming love affair is believable. Rob Mills as her ex-boyfriend Warner is a bit of a nothing character by comparison, though I overheard one grandma in the audience exclaim ‘He’s HOT!’ when he first appeared.

I actually thought the best performance came from supporting actress Helen Dallimore as Paulette, the hairdresser that Elle befriends – she displayed impressive singing, dancing and comedic timing. Oh – and there’s some super cute canines who come and go to ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience.

In addition, my favourite staging was some whiz-bang choreography at the beginning of the second act involving skipping ropes and some killer abs by Erika Heynatz playing fitness queen on trial Brooke Wyndham. No one tripped, the unison was perfect and everyone sang, danced and skipped without any sign of puffing. Amazing.

Of course the good guys win, the bad guys lose out and justice prevails. Everyone on stage looked like they were having a great time and their joy is infectious. You’ll leave the theatre smiling and laughing and days later I’m still humming ‘Omigod, you guys!’.

Legally Blonde the Musical is closing its Australian tour on 14 July so you only have 2 weeks to see it. All remaining tickets are now $69.90 – just click on the Ticketmaster link and enter the password: FAREWELL.

Summer Season at Arts Centre Melbourne – Giveaway!

 Summer Season at Arts Centre Melbourne   Giveaway!

Hello summer!

Arts Centre Melbourne has a fantastic season of events lined up for the summer and I have 2 x double passes to give away for one of their highlight performances.

Blaze 540x359 Summer Season at Arts Centre Melbourne   Giveaway!

Blaze, an amazing street dance concert which premiered in London’s West End featuring 12 of the best streetdancers and breakers in the world, against a digital backdrop designed by Es Devlin, designer for Kanye West, Mika, Take That, Pet Shop Boys and Lady Gaga. On BLAZE performance days, the public spaces in and around Hamer Hall will also have free music, dance and street art performances as part of the Bring It! program. The 2 x double passes are for the performance on Wednesday 23 January 8pm.

To win all you have to do is leave a comment below. The two winners will be randomly selected and announced on Monday 14 January. Good luck!

PS if you’re a parent and want to go into the draw for cultural school holiday events then hop onto my family/parenting blog TOT: HOT OR NOT for a series of giveaways in the the next week.

The winners are Angelique and Ashley – an email has been sent to you both!

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Opera in the Vineyards at Domaine Chandon Giveaway!

Greenpoint Brasserie Copy 540x540 Opera in the Vineyards at Domaine Chandon Giveaway!

I don’t know about you but I feel like this winter has really draagggged on. So yay for warmer weather and the beginning of Spring and the coming months of outdoor fun and entertainment!

The season starts with the stunning Yarra Valley winery Domaine Chandon hosting the Good Weekend Opera in the Vineyards on Friday 5 October and Saturday 6 October. This year’s season celebrates Giacomo Puccini and what better way to experience his passionate and romantic music than in the atmospheric Riddling Hall of Domaine Chandon, lined with lined with 40,000 bottles of aging sparkling wines – think of the acoustics with all that glass!

Chandon Riddling Hall 540x360 Opera in the Vineyards at Domaine Chandon Giveaway!

Date: Friday 5 October and Saturday 6 October 2012

Time: Pre-concert drinks from 6:30pm; concert starts at 8pm

Where: Riddling Hall at Domaine Chandon, 727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream VIC

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au

Giveaway! Thanks to Good Weekend Opera in the Vineyards I have 1 x A reserve double pass to the Puccini gala valued at $300 for Friday 5 October. To win all you have to do is leave a comment below and the winner will be drawn on Friday 21 September. Good luck!

And the winner is Robynne. I’ll be in touch soon!

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HOT: Hairspray the Musical, Princess Theatre, Spring St, Melbourne

P1060472v1 HOT: Hairspray the Musical, Princess Theatre, Spring St, Melbourne

I really enjoy going to see musicals but even with ample opportunity to see award-winning musical Hairspray both in Australia and overseas, for some reason I thought it was going to be too corny, too kitsch, for me to enjoy.

How wrong I was. I LOVED Hairspray. I can even safely say that it’s the best live performance I’ve seen in a recent memory. That includes Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya (with Cate Blanchett, John Bell, Richard Roxborough, Hugo Weaving) and Bell Shakespeare Company’s production of Twelfth Night.

Hairspray is a big, bold and colourful show full of boppy, toe-tapping tunes. The dancing was sharp and joyous, the singing was superb, I liked the early 60s costuming and the interactive, cartoonish set and you could really tell that the performers loved their jobs. It touches on issues like discrimination, segregation and racism, but it’s never earnest – it’s 2.5 hours of rollicking good fun that will have you smiling and feeling good when you leave.

I’ve not seen the movie of the same name (starring John Travolta) but I can’t imagine it topping the magic of live theatre. Sometimes a cast is able to feed off the positive energy of the audience and I really felt this two-way communication at the matinee performance I attended. The love in the room was palpable and as the= performers took their bows you could see that they were moved by the emotion in the room. I really think the enthusiastic audience encouraged the cast to give 110% of themselves into their singing and dancing and it really made the performance special for me.

Particular mention must go to the pitch-perfect performance of Jaz Flowers as big-hearted lead character Tracy Turnblad.  The 22-year old from Gippsland has a story straight from A Star is Born – her professional debut was only in 2009 and Hairspray is her first lead role. She was charming, sweet and a girl with a big voice. A sensation.

One final note. The cheap seats are not bad seats in the Princess Theatre! I paid $50 (the cheapest seats) for a restricted view seat in the stalls (S11) and had a brilliant view. The pole obscured the tiniest bottom corner of the stage where none of the performers went and I could see pretty much the full set. It’s a bargain.

Read the reviews from The Age and Herald Sun.

Ask the Doctor: Musical Date

Help me Doctor!: Dear Dr,  I’m hoping to make a favourable impression on a very cultured girl who enjoys classical music. Have you got any good suggestions on where I can take her in Melbourne? – Michael

Your prescription: Hi Michael, it’s great to  hear that you’re doing your research in your quest to impress a girl! My suggestions for where you could take a classical musical fan are:

A concert by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra http://www.mso.com.au/cpa/htm/htm_home.asp
A concert at Melbourne’s traditional concert hall Melbourne Recital Centre https://www.melbournerecital.com.au/
Recitals which tend to feature young artists at Australian National Academy of Music http://www.anam.com.au/
My personal favourite, Classic Jam, which takes classical music out of the concert hall http://classicjam.org/

There are other options involving opera, both live and in HD cinema such as those of the Metropolitan Opera and the Palace Opera & Ballet series.

Good luck! Joyce

HOT Spots Winter 2010

P1050628v1 200x300 HOT Spots Winter 2010Once again the City of Melbourne have produced a free pocket-sized booklet full of lots of ideas to inspire you to get out of the house and enjoy winter in Melbourne. This is a post to bookmark!

I sat down with a cup of tea and flicked through the booklet, which you can pick up at many inner city shops, cafes and bars, as well as the Melbourne Visitors Centre, NGV and ACMI. It covers new places and old classics split up into five geographical sections, some of which have been reviewed on the blog before and some of which I’ve earmarked for a visit. Here are my highlights:

Central

The Wheeler Centre. The new heart for Melbourne’s literary culture, the Wheeler Centre holds frequent author’s talks, some of them free. I’m going to hear Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak on Thursday 29 July.

Melbourne International Film Festival. I look forward to MIFF every year – for three weeks I get to hibernate in the city’s cinemas and feast on great films. Last year I managed to get to fifteen of them!

Previously blogged Izakaya Den, Tessuti Fabrics and Movida Aqui get a mention and I’m aiming to hit pizza specialists Barbagallo, new bar 24 Moons and hot new Mexican eatery Mamasita (again, with better lighting).

Northside

The North Melbourne Market has become a regular event held every two months. So many new options for me here – cheese galore at La Latteria, take home cassoulet at La Parisienne Pates, authentic Indian food at the Classic Curry Co, browsing vintage furniture and bric-a-brac at The Junk Company and having a pub lunch at Hotel Lincoln.

Cultural

I’m not going to see Mary Poppins the Musical because I saw it recently in London, and it was one of the most magical, fun and joyous theatrical events I’ve ever been to. When Mary Poppins flew into the air the whole crowd spontaneously broke out into cheers! Highly recommended.

And I’m definitely going to try Tsindos, a 30-year old stalwart of Little Greece in Lonsdale Street and I’m told home to great mezethes.

Westside

I was excited to hear about Urban Reforestation, a community garden, eco shop and educational centre in the middle of concrete-and-glass Docklands. Their aim is to inspire urban farming for sustainability and food security (they’re currently investigating the possibility of rooftop farms!) through consultation with corporates and for helping individuals with gardening lessons and cooking classes.

I think I’ll combine a visit to Urban Reforestation with a stroll around the Docklands Sunday Market and maybe a late lunch as part of Slow Sundays, where you get a $15 tasting plate with beer or wine between 2-6pm every Sunday from 20 June – 29 August.

Southside

I’ve just renewed by NGV membership so I will be heading to NGV’s Winter Masterpieces 2010 European Masters: Stadel Museum 19-20th Century between 19 June – 10 October.

ACMI is hosting a huge Tim Burton exhibition direct from New York’s MOMA from 24 June – 10 October which I’m quite excited about.

State of Design, Victoria’s design festival, is happening between 14-25 July and once again I’ll be immersing myself in all things design for two weeks. As part of the festival Melbourne Open House is on 24-25 July where lots of heritage buildings will be open to the public – a great way to learn some of the stories and history behind the city.

Last but not least, Melbourne Design Market is happening at Federation Square carpark again on Sunday 11 July. This year will be extra special for me because the lovely Kath and Ben from Jellybean Bikes and my new cycling clothing and accessories business CycleStyle will be setting up a cycle-licious stall at the market! Come and say hi.

For details and more winter ideas, check out That’s Melbourne.