Stage

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS SR John McCal­lum

(PG) Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2 is a clever and funny an­i­mated romp that kids and adults will both enjoy. Seven years have passed since the end of the first film; Count Drac­ula’s (Adam Sandler) daugh­ter Mavis (Se­lena Gomez) mar­ries her hu­man boyfriend Jonathan and soon there’s a baby on the way. Will the child of a hu­man and a vam­pire be one or the other, or some sort of hy­brid? When Mavis and Jonathan leave Den­nis with “Vampa”, Drac springs into ac­tion, on a quest to prove “Den­nisav­itch” is a vam­pire.

In the Heart of the Sea (M) Ron Howard’s new film pur­ports to tell the story that in­spired Her­man Melville’s great novel, Moby-Dick. Ben Whishaw plays Melville, whose in­ter­view with the last sur­vivor of the doomed whal­ing ship Es­sex (Ray Win­stone) gives the au­thor the idea of writ­ing about an ob­ses­sive ship’s cap­tain and a great white whale. The film is loaded down with vis­ual ef­fects but Howard’s di­rec­tion is strangely unin­spired and the sto­ry­telling is turgid.

Love the Coopers (PG) It wouldn’t be De­cem­ber with­out a baggy, over-talky Amer­i­can dram­edy about a dys­func­tional ex­tended fam­ily com­ing to­gether for the hol­i­days, bitch­ing and bick­er­ing and let­ting cats out of bags, be­fore find­ing some sort of res­o­lu­tion that re­minds us of the true spirit of Christ­mas. Love the Coopers sets it­self up to ex­plore some in­ter­est­ing, if not orig­i­nal, ques­tions but it baulks at prob­ing too deeply and in­stead re­treats into sch­maltz.

The Night Be­fore Vi­o­let In this en­dear­ing road mu­si­cal, Vi­o­let is on her way by Grey­hound bus from her home in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, to Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, where she hopes to meet a tel­e­van­ge­list faith healer who she be­lieves will be able to re­move a dis­fig­ur­ing scar left from an accident when she was a child. The work is now more than 20 years old and it is odd that it has taken so long to come here. Mitchell Bu­tel’s pro­duc­tion works well partly be­cause of the enor­mously at­trac­tive per­son­al­ity that Sam Dode­maide (pic­tured) brings to her per­for­mance as Vi­o­let. The show is also a fine ensem­ble piece. The char­ac­ters Vi­o­let meets on the road are played and sung with great en­ergy by a very lively cast. Jea­nine Te­sori’s highly en­joy­able mu­sic, played by a band led by Lucy Ber­ming­ham, is a mix of gospel, blue­grass, blues and coun­try and western. It’s an Amer­i­can dream. Hayes The­atre Com­pany, 19 Green­knowe Av­enue, Potts Point. To­day, 2pm and 8pm. Tick­ets: $49-$54. Book­ings: (02) 8065 7337 or on­line. Un­til De­cem­ber 20.

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