For the Record’s Baz Luhrmann Live in Concert is a beautiful, energetic party of a show. The company’s live theatrical concerts weave cherished film oeuvres with awe-inspiring singing, energetic dancing and witty use of crowd-participation. Baz, the show that they’ve brought to the 2015 Jazz Fest, links the stories and music from film director Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, and does it in a way that is camp, poignant and true to the heart of Luhrmann’s works.
Performed at the Theatre Nouveau Monde, the show allows the actors to make full use of the space. The set itself is simple, but the actors take control of the theatre as they wander up and down aisles, dance and kiss next to members of the audience, and appear in balconies. The intimacy that this breeds is goose-bump inducing. You simultaneously feel as though you are at a concert, a play, and a party. One of the earliest numbers, Joanna Jones and Patrick Mulvey’s mash up of A Little Party & Young Hearts Run Free, starts the performance off with a joyful exuberance that the cast manages to maintain throughout the show. Jones, Mulvey, and Brian Justin Crum were standout performers amidst a cast of massively talented people, with Jones’ spectacular voice getting the biggest applause of the night.
The four movie's plots are twined together in an occasionally delirious jumble, but executed so effectively that you settle in and let the characters and settings untangle around you. If you know Luhrmann’s works, it’s a treat. If you don’t, it still works. The songs, belted out by the cast with so much passion, will leave you smiling, tearing up, and overall just enjoying the romance and comedy of the performance. The cast doesn’t stop, they bounce from one set-up to the next at a dizzying pace and it’s a credit to them all that it all flows so enjoyably.
For the Record: Baz is playing on June 30, July 2, 3,4, 5 at 8 pm as part of the Jazz Fest.