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An Arena Spectacular, yes indeed! Family entertainment for all to see…

The Show
How can one describe this totally unique show? It has been described as being everything from a musical, a rock concert and a cross between a circus and an opera. Quite a description indeed.

Following the success of the Sydney Olympics, the theme of The Man From Snowy River was born and became not only a dream, but also a reality for audiences throughout Australia to enjoy. The production has already toured throughout Australia twice and I am sure future arena spectaculars such as this would be welcomed by all.

Man From Snowy River, The: Arena Spectacular

The Man From Snowy River is an entertaining story of a stockman who tells the story of his ride. Based on the legendary Banjo Patterson poem, The Man From Snowy River not only delights audiences of all ages, but preserves a piece of Australian history in the hearts and mind of future generations to come. Through this performance, one only needs to see the smiles on the children’s faces in the audience. It also allows the viewer to escape into the story being told and pretend they are a child again being told a bedtime story. Banjo Patterson’s poems are truly inspirational and capture the essence of an Aussie Stockman who live their lives in the open country.

The cast of The Man From Snowy River is outstanding and honestly, one could not have hoped to obtain the perfect cast such as this for this now famous production. Georgie Parker, Steve Bisley, Charles Bud Tingwell, Lee Kernaghan and Martin Crewes as The Man truly make this production spectacular. While I am a big fan of Bud Tingwell, Martin Crewes was outstanding in his performance. A special mention to Lee Kernaghan who did a top job as the balladeer who presented the story through song. I can hardly stop singing, “We’re the boys from the bush and we’re back in town!” Through his songs, energy and overall down to earth qualities, Lee was truly …what can I say?...great!

Steve Bisley also gave a wonderful performance as Banjo Patterson and if one closed their eyes, one would almost believe he brought Banjo Patterson back from the past and introduced him to his fans of past and present.

I must admit, I was disappointed in the transfer quality of The Man Form Snowy River which was presented in 1.78:1 and 16:9 Enhanced. While viewing, I guess I was initially looking for “wow” qualities and wanted to feel like I was really a part of the audience. What the viewing felt like was that of a play that was videotaped.

Due to the coloring and the lighting in certain scenes in the beginning, it was difficult to view clearly. I did find some of the scenes to be grainy and thought that it was perhaps due to the lighting and where the arena spectacular was being filmed from within the particular arena.
However, if one is a little more patient, then the overall arena spectacular production will be more than worth the viewing.

Man From Snowy River, The: Arena Spectacular

On a special mention, I did find the background scenery very good and it added to the feeling of the scenes whether being outdoors at a campfire or singing under the stars. So, grab your partners, dosey-doe, true! There is so much more to see and do. The Man From Snowy River also provided English subtitles for the hearing-impaired.

Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, overall the sound quality in The Man From Snowy River was quite good. However, I did find some of the dialogue in the opening scenes a little difficult to hear and think it was more about the position of the microphones they used rather than the actual sound quality. Once the initial scenes are finished, the sound improves.
Surround usage is quite good, with the music pumped out of the rears very well.

As part of the special features, the disc includes Outside the Arena: Behind the Scenes, Opening the Stable Door, Wood Chopping as well as Cast & Crew Biographies.

I particularly enjoyed the Special Features as the viewer gets to hear from many of the people who were a part of the extravaganza. Written and directed by David Atkins & Ignatious Jones, we get to see highlights of what it took to have this production tour throughout Australia. The logistics of getting this arena spectacular from one place to another was a feat unto itself. It was not just simply moving this from here to there and the equipment did not get to its next destination as the crow flies.

Man From Snowy River, The: Arena Spectacular

I enjoyed David Atkins in the Outside of The Arena and it definitely added to this DVD. One feels as if he is talking directly at you and in the comforts of your own home. The audience is also delighted and introduced to how much went into the presentation of this production to the media. Walking horses with Australian flags across the Sydney Harbour Bridge was certainly a publicity promotion, but it got people to be excited not only in Sydney, but to the rest of Australia who were yet to see the promotion. A particular bonus is hearing from Georgie Parker, Bud Tingwell, Lee Kernaghan and Martin Crewes.

I personally think viewers enjoy hearing from the cast and it would appear that they all felt as if they were a family while touring. I would welcome more featurettes like Outside the Arena.
When one is viewing a DVD such as this, one also needs to remember there are so many people who behind the scenes contributed to the show's success. From horse trainers, to country line dancers, from lighting to costumes, horse handlers to the band, all should be very proud of having been part of this unique and completely Australian production.

An arena extravaganza not to forget. Never before have audiences of any kind been presented with this family-oriented arena spectacular. More than 200 dancers and over 40 of Australia’s best stock-horses took part to make this performance what it was.