Venue: The Opera Studio, State Opera of SA, 216 Marion Road, Netley
Season: 7pm Fri and Sat 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th and 2pm Sat 12th and 19th February 2011
Duration: 110min incl interval
Tickets: adult $27/conc $22/groups (6 or more) $22 each
Bookings: FringeTIX outlets (booking fee will apply), on-line http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au or 1300 FRINGE (374 643)
The preview night had a couple of little technical glitches, but nothing that detracted from the enjoyment of this terrific new musical. It has been adapted by Adam Goodburn from the original 1999 play by Liam Amor, Michael Fry, Matthew Green, Colin James, David Lander and Geoff Paine, to which Matthew Carey has added the music and lyrics. Directed by David Lampard, the production features Adam Goodburn, Nicholas Cannon, Kent Green, Rodney Hutton and P. J. Oaten as five men who have come together for a working bee to erect the equipment at a children’s playground.
Four are already fathers and one is about to become a father at any moment. As they set about building the playground they discuss their views of fatherhood and their relationships with their children and with their spouses. There is a great deal of hilarity and wit, but a few serious moments, too. Individual and ensemble performances are superb, with the cast playing their various characters as well as filling in as the wives and providing the sounds of crying babies. This is a clever and engaging production that had the audience laughing and applauding all night.
Although there is much in this production to give the men in the audience a good laugh, the ladies, no doubt recognising their partners in the characters portrayed, were laughing even more. It is not necessary to be a parent to relate to this performance, either. It is an ideal evening for everybody, male and female, young and old alike.
The pace is fast, the music varied and interesting and the set, costumes and lighting are all well thought out. Musical Director, Sam Leske, on guitar, Alex Wignall, on piano, Brett Williams, on bass, and Holly Thomas, on drums, provide a solid backing for the singers.
This is very much in the same mould that Menopause:The Musical was for women and, if picked up by a keen-eyed entrepreneur, this production could easily become just as much of a success. This is an excellent effort from all concerned and deserves full houses, but it only has a few performances, so book quickly.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.