Presented by Toot! Toot!
Reviewed Tuesday 1st March 2011
Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: 9:30pm Thursday 3rd, 5pm Saturday 12th, 5pm Sunday 13th March 2011
Duration: 90mins incl interval
Tickets: adults $28/conc $24
Bookings: Fringe TIX outlets or http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au
Take one story, then tell it in musical form five times, each in the style of a famous writer or team. With music by Eric Rockwell and lyrics by Joanne Bogart, that is the premise behind this production. The tale is told in the distinctive styles of Rogers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and, finally, Kander and Ebb. The five versions are titled Corn!, A Little Complex, Dear Abby!, Aspects of Junita and Speakeasy.
The basic story is simple, and as old as the hills. It underpins just about every creaky old melodrama you have ever seen. June cannot pay her rent and the evil landlord, Jitter, is about to evict her, unless she succumbs to his dastardly advances. She looks to the hero, Billy, for his help, and to an older woman, Abby, for advice.
The finale turns briefly to Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Bennett with the song, Done, parodying One from A Chorus Line.
Fiona DeLaine, Mark DeLaine, Benjamin Finn and Michaela Lucas play, respectively, the various incarnations of June, Billy, Jitter and Abby, accompanied by Angela Welsh at the piano. Director, Hayley Horton, and choreographer, Fiona DeLaine, have done about as much as they can to inject movement and dance into the limited space offered by the small stage at the intimate La Bohème. Even with the small stage, the cast still manage to fit in a ‘dream sequence’ ballet and make clear reference to the routines of choreographer, Bob Fosse. Musical director, Mark DeLaine has done a fine job, too, with capturing the differing singing styles from the various eras.
For those uninitiated in the vast expanse of the genre of Musical Theatre, this show will still prove to be a load of fun but, for those with a more intimate knowledge of the composers and their many shows and songs, there is much more to be had in this production. The show is thick with musical and textual references, hilariously parodying the original songs and shows. Everybody will find this extremely funny but, if you are a Musical aficionado and catch on to all of the references, then it is almost one continual laugh from start to finish.
The four talented performers bring plenty of energy and enthusiasm to their various roles and, since they seem to be having a lot of fun with it, that comes across and they carry the audience along with them on that wave of enjoyment. They are all trained and experienced performers with plenty of skill as singers and an obvious knowledge of musical theatre enabling them to bring out all of the humour and even, here and there, make reference to particular performers associated with certain musicals.
I hear that this show is sold out, but try the ticket outlets anyway. You might be lucky. If not, then keep your fingers crossed that it gets another outing during the Cabaret Fringe later this year. This is one that deserves a much wider audience.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide