Presented by The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Company
Reviewed 11 May 2017
An Eighties movie turned into a musical, a chance to revisit big hair, big shoulder pads and misogynist values, what more could you want? Well it was mostly what I expected. If you loved the Dolly Parton film, I guess this is for you.
Mostly it was fun. Written by Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick, the script is light hearted and moves at a reasonable pace. The set, by director Selena Britz and Leonie Osborne, with back projections is well thought out, moved mostly by the cast and works well. The small band, under the direction of Musical Director, Jillian Gulliver, sound good and handle the well-known numbers with panache.
The leads are great: Trish Hart as Violet, Kristen Hatty as Judy and Lucy Cary as Doralee (the Dolly role), all work well together. Cary has a little problem with the accent at the very beginning (maybe first night nerves?) but quickly comes good. Hart is the standout, always with a good stage presence and Hatty more than does justice to her role, developing the character pleasingly.
Greg Hart, in a role with only one song, is hilarious and plays the egotistical, lying, and hypocritical boss, Franklin Hart Jnr with relish. An unusual role for him, but he had fun! Daniel Fleming as Joe demonstrated his fine voice when he sings Let Love Grow with Violet. Eve McMillan gets lots of laughs as Roz and Njal Venning shows his experience in playing Dick (Judy’s erstwhile husband) and Mr Tinsworthy. Kathy Shaw was Missy Hart (the boss’ wife) when she wasn’t part of the dance ensemble. Kudos to the ‘drunk’ antics of Carolyn Adams as Margaret and to Barbara Nutchley as Maria Delgardo.
The ensemble needed a little more punch and the dance numbers needed more work, although dancer Shane Huang stood out from the crowd. The choreography, by Carmel Vistoli, was not snappy enough and the opening was very predicable. We know that not every chorus member is a dancer, but it is possible to still make them look good. This choreography doesn’t.
Despite that, this is a good showing by the Met and I’m sure will be enjoyed by their audiences.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Arts Theatre
Season: 11 -20 May 2017
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: Adult $34 Conc $24.50
Bookings: www.metmusiclals.com.au or phone 0407 457 821