Presented by The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Company of SA (aka The Met)
Reviewed 5 May2022
From the play by Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker, Michael Stewart wrote the book for Jerry Herman to create music and lyrics to Hello Dolly! which debuted in Detroit in 1963. Since then, it has been produced many times, made into a film (1969) and won many theatre and recording awards. Barry Hill’s production is true to all the fun and colour associated with this show. Serena Cann has assembled a fine orchestra but due to the dreaded virus was unable to conduct on opening night. Luckily, with very little preparation, Ben Saunders was able to step into the breach and keep the show on track.
The title role of Dolly Levi, the Matchmaker, was handled well by the talented Bronwen James – lots of flamboyance and wonderful stage presence. Robin Schmelzkopf was in his element as the conservative Horace Vandergelder, controlling his daughter and looking for a wife to be a housekeeper. Hannah Saxon as his daughter, Ermengarde, does a lovely job of crying her way through the scenes with her beau Ambrose Kemper, played by Jonathon Ogilvie.
The widow, who Dolly has told Horace she is matching him with, Irene Molloy, is Natasha Woods, who falls for Horace’s assistant Cornelius Hackl, Liam Phillips; while her shop assistant, Minnie Fay, Issy Darwent, is courted by Barnaby Tucker, Kristian Latella – making two charming couples. Kristel Dally plays Ernestina Money, the substitute that Dolly provides because she has designs on Horace herself. Lance Jones provides a good foil as Rudolph Reisenweber and the chorus are amazing as waiters and servants.
The sets are lovely and projections work well, with small set pieces moved on and off by cast. Jacinto Vistoli’s choreography is fresh and gives the stage lots of movement, showing the costumes off to good effect. Said costumes are a credit to Carmel Vistoli and Leonie Osborne with a special mention to the hats: stunning.
This is a fun production, just the thing to offset the miserable weather!
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Arts Theatre
Season: 5 – 14 May 2022
Duration: 2hrs 45mins including interval
Tickets: $28 – $36
Bookings: metmusicals.com.au or phone 0407 457 821 (service fee applies)