Presented by Noarlunga Theatre Company
Reviewed 17 May 2014
There’s a refreshing southern Sue breeze blowing, bringing a strong scent of memories and good times. This weekend the Blackwood Players wind up their season of Sue Oldknow’s nostalgic 70s party play Flares, while the Noarlunga Theatre Company launch their 20th anniversary with Oldknow’s latest party piece, Let Us Entertain You 2.
Like a seated aerobics workout, this follow-up to her original Let Us Entertain You is a concert of sing-a-long mega-hits from the 1950s to the 1990s, and there was barely a still bum in the bopping house of enthusiastic punters of all ages.
Accompanied by more costumes changes than a drag show at Mardi Gras, Oldknow directs her stellar cast of 18 with fine detail to pace, style and choice of songs. They sound as good as they look, and their infectious sense fun threatens to outdo that of the audience.
Mark Hallam’s music tracks and carefully controlled sound levels mean the amplified performers are always easily heard above the full-bodied score, while the unstoppable Cherylene O’Brien once again proves herself to be one of Adelaide’s most refreshing choreographers, a superb comedic actor, and she takes the cake for the enormous array of stellar costumes, ably assisted by Clare Kelly and Vi Rowe.
Smattered with brief interludes of scenes stolen from various other shows, Let Us Entertain You 2 knows exactly what to deliver and how. Some of the delivery of dialogue falls flat, but the jokes are obvious and the vignettes are so short that it barely matters because they’re quickly forgotten once the next number begins.
There are nods to many popular plays and films, not least of all being The Producers, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Grease, Monty Python, and energetic opening numbers from The Blues Brothers. Each cleverly chosen skit is merely an excuse to introduce the next song however, which is often related to the final line of dialogue rather than the show being parodied.
Whether thrilling to Michael Jackson, impersonating Elvis or remembering Madonna, the singers and dancers sound and look good. Their imitations of famous characters vary from average to sensational, but a raft of Mae West one-liners had excitable older audience members calling out each punchline!
The cabaret seating works a treat for a show like this, made all the more enjoyable by Anne Kwok’s creative and colourful interior and table decorating, and the bar and café service to earn back the calories burned after dancing in your seat. The Noarlunga Theatre Company can easily boast some of the best front of house service of any theatre company and is consistently a lesson in excellent customer service.
The disappointingly short run of Let Us Entertain You 2 means there are only 3 shows left next weekend. With a run time of more than 2 hours (including interval), you’ll be hard pressed to have a better time so let them entertain you too.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: The Arts Centre, 22 Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga
Season: 16 – 24 May 2014
Duration: 2hr 15 mins (including interval)
Bookings: Book through the Noarlunga Theatre Company online or phone 0499 870 929