Theatre Review: Mack and Mabel

Theatre Review: Mack and Mabel

‘Mack and Mabel’ tells the story of legendary comedic film director Mack Sennett and his brightest star Mabel Normand. It is a love story between them told through flashbacks.


Presented by Northern Light Theatre Company
Reviewed 15 October 2015

Mack and Mabel tells the story of legendary comedic film director Mack Sennett and his brightest star Mabel Normand. Mack first lays eyes on Mabel when she makes a delivery to an actress on his studio set. Mack sees something special in Mabel and offers her a role in his next comedic silent movie. What ensues is a love story between Mack and Mabel told through flashbacks as Mack leads the audience on a journey through the events of the past.

Lead actors Michael Bates (Mack Sennett) and Jeri Williams (Mabel Normand) are the absolute stand outs of the show, captivating the audience and pulling them into the love story that is unfolding. Bates’s voice is sublime, and his rendition of I Won’t Send Roses is a highlight. Williams plays the role of Mabel as though she were born to play it, with all the sass and wide-eyed optimism the character demands.

Shelley Crooks stepped into the role of actress Lottie on the night and delivered a strong performance, had it not been for the use of scripts on stage, you would not have known Crooks was a ring in. The ensemble are vocally strong and although the choreography by Amber Platten is eye catching, particularly tap number Tap Your Troubles Away, the cast falls short of delivering the full level of energy and enthusiasm required to lift any of the chorus numbers to their full potential.

Ann Humphries’ costumes set the scene perfectly, transporting the audience back to 1911 from the first opening number. The set is simple yet effective using film reels as backdrops and scenery, although the scene changes tended to drag with all the large movements required.

Musical director Helen Loveday and her orchestra did justice to the fun and engaging musical numbers. With many comedic moments throughout the show, Northern Light has delivered an overall strong performance that will leave you toe tapping long after you have left the theatre.

 Reviewed by Cassie Holmes

Venue: Shedley Theatre Elizabeth
Season: Oct 14th to 29th 2016
Duration: 2hrs 50mins
Tickets: $22.50 – $30.00
Bookings: 08 8281 5026


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