Presented by Davine Interventionz
Reviewed 18 November 2015
“Do you remember when you met your best friend?” Alvin Kelby has died and it is left to his best friend, award-winning author Thomas Weaver, to compose a eulogy fitting of a lifelong friendship. Davine Interventionz Australian premiere production of The Story of My Life follows this story as the pair journey through the birth, destruction and rebuilding of their partnership.
David Salter as Alvin and Paul Rodda as Thomas, manage Neil Bartram and Brian Hill’s two-hander musical with passion, style and confidence. This production hits all the right notes to create an emotional feast that pulls the audience in right to the finale.
A show that requires such a small cast places great responsibility on the few performers that it utilises. Salter and Rodda not only rise to the challenge, but completely exceed any expectations. Salter’s Alvin is charismatic and wholesome, whilst still displaying true heartache as his friend slips away. Rodda manages to carefully balance Thomas’ alienating behaviours and his charm and likeability – never losing the audience for a second. The balance of characterisation and chemistry between these two actors keeps the show bristling with excitement and tension. Bartram’s score seems as if it was written for these two voices as they sing flawlessly through the demanding piece. Equally impressive is the stunning characterisation from both as, even in the event of a major costume malfunction, not a beat was missed. Some lines and lyrics were jumbled but this was bound to be due to opening night nerves and should smooth out over the run.
Director David Gauci leads this production perfectly, encouraging the actors to bring out every joke and emotional nuance in the script. Gauci utilises every level within his set design to provide just the right amount of movement to engage without appearing overproduced. The set, representative of the blankness within Thomas’ mind, is simple but strikingly effective. Its simplicity serves only to further emphasise the incredible performances being given by its two stars.
A concealed orchestra, under the masterful hand of Peter Johns, keeps the show moving beautifully. The musical talent and effort from both the cast and the orchestra are more than evident, with every note being perfectly placed. This is greatly helped along by excellent sound design from Marty Gilbert which achieves a perfect balance between band and singers.
One small anomaly in an otherwise perfect show is the somewhat confusing lighting design. For the most part, it is effective and unobtrusive but at times lights appeared randomly onstage or within the audience. It was unclear whether this was deliberate design choice or the result of a missed lighting cue on opening night. These elements, however, are inconsequential and do not detract from the overall experience.
Davine Interventionz has put on an incredibly slick and professional production, worthy of its award-winning name. The quality of work from Gauci, Johns, Rodda and Salter within this show is spectacular. Undoubtedly, it deserves better audiences than the few who were present on opening night. The Story of My Life is amateur theatre at its very best and should not be missed under any circumstances.
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Venue: Star Theatres
Season: 18-21 November
Duration: 1 hour 45 mins
Tickets: $30 – $33