Beauty & the Bachie – Emma Knights Productions

Beauty & the Bachie – Emma Knights Productions

The ever imaginative Emma Knights does it again! This time, in company with Samara Gill with whom she devised the songs, and Choreographer Nina Richards, who kept the one hour production moving nicely, Emma Knights has added another creative success to her canon. In Beauty & The Bachie she also wrote the script, along with producing it and directing the stage action.

It is very easy to satirise a television series as stylised and formulaic as The Bachelor. However, it’s not easy to do it successfully, let alone set it to music with original songs and lyrics. This was a decided success.

In such a satire the actors could have fallen into the trap of over-playing their stereotypical and so easily identified roles, yet not one did so. There were some flamboyant characters, to be sure – Maryann Boettcher as Melanie, for one – but they all cleverly extracted the humour by stopping short, often quite subtly, from over doing it.

As Jimmy JJ, the bachelor himself, Trevor Anderson had a restrained yet believable arrogance, combined with a natural naivety. Given the ‘staged’ nature of the original, Anderson was highly convincing in his central role. He sang well and his song I Can’t Think With My Shirt On was a hit. In many ways it summed up the musical’s essential satire.

All five women contestants established their own characters early, and sustained them thereafter. They brought entertainment and occasional tension to the story line. Audrey Tredrea was engagingly innocent and appealing as Ashlee, Nina Richards played the out-of-place Lauren, with humour and resolution, Fiona DeLaine showed clear stage presence and dramatic and vocal range as Kale, and played her character’s physical abnormality to the hilt, Sarah Whiteley drew empathy from the audience and built the tension well, while Maryann Boettcher was very amusing as the gushing Melanie. Her song, Accidental Villain, was a great success with the audience.

Eden Trebilco played the wheeling, dealing floor manager with energy and amusing conviction and Josh Barkley, as his assistant, shone in the very funny Whisper Song.

The whole production was revue-like, crisp and well-paced. It played well, with minimal sets and props. Knights’ script and direction allowed for many asides to the audience which efficiently filled us in with the characters’ inner thoughts. Together, these elements underlined one of the production’s principal satirical barbs: how real is ‘reality’ television?

It was a very funny performance, and one that sustained the humour for the hour’s playing time. It was a witty and clever piece of musical theatre. Full credit to Emma Knights and her production company for showing us, yet again, how how talented and creative the local arts scene is.

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This production was reviewed by:

David Smith
David Smith
David’s long involvement in community theatre began in Adelaide and continued for some decades in Port Augusta, Whyalla, Kapunda and the Barossa, and for one year, McAllen, Texas, USA. He is a performer, director, writer and former secondary school Drama teacher. He sings in the Adelaide Harmony Choir.

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