Reviewed by David Smith
The Hills Musical Company has triumphed with its SA Premiere production of this ‘Musical Within a Play’. They struck a perfect tone from the first arresting lines on the darkened stage and maintained that with verve to the end.
The creative team of director David Sinclair, MD Mark DeLaine and Choreographer Linda Williams expertly melded all the theatrical elements to a degree which is seldom achieved. They balanced the on-stage work of their talented cast with slick transitions between scenes and remarkable precision of music and movement.
Scott Nell as Man in Chair was outstanding. His easy relationship with the audience and his character’s patent enthusiasm for every detail of the 1920s title musical were infectious. He was an amusing, joyful and subtly satirical presence throughout the show.
This is a very funny play, and every cast member made the most of that, whether it be bold (Jamie Richards as Aldolpho), slapstick (Wendy Raynor as Mrs Tottendale spraying Greg Beer as Underling) or satirical as in Man in Chair’s contributions, and many of the songs.
Brady Lloyd shone as Robert Martin and was well matched with his love interest, Janet Van De Graaff, stylishly performed by Fiona DeLaine. Bronwen James was stunning as the Drowsy Chaperone. In fact there was no weak link, and that gave the show its strength and cohesion.
Musical and dramatic timing was impeccable. Some musical cues were fiendishly demanding yet Mark DeLaine, orchestra and cast breezed through them.
Costumes were stunning and the production made inventive use of the limited off-stage space to change scenes, even including the arrival of an aeroplane.
This show simply got everything right.