DUSTY – Northern Light Theatre Company

126

Director Gordie Combes has made the most of this bio-musical about Dusty Springfield. Together with MD Danielle Pedler and the talented and indefatigable choreographer Sue Pole, they produced a tight, coherent piece which looked and sounded effective and classy.

They struck it rich with Robyn Brookes in the title role. She sang superbly with broad vocal and dramatic range. She easily carried the huge singing load of over twenty songs, delighting the audience with each. This was a production based of course on music but Brookes was also successful in developing Dusty’s character, as much as the script allowed.

Bianca Levai was powerful as Reno, Dusty’s love interest. She made much of her songs, and the duets with Dusty – Wishin’ and Hopin’ and The Look Of Love among others – were stunning. Amie Graham was very effective as Mary O’Brien, Dusty’s younger self and constant advisor. In that challenging role she was calm, natural and reasonable.

Nadine Wood as Peg and Tom Adams as Rodney did well in their critical roles as Dusty’s show-biz supporters, while Chris Bussey and Russell Ford were empathetic as Dusty’s parents.

The ensemble work was well rehearsed and coordinated. Choreography was slick and well suited to the songs and the era, and the band was well balanced and supportive of the singing and action. The sound system was exceptional, and a big improvement on Shedley’s days of yore. Every voice was audible and well balanced with the band.

The parade of 60s and 70s costumes was astonishing.  All cast had many costume changes, led by Dusty’s twenty or so. They were colourful and authentic and added greatly to the general effect.

This was a crisp, effective production and a convincing musical tribute to Dusty Springfield and her importance to the music of her times.