March Productions’ How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a resounding success.
I remember the movie in the sixties and had some trepidation about whether How to Succeed would translate for today’s audiences but such fears were groundless. This talented and energetic youth cast add their own magic, perspective and humour to the musical’s timeless themes of ambition, power and romance.
Under Michelle Davy’s direction the thirty-eight member “Groundhog Cast” (one of two casts for this show) delivered a very polished, professional performance. Brady Lloyd’s choreography was spectacular from the full ensemble to the individual – tap dancing, chorus line, freeze-frame tableaux – it had it all, culminating in the all singing and dancing Brotherhood of Man. Costumes were perfect for the sixties. Costume Co-ordinator Sue Winston and her team nailed it – executive suits for all sizes and a range of secretarial fashion and they all looked the part.
And then there are the leading roles…. Harry McGinty as J Pierrepont Finch is perfect. He has great stage presence, charisma and a definite twinkle in the eye as he manoeuvres his way up the ladder of success. Sienna Bertram as romantic lead Rosemary is delightful and delivers her solo Happy to keep his dinner warm with just the right balance of sincerity and irony. Joel Castrechini as the boss J B Biggley brings a comic mixture of pomposity and ridiculousness to the role to good effect. Kristian Latella as Finch’s nemesis Bud Frump is hilarious and steals many a scene. Pru Cassar is a knock out as Hedy LaRue with an accent hinting at Marilyn Monroe but with the punch of Fran Drescher’s The Nanny. The scene in the tv studio is wonderful. Zara Blight as poised secretary Smitty guides the storyline with her various interventions, comic timing and good vocals. Secretarial efficiency is also well portrayed by the talented Daisy Kennett (Miss Jones) and Verity Lopresti-Zotti (Miss Krumholtz). I don’t think the World-Wide Wicket Company would survive without them.
James Grosser (Mr Bratt) is convincing as the HR Manager and heads a great ensemble of male executives. Cobain Bradley as Mr Twimble is very funny as the supervisor being promoted out of the mail room after twenty five years.
The ensemble numbers are so good. My favourites were – Coffee Break, A Secretary is Not a Toy, Paris Original and of course Brotherhood of Man.
The performance is underpinned by a very good music score under the expert musical directorship of Mark Delaine. The balance of voice and musicians was very good.
It was a packed house last night with a very responsive audience and well-deserved applause. The effort that went into all aspects of this performance was first-class and delivered with the exuberance and energy of youth. It’s a shame that this show is only on for a few days.