This production featured dual casts. In the interests of fairness, TASA reviewed both casts. Alan Shepley reviewed the Rose cast performance and David Evans reviewed the Trentell cast performance.
“When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie – that’s Amore!” I humbly apologise for the blatant plagiarism of the iconic crooner hit of the 1950s but it is an ideal reference point for “I Love You. You’re Perfect, Now Change”. Director and set designer Adam Goodburn obviously thought so too, because there it was, a large full moon in an evening sky as a constant backdrop to all the observations on love, dating, separating and the whole damn thing. On behalf of the Marie Clark Musical Theatre, Adam, along with his excellent production team and a stellar cast of four, hit our heart strings in many more ways than one.
I saw the “Rose” cast perform. Robyn Brookes, Trish Hart, Greg Hart and Josh Kerr were simply sensational. Their vocal qualities were clear and succinct, both in solo and group delivery. Timing and pace were spot on throughout and the chemistry conjured by the four performers was palpable. I perceived four stage performers, in love with their material and each giving of their best to a receptive and appreciative audience. Sheer musical theatre joy! But there’s more! This was such an obviously collaborative effort as Director Adam mentioned in his program notes. He was well supported by AD and Choreographer Rachel Lee who has taken the “less is more” philosophy to heart with pleasing effect. Movement, entrances and exits, some brief dance routines and the family car trip across the stage all worked seamlessly. The orchestration was sublime. Musical Director Matt Redmond and AMD BJ Peake constructed the perfectly subtle and beautifully timed template for the action on stage. Nerissa Pierce (piano), Shelley Walker (violin) and Matthew Rumley (guitar/double bass) were located onstage and were hence an integral part of the whole. Shelley’s saccharine sweet violin solo to commence act two was much appreciated by an amused audience.
It is obvious that Director Adam Goodburn has a comprehensive affinity with the script by Jo DiPietro (book and lyrics) and his knowledge of and affection for the well-observed, well written and witty material was shared throughout by both cast and crew. I liked it all very much. If pressed I might choose the song ” Single Man Drought” as a bit of a standout. I also liked the segments “When a Man Texts a Woman”, “Wedding Vows”, “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz”, and of course ” The Family that Drives Together”.
I simply love the uncomplicated no nonsense honesty of the piece. Whilst the Dave Clark Five sang ” I’m in pieces, bits and pieces” in 1964, the Marie Clark Four are reminding us how it is in the 21st century. The content of the piece travels from Masters and Johnson’s provocative research into the nature of human sexuality in the 1950s to texting and sexting today. I’d like to go back and start again, wouldn’t we all? Brilliant!
Trentell Cast performance: Reviewed by David Evans
Consider the meanings of a few words such as Ensemble:- Tightness of performance, degree of precision achieved by players in performing together. Team:- A group of people with a common purpose. The Trentell cast met all the requirements of the above to perfection while carrying out the brilliant lyrics by Joe DiPietro and the music by Jimmy Roberts.
From their initial entrance it was obvious from their actions and the tones of their voices that we about to experience something special. Whether it was Man1, Trevor Anderson, and Woman 1, Casmira Lorien, performing together or any other combination with Man 2, Billy St John, Woman 2, Tegan Gully-Crispe or any combination of the four or all together or simply as solos the true to life stories were delivered faultlessly.
All members of the cast were given the opportunity to show off their singing, acting, humour and dramatic abilities and all excelled.
The Marie Clark organisation showed their professionalism when a problem arose at the end of scene 7 when a cast member was injured backstage. They immediately brought the interval forward. The show must go on so Robyn Brookes, of the Rose Cast, assumed the role of Woman 1 in place of the injured Casmira Lorien. The change allowed the show to progress seamlessly with Brookes showing her talents to a new audience.
As this was the first performance of the Trentell cast they should all be extremely proud of what they presented to the appreciative audience. Hopefully Casmira Lorien will make a quick and full recovery and be able to perform in future performances.