Reviewed by Jack Curtiss
Earlier this year it looked as if Burnside Players might actually have to fold its tent and go the way of so many other once vibrant community theatre companies which have disappeared over the decades.
Happily that did not happen..a new, younger leadership group came to the fore and the venerable Burnside showed that reports of its impeding demise were premature at best.
A key factor in this turnaround is the energetic style of the new Burnside President Marcel Blanch-de Wilt, who wrote and directed Open Mic an improvisational-style send-up of the amateur stand-up nights that have proved popular with otherwise struggling bars and nightclub hard-pressed to attract clientele.
Ordinarily the dance hall configuration of the Burnside venue is a handicap to staging drama but the ballroom confines of the site suit this production beautifully because its supposed to happen in a bar.
A hit as an offering at the Adelaide Fringe earlier, it is an eccentric-sort of musical.
The pace is frenetic and almost none of the songs is performed to completion and the assorted ‘losers’ struggling to leave Adelaide and hit it big in Melbourne, New York or LA are rather difficult to keep track of..but the show crackles with an urgent energy and appeal.
It will be interesting to see how this massive dose of new blood reinfuses the previously hardened Burnside arteries and whether it truly grants the group a new lease on life or provides just a fleeting pause down the path the company had been headed.
To be sure, fielding a troupe of talented youngsters as populated this show was a positive sign for the future.