Reviewed by Paul Davies

May 2014

The future of theatre in South Australia could not be in better hands. 

Reviewing can be a bit of a mixed bag, and occasionally, unfortunately, I have to struggle to find something nice to say, and I’m very aware that a negative word can wound, scar, and put off someone who might otherwise blossom and bloom into a really good performer.

There are no such qualms here. Rebecca Knott and her extraordinary and extensive team have produced an excellent evenings entertainment that cannot be overrated. There are voices here that are better than you’ll hear on many-a TV talent show. 

Does it sound like I’m a raving fan? I’ve not even started yet.

There’s a stroke of theatrical genius that builds the excitement with syncopated clapping and foot-stomping before the curtain even goes up, and once that happens the show moves along at a cracking pace.A pet peeve of mine is weight behind dance moves, too often choreography is rendered ordinary by a lack of meaning to the movements. There is no such fault here. I was impressed

The figures are mind-boggling I recon over one hundred and ten performers, and a hundred and eighty crew in sixteen departments producing eighteen scenes and fourty-nine individual numbers or sketches. Sixty sets, over five-hundred new costumes and three thousand older ones to be checked. Kilometers of material, and wiring. Liters and liters of paint and glue. And not a weak link in any of it!

Another peeve of mine is smiling. There can never be too much, it needs to start at the first rehearsal, it needs to be ingrained. It is the performers who smile who stand out on stage, regardless of what they’re doing, and in picking out the pieces I enjoyed most, it may well be that simply smiling made the difference.

It’s hard to pick out individuals, it seems a little unfair to be honest, but then this is a theatre review! My regret is not knowing the names of performers to be able to better identify them, but I hope some will recognise themselves.Pinocchio took me back to my own childhood in a heartbeat. And for that I loved it, -big puppet feet and everything. 

The Song of Australia gave me goose-bumps  Harry Potter was certain to show up in a compilation of children’s books, and everyone looked the part. The principles here were exemplary, it’s not often where you can say “upstaged by a peanut” but they made this piece for me.

My ten year-old son who joined me loved the Library Membership Sketch, but then anything with the word ‘bottom’ would have got his vote. There was more to the piece though, the protagonists acting up a storm, and the slapstick was brilliant.Talking of upstaging, the piece of cheddar in a flat-cap was also a scene-stealer. –Well done mate! In the colours scene, can I just say that not everyone could carry off being a paintbrush. –The secret is to know that you’re brilliant at it, and then you are. Again Bravo! Guinevere dropping her hankie to check out Lancelot’s credentials was also wonderfully done.

The pirates sketch had tonnes of stand-out moments. The gender-changing pirate’s beard, knight-fall, and the Benny Hill strobe-light chase, but also Mum and the kids, really well done.Where’s Wally does Blondie was another stoke of genius. And Revolting Children – I loved the soloist, a gifted vocalist.

The Finale provided another couple of goose-bump moments, and I was surprised at how quickly the evening had passed, and although that’s intended as a compliment, I have a better one to give. It seems that the aforementioned ten-year-old son may actually have been inspired to find some boards to tread. 

Thank you Comedy Capers Gang Show!

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