Spies Are Forever – Flinders University Performing Arts Society (FUPAS)

Spies Are Forever – Flinders University Performing Arts Society (FUPAS)

‘Diamonds are forever’? No, but spies certainly are in this Australian premiere, Spies Are Forever. The show, by Corey Lubowich, Joey Richter and Brian Rosenthal with music and lyrics by Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers, is a musical romp through the spy world. All that is expected of a spy story is here: the super-cool master spy who can be rash and impulsive; the beautiful Russian spy; the deadliest and dastardly of villains; gun fights, chases and of course casinos.

The plot involves super-super spy Curt Mega (Jarrad Prest) who, four years ago, saw his partner Owen Carvour (Lucas Tennant) killed. Having basically broken down and gone to pot, Mega has decided that the time is now right to make a comeback and save the world. Can he do it? Probably – but it ain’t going to be easy!

Director Jessie Chugg has thrown every bit of her skill and obvious knowledge of the spy genre into this production – and for the most part, it works. Her use of the Parks Theatre One venue utilises all of its little quirks – semi-circular stage, tunnels, balconies and the auditorium steps – to their full potential, giving the audience quite an immersive feel. Chugg has produced some very clever scenes – the climatic chase and final fight scenes in particular. Talk about immersive – at one stage this reviewer had the hero and villain shooting it out over my head!

The four piece band led by Jarrod Matulick (Keys I) and featuring Colleen Szeto (Keys II), Lochie Daniel (Percussion) and Hamish Westbury (Guitar/Bass) gives out an absolutely fantastic blast of sound.

Chloe Short’s choreography is a great salute to a 60s/70s ‘spy’ vibe with many (perhaps a little too many?) ‘Get Smart”/”Charlie’s Angels” style gun poses, go-go and Disco moves, and a clever little nod to all those great James Bond opening titles.

Before I go any further, I must mention the one big hiccup to the production: the sound quality emanating from the performers was poor. They were all miked up, but whether those mics were turned on is debatable. The clever lyrics were lost most of the time (of the theme song, I only heard “Spies Are Forever” every time those words were sung and barely then). There were some notable exceptions whose dialogue and lyrics were nearly always crystal clear: Prest (Curt Mega), Tennant (Owen Cavour), Olivia Tod (Tatiana Slozhno) and Will Faulds (Dr Baron Von Nazi). As the Deadliest Man Alive, Dennis Broadby was physically right for the part and acted it well, but may have well been a mime artist as his volume was almost non-existent all the way through.

Another slight little niggle for this reviewer was the way ‘over the top’ acting from a couple of the actors. While send-up needs to be overexaggerated, these overdid it: Tom Hodgkinson’s Susan was way too much in the silly/childish vein; whilst Marley Haitana basically screamed all the time as Mrs Mega making her dialogue almost impossible to make out. Her loud Bronx accent was good, but the comedy was lost because of the over the top screeching.

As the spy to top all spies, Curt Mega, Prest is wonderful. He’s brash, tough, likable and vulnerable – all to the right degree. His projection is great and if there was an award for “Best Vocalising Whilst Wearing A Fake Beard”, he’d be a shoe-in. His solo early on in Act One, Spy Again is brilliant and the possible highlight of the evening.

Tod as beautiful Russian spy, Tatiana, is perfection. She works well with Prest and sparkles whenever she is on stage. Tennant, as Mega’s partner, is another one who works well with Prest and has great stage presence.

The standout performance and characterisation however has to be that of Will Faulds as Dr Baron Von Nazi. Their first appearance on stage is so very Reuben Kaye-esque (complete with bright red high heels) and hilarious. If that is not enough, they top it off with a great cartoonish German accent. Faulds then proceeds to superbly ‘ham’ it up by presenting a wonderfully politically incorrect ditty, Not So Bad, that easily rivals Mel Brooks’ Springtime For Hitler for hilarious inappropriateness.

All in all, this is a good escapist night out. But please leave your Walther PPK at the door!

- Advertisement -

This production was reviewed by:

Latest reviews