The Addams Family

The Addams Family

The Addams Family Rating

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There is so much to love about the Addams Family Musical comedy presented by the Metropolitan Theatre Company of SA Inc., which was originally formed in 1958 as the ‘Metropolitan Light Opera Company’. Performances first took place at the Unley and Norwood Town Halls before moving to the Arts Theatre in 1964, where the Company has remained.

I love that it was performed three streets from my house in a gorgeous little old theatre in Adelaide, The Arts Theatre.

I love that we left home a little bit too late to race there in my high heels, so hubby and I jumped on our scooter and it took us three minutes to scoot there, longer in fact to chain the scooter up outside.

I love that I could pull this old dress out of the wardrobe and nobody batted and eyelid. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been complimented on my outfit so much that I might wear it again!?!

I love that everybody was chatting in the foyer before entry, like a bunch of old friends.

I love that you could stand outside the stage door after the show to chat to the artists, if you could recognise them that is, as they left to celebrate their opening night.

Even my husband who gets dragged along to these things, and he loved it, which is a really really big compliment coming from him.

But now to the important thing, the performance

Fans of the Addams Family you will discover and love these actors and their characters immediately.

The show is brilliantly cast :

Ben Todd (Young Frankenstein, Spamalot,Guys & Dolls) playing Gomez Adams.

Selena Britz (One Touch of Venus, All That Jazz, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs) Morticia Adams.

Vanessa Crouch (The King & I, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hello Dolly!) Wednesday.

John McKay (Jack The Ripper, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pirates of Penzance) Uncle Fester.

Elizabeth Lee (characters such as The Beggar Woman, Hedy La Rue, Mrs Higgins) Grandma.

Tom Sheldon (Winnie The Pooh, The Sound of Music, Hairspray) Lucas Beineke.

Krystal Dally (Annie, Nice Work If You Can Get It) Alice Beineke.

Andrew Mayer (The Boyfriend, Fiddler on the Roof, Pirates of Penzance) Mel Beineke.

Jason Clark (Le Mis, Grease) is Lurch.

Pugsley shared between 14-year-old Phoebe Clark and 11-year-old Elijah Proctor.

And also a cast of 15 ancestors who were absolutely perfect support to the story.

Each main cast member had their time to shine with their song. As each cast member sang, I thought, this is the show stealer, until the next one, and I thought, this is the show stealer, and the next one, and I thought, this is the show stealer!!

If I really had to choose, I would say Vanessa. Wednesday was mesmerising, and you couldn’t take your eyes off her. Vanessa appeared in her first show at age five, and her state experience is evident.

The storyline is fabulous, giving each of the actors their moment in the sun.

It has a great message about the importance of family, mother-daughter struggles, long-term husband-and-wife dynamics, and the trials and tribulations of bringing new members into families.

Which coincidentally coincided with the first time that our eldest daughter brought her partner home to our house to meet us and her four siblings for a movie night tonight, so that aspect of the story was particularly relevant to my husband and I.

It was a long show, but it was so much fun that you didn’t feel it was too long.

A bonus was that during the break, we could order some lattes on an app, and my husband walked down to the On The Run on the corner, arriving back just in time for act two with some nice hot coffees.

The production team consisted of Caroline Adams, Director, Jane Feast, Musical Director, and Jacinta Vistolli, Choreographer. They should all be very proud of what they have created.

The only disappointment of the night was that I would’ve loved to have seen more guests in the house.

If you can get out and see this show, support our local talent, support our local venues, remember that these guys do this for the love of it and do a spectacular job, so let’s get behind them.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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Dear Diary

Dear Diary

Dear Diary Rating

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‘Dear Diary’, written by Kay Proudlove and directed by Leland Kean, opened last night at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. The one-woman show, starring Proudlove, is a balanced mix of nostalgia, self-deprecation, and musical comedy.

The show’s premise arose from a fateful day in Kay’s life when she was summoned to her parent’s house to clean out her childhood bedroom. The layout of the stage represented said bedroom, which felt both homey and oddly clinical, as she slowly removed the sense of comfort that comes from a safe space like a bedroom as the story progressed. Certain moments were punctuated with clothes being removed from the racks and piled up downstage, symbolising moving on and growing up.

The casual tone and delivery of the interwoven collection of stories made the performance feel like old friends catching up over coffee or a bottle of Moscato. The fourth wall was delicately danced around, with Proudlove referring to her writing process for the show and providing sidenotes and commentary on her memories and diary entries.

Kay’s generational humour and songs crafted from extracts of her teenage self’s diary had the audience in stitches. The stories of her high school crushes on both celebrities and boys she went to school with were hilarious and authentically awkward.

The selective use of a screen to show images and blow-up pages from her diary assisted in comedic timing and context and authenticating the words being read from the diary. It was wonderful to see her growth as a musician and a songwriter, as she has moved past her one verse and one chorus songs with a catalogue of beautiful, powerful, and reflective songs, as well as the majority of songs in ‘Dear Diary’ that are upbeat and lyrically diarised.

Growing up as a theatre kid and having big dreams like fame and going on a world tour are formative in the way young artists identify and shape their perspective on themselves and their environment. Her moment of realisation of her replaceability within her musical space struck a chord with me, who also put together performances and had big dreams of fame as a pre-teen. A sad part of growing up is looking back at all the plans your younger self had made, often with absolutely no understanding of the world and the inner workings of adulthood. Kay captured this beautifully with such raw emotion and simplicity.

If you grew up in the Illawarra and are looking for a healthy dose of nostalgia, this is the show for you. Grab yourself a ticket on the Merrigong Theatre Company website. ‘Dear Diary’ runs until Saturday, 11 May, at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre before continuing her national tour in Tasmania.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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Let’s Kill Agatha Christie – Plotting and Suspects in a Grey Room

Lets Kill Agatha Christie

Let’s Kill Agatha Christie Rating

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I didn’t know what to expect with a title such as this one, ‘Let’s Kill Agatha Christie’. Murder? Mystery? Plot twists, a curious and confident detective, and the Big Reveal at the end? Ms Agatha Christie serves as the contemporary writing adversary to the main character, Prudence Sykes (flamboyantly played by Caitlyn Clancy).

Although Agatha Christie does not appear in this play, her presence is felt – she is in the room, the aptly named Grey Room. Thanks to the director and set designer Gregory George, everything in this room, including the flowers and the fireplace, is grey. We are told that other rooms in the house are all painted different colours. Perhaps the reason the sitting room in this grand English mansion is grey could be because it reflects how Prudence feels inside, her insecurities, or maybe because it provides the backdrop and accentuates the characters’ colourful personalities.

Prudence, a prolific author of many novels (27, not 28 as one was rejected by her publisher) craves success as her crime novels have not reached the popularity of Agatha Christie. She desperately wants recognition and to be respected as a writer. Prudence hatches a plan. She invites three of her known enemies to her house and plants a script for them to find, giving each of them a reason to kill her.

The genre of the murder mystery thriller is explored, and The Genesian Theatre Company kept the audience guessing as to what was going to happen next. Michael Schell, who created the lighting and sound design, made full use of creating a dark atmosphere, especially with the music that played to open both the first and second act.

As each character was announced into the sitting room by the sardonic butler Tombs (played by Peter J Donnelly) I was already wondering who going to be the murderer.

Prudence’s guests were all successful – a self-made millionaire named Sir Frederick Belting, a successful poetess named Marjorie Field and a famous actor John Hartley – Miles. Theo Hatzistergos appeared to have fun portraying a pompous and arrogant Frederick, ordering Tombs to get his luggage from his car, (a Rolls Royce,) which he drops into the conversation several times. Natalie Reid returns to The Genesian Theatre to play Marjorie, who tries multiple times to recite her poetry aloud, despite the protestations of the other guests, which made the audience laugh. Bryan Smith brings the actor John to life in the play, giving him a nervous yet quite kind disposition.

A few more characters completed the cast, with Denise Kitching (Montgomery) as Angela Teal, Prudence’s PA, Andrea Blight as the shuffling and stooped Gladys the housemaid, who drew quite a few laughs due to her character’s personality, Brendan Layton as Inspector Murray and Harry Lewis as PC Crockett. Their accents were believably British for most of the performance and the costumes for all characters by Susan Carveth were convincing of the time period.

This play had a comedic element which ran all the way through. Veiled insults thrown at each other and clever quips were woven into the dialogue. Other times the comedy was physical – the top step tripping up the characters became a running theme, and it was funny watching how different characters dealt with this tiresome step.

‘Let’s Kill Agatha Christie’ was written by Anthony Hinds after he retired from making horror movies and published in 1990. It was an entertaining homage to the mystery murder genre and to Agatha Christie.

I watched the opening night’s performance on Saturday May 4 and it ran for 2 hours with a 20 minute interval. It is playing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the 8 June 2024.

The Genesian Theatre 420 Kent St, Sydney. Tickets from $30

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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Living Together

Living Together

Living Together Rating

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Celebrating its 75th year in community theatre, St. Jude’s Players present a lively rendition of “Living Together”, the second play in Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s renowned trilogy, “The Norman Conquests”. Directed by Les Zetlein, who, with four decades of dedication to St Jude’s community, offers a delightful escape into the quirky world of 1970s England.

Upon entering the theatre, audiences are greeted by a meticulously crafted set courtesy of the multi-talented Don Oakley. Oakley’s expertise shines through as he transports us to a cozy English living room, complete with all the nostalgic touches of the era. A dedicated team have ensured that every element of the production is seamless and authentic.

At the heart of the story is Norman, portrayed by Simon Lancione, whose antics set the stage for a weekend of chaos and comedy. Despite his moral shortcomings, Norman possesses a charismatic charm that allows him to manipulate and charm those around him, particularly the women in his life. Lancione, as Norman, is both witty and pervasive, often managing to avoid the consequences of his actions through his quick thinking and silver tongue.

Norman’s role in the trilogy is multifaceted. He serves as a catalyst for much of the conflict and chaos that unfolds, driving the plot forward with his reckless behaviour and romantic entanglements. At the same time, he is also a deeply human character, grappling with his own insecurities and desires beneath his charming facade.

Rebecca Butler shines as Ruth, Norman’s long-suffering wife, capturing her character’s mix of disgust, frustration, and eventual resignation. Adrian Heness brings humour and a very expressive character to the role of board-game inventor Reg, opposite Rose Harvey’s sharp-tongued portrayal of his wife, Sarah. Larry Waller’s portrayal of the harmless neighbourhood vet, Tom, adds a touch of dim-witted charm to the ensemble, while Carla Hardie delivers a compelling performance as Annie, the troubled sister burdened with the care of their mother, seeking a little excitement and distraction from her otherwise dull life.

The cast has great chemistry, with each member skilfully supporting each of their fellow actors to deliver a fast-paced, layered performance filled with comic timing. The result is a performance full absurdity, as the characters navigate through a weekend filled with unexpected twists and turns.

While the cast’s performances are commendable, the plotline may feel somewhat dated, with all three women seemingly revolving around Norman, whose flaws are glaringly apparent. Despite this, the production offers an engaging exploration of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships.

With its high production values and talented cast, St. Jude’s Players once again prove their commitment to delivering quality theatre and the audience laughed in all the right places creating an appreciative and warm atmosphere.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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