REVIEW: Australian Premiere of HIGH FIDELITY The Musical

Spin the record

By Narelle Wood

High Fidelity the musical, the latest production by Pursued by Bear, is a fun look at the ups and downs of relationships, making mix tapes and coping with becoming the-most-pathetic-man-in-the-world.

Set in ‘the last real record store on earth’, the musical follows Rob (Russell Leonard), the record store’s owner, through his break-up with girlfriend Laura (Simone Van Vugt). In amongst the heartbreak, Rob finds himself slapped by female friend Liz (Lisa Woodbrook), haunted by girlfriends past, and having to work with his two quirky staff members Dick (Liam O’Bryne) and Barry (Scott Mackenzie), not to mention dealing with Laura’s new love interest, Ian (Jason Bentley).

High Fidelity

In typical Nick Hornsby-style, High Fidelity has lots of quips and sarcasm, and director David Ward has guided his cast to deliver their lines with superb comedic timing. Not only do the leads provide laughs in their dialogue but there are also some brilliant comedic moments subtly delivered by the chorus; at times it was difficult to know where to look, there was just so many character idiosyncrasies to take in. Comedy aside, there are some amazing singing performances, most notably Van Vugt, Mackenzie, Woodbrook and Anisha Sanaratine as Marie La Salle

There were some small opening night issues with what appeared to be some first-performance nerves at the start of the show, and some technical issues with the microphones and some lighting cues. The biggest problem was the choreography; with such a small stage and a fairly large cast there were times when there was too much going on and the dancing seemed to be there unnecessarily. That being said, when the choreography had a purpose it was brilliant, for instance at the start of the show and when Ian visits Rob: these moments ended up being amongst my favourite parts.

This is the Australian premier of High Fidelity and the program acknowledges the risk that Pursued by Bear has taken with this production, but the risk has definitely paid off. Between the music, the funny moments and the storyline, this is not just a must see, but a must see twice.

Venue: Chapel off Chapel,
Season: 11 – 21 September, Thursday – Saturday 7.30pm, Sunday 5pm
Tickets: $37.50 Full | $32.50 Conc