Tag: Scott Mackenzie

StageArt Presents THE FULL MONTY

Yes, they do

By Tania Herbert

StageArt‘s production of the Broadway version of The Full Monty with book with Terrence McNally and score by David Yasbek opened to a full house and enthusiastic audience, and a vibrant cast and impressive production team certainly gave it their all.

the-full-monty2017-stageart-wem-etuknma-scott-mackenzie-giancarlo-salamanca.jpg

That said, there is a reason that The Full Monty doesn’t get regularly produced in Australia – unfortunately the show is, overall, fairly awful. The same storyline as the wonderful 1997 British film is more or less followed, however by Americianising the storyline and approach, nothing is gained but so very much is lost. Lacking depth, sensitivity, and self-insight, it’s inherently a limited script which doesn’t even get close to doing justice to the range of social and emotional issues that the original film touched upon.

That said, this cast certainly performed the heck out of it– managing to bring likeability to a series of fairly unlikable American stereotypes. Scott Mackenzie took on the lead of Jerry and did an admirable job of pulling the story along, and sidekick Dave, played by Giancarlo Salamanca, sang beautifully. However, the somewhat dragging first act was well and truly saved by the character roles-  Wem Etuknwa as ‘Horse’, Barbara Hughes as Jeanette and Ana Mitsikas as Vicki all enter the show quite late, but really added the comic element and brought about a much needed lift.

It said something that the musical’s showstopper was the filler number Jeanette’s Showbiz Number– although the better-paced second act not only brought a lot more laughs, but really built a sense of anticipation of the finale as the other big and highly enjoyable showstopper moment (and in case you’re wondering- yes, they do).

The music is neither memorable nor particularly interesting, with the exception of the exquisite funeral song You Walk With Me, touchingly performed here by Montgomery Wilson with Adam Perryman. Despite this, the musical direction (by Nathan Firmin) was superb, utilising the very vocally strong ensemble to the fullest.

The staging under the direction of Drew Downing was interesting and contemporary- a minimalist construction site set brought in lots of movement and levels, and the onstage band added a bit of a rock-musical feel.

The Full Monty is, unfortunately, not a great musical,- but StageArt’s production was still a highly enjoyable evening with a rocking cast, slick production and plenty of talent on show (pun intended).

The Full Monty is presented by StageArt and is playing at The National Theatre from March 3 until March 19.

Tickets: $49-$74 from www.stageart.com.au

Image by Belinda Strodder

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
Bookings: http://chapeloffchapel.com.au/ticket-sales/