Fantasticks offers much to appreciate
THERE is much to admire about Cairns Choral Society’s latest musical, The Fantasticks.
The John Hughes-directed production opened at the group’s Greenslopes St hall last Friday and continues its run until January 28.
A sweet story about love and home, it features a cast of just eight. A girl and a boy, Luisa and Matt, are unknowingly brought together by their mischievous fathers.
The older men pretend to feud but secretly organise a mock abduction that will allow Matt to rescue Luisa and bring an end to the “animosity” between their parents.
But life is not a fairytale and the path to happily ever after is not so easily trodden.
Having first opened offBroadway in 1960, some of the content in The Fantasticks can seem old fashioned at times.
But such observations do not substantially detract from the overall charm of its narrative and the smart production, design and casting choices that offer audiences much to appreciate from visits to see it.
The Fantasticks is not a musical performed on a grand scale with big sets, but its clever staging makes the most of its setting in the Cairns Choral Society hall.
Tiered seating offers good views of the onstage action, while the sound and lighting are also more than up to the job. The venue will no doubt be a wonderful addition to the cultural life of Cairns and is an asset to its society.
The production itself is versatile and imaginative in its stage design. A prop box that holds more than inanimate objects is particularly worth looking out for.
Andrea Mullens as Luisa and Daniel Darveniza as Matt stand out as truly talented vocalists. Their singing voices would seem to be of a professional standard and are lovely heard live. Andrea’s portrayal as the naive Luisa allows her character to be sympathetic and amusing.
The opening number Try to Remember is performed primarily by Dale Schultz (El Gallo) and is beautifully sung. Ricky Cooper (Bellomy) and Damien Cavanah (Hucklebee) are a well-matched odd couple, while Rohan Treanor manages to shine in a role that actually has no lines.
The two actors-for-hire Henry and Mortimer are played by Wayne Rees and Roger Sandford respectively. Together, they are a treat to watch. Wayne Rees, in particular, looks at homeas an ageing Shakespearean actor.
The Fantasticks features elements of whimsy and genuine laugh-out-loud moments. And, while most of the songs do not jump out as classics, their performance can hardly be faulted.
Jonathan Hickey and Bobbie-Jean Henning in The Fantasticks
Actress Kate del Castillo