Fan­ta­sticks of­fers much to ap­pre­ci­ate

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - THE GROOVE - Kerstin Kehren

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

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