SWEENEY TODD A WINNER
Spotlight Theatre’s last show of the year, which runs until next Saturday, is an intimate, slick and darkly scary musical with a great cast
reat to be back from Broadway and seeing the enthusiasm of Gold Coast audiences for the shows coming up in 2015. It’s also good to hear Phoenix Ensemble has had a hit season with Jesus Christ Superstar which has three weekends left – closing night is Saturday, November 22. I was unable to attend the opening night of Spotlight Theatre’s last show of the year, Sweeney Todd, so I sent a sub. They said that under the direction of Tess Bourke, the theatre has mounted an intense, well-sung and wellperformed production of the musical. It’s intimate, slick and darkly scary. Set designer Michael Sutton hit the mark, as usual. The cast itself gives this show true greatness and leads Anne McMahon and Lionel Theunissen have a special stage chemistry. Adam Sealy playing Anthony Hope, Johanna’s love interest, was the standout performance. Adam’s beautiful voice and wonderful acting added depth to this show. I spent the last week in New York catching up on the current season’s shows – with Monday night being black for all but about six shows, we managed to get in a beautifully crafted whodunit called Perfect Crime (which has been running for 27 years) at a gorgeously restored smaller theatre in the Snapple Theatre Centre, just off-Broadway. A four-hander, it’s fast and well-constructed and the theatre itself if intimate and beautiful. I also caught the Cyndi Lauper/Harvey Fierstein creation Kinky Boots – last year’s Tony Winner. It’s a fabulous example of how an unlikely plot can become a hit show. The next night saw us at this year’s Tony Award Winner for Best Musical – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. This turn-of-thecentury story is filled with the slickest movement and song I’ve seen for a long time, telling the story of an unlikely heir who disposes of the competition in a very funny way. Incidentally, all the theatres over there are full, all the restaurants are doing a roaring trade and even though Americans are all talking about “hard times”, there seem to be a lot of people out enjoying a bumper Broadway season. Other shows on offer include Chicago, Cabaret, Pippin, Cinderella (with the Nanny Fran Drescher playing the Ugly Stepmother), Les Miserables, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Matilda and Mowtown the Musical. Stuart Lumsden’s The Pajama Game opens on Saturday night. The first performance will be a charity evening tonight for the Leukaemia Foundation. Patrons will also get the chance to learn more about the foundation when they attend this show. GCLT is helping to promote this very worthwhile organisation in the Green Room throughout the season run, which is from November 8-December 6. Auditions for the second show for GCLT in 2015, Dawn China’s production of Abigail’s Party, will be held on November 15. Phone Dawn on 0413 666 815 or email email@example.com for audition scripts. Other productions on the horizon include Farndale Avenue … Christmas Carol, opening at Tamborine Mountain’s Zamia Theatre tomorrow, the Ray Cooney farce It Runs in the Family which opens at Tugun Theatre Company next weekend alongside Ballina Players’ High Society and Javeenbah’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress opens November 21. Bookings for all shows are open now. Check individual companies’ websites for info. Joan Stalker-Brown, director of the latest Farndale play A Christmas Carol, has faced several challenges in the leadup to the opening. One actor pulled out of the leading role early in the piece, another actor withdrew for ill health and there were two deaths within the five cast members families. This is the second show in a row for Joan where she has had to deal with major cast changes but she is following the mantra “‘the show must go on”. And on it will go tomorrow night, with a seven-performance season ending on November 22.
Sweeney Todd continues its successful run at Spotlight Theatre.