Theatre takes us on a his­tor­i­cal and hys­ter­i­cal trip to the 1950s for Ladies in Black, along with a Back to the 80s blast from the past

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - DRESSING ROOMERS - KATE PETERS

The big open­ing lo­cally this week was Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre’s Back to the 80s, a riproar­ing cel­e­bra­tion of a decade, chore­ographed and di­rected by An­drew Ross Gra­ham. A ca­pac­ity house wel­comed hits in­clud­ing Wake Me Up Be­fore You Go, Go, To­tal Eclipse of the Heart and many oth­ers, per­formed by a large, en­er­getic and tal­ented cast. As with so many lo­cal productions, it seems the tech­ni­cal side of things needs at­ten­tion that I’m sure it will get. The show is a ter­rific way to re­live the big hair and bright clothes of a decade many of us re­mem­ber with af­fec­tion. Book on­line or by call­ing 5532 2096. It runs un­til early March. An­other nos­tal­gic look at times gone by opens this week­end – Spot­light Theatre presents Satur­day Night Fever, based on the block­buster movie star­ring John Tra­volta. Call Spot­light Theatre on 5539 4255. The cast (al­most com­plete) of Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre’s forth­com­ing drama on the Ab­di­ca­tion of Ed­ward VIII has been an­nounced. The role of King Ed­ward (Duke of Wind­sor) will be played by Chris Cather­wood. King Ge­orge VI will be played by Rob Hor­ton, Queen El­iz­a­beth is Su­san Cary, Sir Wal­ter Mon­ck­ton is played by Doug Wil­liams, Ma­bell, Count­ess of Air­lie is Lee Pat­ter­son, the Queen’s Page is played by David Austin and Princess Mary is played by Louise Har­ris. Sev­eral other roles are still un­der dis­cus­sion, in­clud­ing Queen Mary, the mother of both kings. The play opens on May 6 and runs un­til May 27. Book­ings are open now on 5532 2096. An­other open­ing last week was the Help­mann Award win­ning new mu­si­cal, Ladies in Black, back on the Bris­bane stage and tak­ing au­di­ences on a his­tor­i­cal and some­times hys­ter­i­cal trip into the 1950s. Based on Made­line St Johns Novel Women in Black and adapted for stage by Carolyn Burns, the show takes you on a jour­ney through the in­tol­er­ance, dis­crim­i­na­tion and ex­clu­sion which was ram­pant in the era. The mu­sic and lyrics are pro­vided by Tim Finn which, although not writ­ten in the style of the ’50s era, skil­fully cre­ates a pic­ture of cul­ture and val­ues of the time. The songs, or­ches­trated by Guy Simp­son, range from charm­ingly witty to rau­cously ir­rev­er­ent, which makes for a sparkling ad­di­tion to the story. One is left won­der­ing what sur­pris­ing de­light will be next. The show re­volves around the life of Lisa, played by Sarah Mor­ri­son. She is a school leaver who is be­grudg­ingly al­lowed, by her ar­che­typal ’50s fa­ther, to take a temp job work­ing the cock­tail dresses counter at Goodes fash­ion store. Lisa is a clever girl and as­pires to go to univer­sity and be­come a poet. Her song Soon I Will Be Me sets the scene for her hopes and dreams to break out of her fa­ther’s ex­pec­ta­tions for her to be­come the du­ti­ful ’50s house­wife. David Young di­rected the mu­sic, which was pro­vided by the highly skil­ful on­stage band. The stage was sub­tly set with six crys­tal col­umns de­pict­ing the in­te­rior of Goodes. Scene changes were pro­vided by no less than three “re­volves” set into the stage. Set pieces for the store and other in­te­rior scenes were whooshed on and off stage with ex­pert tim­ing and smooth­ness thanks to the stage man­ager Will Lewis and his team. The cos­tumes looked com­pletely au­then­tic for the time. Although the show is called Ladies in Black there was plenty of colour and dif­fer­ent styles all from the ’50s to feast your eyes on. The sea­son runs un­til Fe­bru­ary 19 and tick­ets are sell­ing fast. This is a highly rec­om­mended show and not one to be missed. See you in a crowded foyer real soon.

Ladies in Black is back on the Bris­bane stage.

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