A cheeky re­gards to Broad­way

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - RICHARD MAYS

There are high­points and high notes aplenty as a tight singing and act­ing en­sem­ble make the most of this musical mer­ri­ment.

Forbidden Broad­way is an af­fec­tion­ate cabaret style spoof of hit Broad­way shows where the lyrics of well-known musical theatre arias are rewrit­ten, stage con­ven­tions par­o­died, and their char­ac­ters are re­de­fined.

While there are a num­ber of in­jokes about the orig­i­nal shows and their prom­i­nent per­form­ers, no one needs to be a die-hard musical theatre buff to ap­pre­ci­ate the send-ups, or en­joy some top per­form­ers strut­ting their stuff. De­scribed as a re­vue,

Forbidden Broad­way would make an ideal night­club table-show. On­stage musical di­rec­tor Kirsten Clark pounds out the tunes on an upright pi­ano, and at times gets in­volved in the an­tics.

Clark’s face pos­i­tively glowed when any num­ber went par­tic­u­larly well, as many of them did, with per­haps the ex­cep­tion of the

Mamma Mia! seg­ment, which looked a lit­tle un­der­done com­pared to the rest of the show.

But there is plenty to com­mend. There was Liam Peter Tay­lor’s ex­quis­ite drag ap­pear­ances as Liza Minelli and Bar­bra Streisand, and as a stray from

Cats. Corey Clark bril­liantly plun­dered Les Mis and other falsetto pieces, while Jo Sale clev­erly un­der­mined An­nie and Fan­tine from Les Mis.

Chris Thomp­son pil­lo­ried Stephen Sond­heim and pre­sented as a non-plussed Phan­tom, while Erica Ward chan­nelled per­for­mance le­gend Ethel Mer­man and re­vis­ited Hair­spray in a show that was laced with sparkles.

Among them was the mimed re­volv­ing stage dur­ing the ex­tended More Mis­er­ables seg­ment, and the singing har­monies in the Rent send-up.

A well-paced whirl­wind tour that raced through 31 show songs,

Forbidden Broad­way never out­stayed its wel­come in any one place as it slickly segued from musical skit to musical skit.

Di­rec­tor An­drea Maxwell showed ex­cel­lent at­ten­tion to de­tail in a fun vi­brant show that de­serves to be any­thing but ‘forbidden’.

SUP­PLIED

Chris Thomp­son, Erica Ward, Liam Tay­lor and Jo Sale in ‘‘Forbidden Broad­way’s Great­est Hits’’.

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