Sunday, 18 December 2005

Musical Theatre Round Up, Melbourne, 2005

Musical Round Up 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
 Published in Herald-Sun, Melbourne

If you are all presuming my top pick of the musicals this year was The Lion King, presume again. No one show takes the prize this year; try as I would to find one with all the ingredients of a great musical.

The major shows were adaptations of movies. Does nobody have an original idea any more?

Saturday Night Fever started the year with a bang and featured the pick of The Bee Gees songs. The chorus numbers, Stayin' Alive, You Should Be Dancin' and Jive Talkin' were only topped by the spectacular dance finale that compelled the entire audience to jive in their seats.

However, the narrative was thin and much of the drama in the original movie was removed from this adaptation.

The opening of The Lion King was a 20-minute feast of dance, song and puppetry. This production looked gorgeous. The direction, body puppetry and choreography were innovative and the African musical pieces and singers were the highlight for me. My reservations were with most of the Elton John music and the thinness of the script that was borrowed from the animated feature.

Another show using fabulous pop songs was Mamma Mia, in its return season.
The show was stolen by the sassy trio of Sophie Paladino, Jenny Vuletic and Emma Powell wearing shiny 60s suits and singing Super Trouper. Yet again, the finale was a huge success.

The Production Company wins accolades for its concert productions of Oklahoma and Sunset Boulevarde, Where are our new Rodgers and Hammerstein?

Long live the musical – in whatever form!

Kate Herbert

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