Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 25 January 2006
Seriously. Pet Shop Boys. Reinterpreted, Jan 25, 2006
Seriously. Pet Shop Boys. Reinterpreted Music by Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe Produced by David Knox, Dean Lotherington and Shaun Miller
Chapel off Chapel, Prahran, Jan 25 to Feb 12, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 25, 2006
Seriously is just what the subtitle says: a reinterpretation of songs by The Pet Shop Boys. Director, David Knox, with Musical Director, Dean Lotherington, creates a compelling evening of cabaret, song, some drama and an excellent five-piece musical ensemble.
The show incorporates innumerable hits by The Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The musical duo always had a significant gay following but the romantic and passionate lyrics are always ambiguous, allowing the heterosexual fans to relate.
Lotherington’s inventive arrangements are interpreted by five singers: Maria Mercedes, Tania Doko, David Gould, Paul Ross and Anthony Costanza.
The list of songs is lengthy: Seriously, Flamboyant, Domino Dancing, Jealousy, You Only Say You Love Me When You’re Drunk, Miracles, Love Comes Quickly and more.
Knox cunningly provides a simple dramatic scenario for each song. This convention allows the singers to communicate an emotional intention through the lyrics rather than simply singing the song. They play all kinds of love stories ranging from new romance to eyes across a crowded room, separations, infidelities and love lost.
The stage design (Jeremy Smith), with huge sheer white drapes and a white chaise, gives a light, open and flexible space for various moods and interpretations.
Words such as Suspicion, Reaction and Infidelity are perhaps too obviously projected onto the curtains. The lyrics, music and singers give us sufficient information.
The opening Prologue allows each singer a short solo song. Then, the quintet sings a passionate, cleverly arranged version of Red Letter Day that is reprised as a rousing finale.
Ross and Costanza do a charming duet of separated lovers in Send Me An Email To Say I Love You. Costanza and Mercedes warmly sing a parting friends story in You’ve Got A Home Here and Mercedes gives a moving rendition of So Sorry, I Said. Costanza’s bright voice is perfect for Miracles.
Gold’s consummate vocal skill and velvety bass baritone lends weight and style to the entire show and his I Can’t Say Goodnight, is a highlight. Doko’s sultry version of Rent is perfectly suited to her smoky voice.
What Have I Done to Deserve This, sung by all five, is a complex arrangement that gives a new edge to this hit song.