Thursday, 22 November 2012

Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert, Nov 21, 2012 ***1/2

Book & Lyrics, Doug MacLeod; Music, Yuri Worontschak
By Present Tense
Theatreworks, until Dec 1, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Wed, Nov 21, 2012
Stars: 3&1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Friday, Nov 23, 2012

Who knew that diminutive, Aussie icon, Margaret Fulton, lived a bohemian life amongst hookers and artists in The Rocks in Sydney, and had a penchant for ‘decorative, elegant and useless’ men?

Astonishingly, the life of this pavlova queen has enough drama, romance and piles of sweetness to make Doug Macleod and Yuri Worontschak’s funny, often cheesy musical, Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert, a success.

The formidably talented Amy Lehpamer is warm, elegant, feisty and laconic as Margaret, although significantly taller, and her passionate and skilful singing raises the roof.

MacLeod cherry-picks episodes and characters from Fulton’s life in his biographical narrative, then teases them into goofy scenes populated with clown-like caricatures.

MacLeod’s lyrics are witty and Woronschak’s musical styles range from blues to pop and jazz to latin beats.

My personal musical faves include the sassy, latin chorus number, La Vie Boheme, the funky tune, London Swings, and a rousing anthem about Margaret’s cookbook.

The show is light and fluffy as a souffle until Margaret finds ‘genuine emotion and serious devotion’ with her beloved, third husband, Michael, played sympathetically by Zoy Frangos who shares the moving, love duet, Beautiful, with Lehpamer.

Josh Price is hilarious as a parade of obnoxious men, including Margaret’s carousing, philandering Irish husband, Laura Burzacott is bold and brassy as Bea, the big-hearted Sydney hooker, and Zoe McDonald is the voice of reason as Margaret’s mother.

Directors, Bryce Ives and Nathan Gilkes, keep the rhythm fast, the style broadly comical and the tone respectful.

Margaret Fulton really is the ‘Aussie icon, living national treasure’ and Queen of the Dessert, which is why the crowd gave her a standing ovation opening night.

By Kate Herbert

 Amy Lehpamer, Laura Burzacott, Zoy Frangos, Josh Price, Zoe McDonald

 Book & Lyrics, Doug MacLeod; Music, Yuri Worontschak; Directors, Bryce Ives & Nathan Gilkes; Lighting Design, Scott Allan

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