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.
Thursday, 23 May 2013
flowerchildren, May 22, 2013 ***1/2
flowerchildren: The Mamas and Papas Story
Peter Fitzpatrick, featuring songs of The Mamas and the Papas Presented by Magnormos
Theatre, May 22 until June 23, 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on May 22 Stars: *** 1/2 This review published in Herald Sun online on May 27, 2013. KH
The impressive and
unforgettable hit songs by 1960s group, The Mamas and the Papas, combined with
the chaotic but passionate personal lives of its members, makes Peter
Fitzpatrick’s musical, flowerchildren,
both entertaining and moving.
A versatile cast (Matt Hetherington,
Laura Fitzpatrick, Dan Humphris, Casey Donovan) effortlessly sing the complex
harmonies, difficult melodies and distinctive lyrics, capturing the
idiosyncratic sound of the Californian, Flower Power quartet.
Their four-part harmonies
make such classics as California Dreamin’, Creeque Alley, Monday Monday, and I
Saw Her Again Last Night, absolutely thrilling to hear.
Hetherington, with his
affecting vocal tone, is compelling and impassioned as the formidably talented
but drug-addled and arrogant songwriter, John Phillips, the man responsible for
most of the band’s memorable tunes.
Laura Fitzpatrick finds
sensitivity, playfulness and sincerity in Michelle, Phillips’ unfaithful wife,
and her rendition of Dedicated To The One I Love is sweetly emotional.
Former winner of
Australian Idol, Casey Donovan’s powerful, exhilarating voice captures the
unique vocal quality of Mama Cass, bringing joy and pain to her signature solo
hit, Dream A Little Dream Of Me.
Papa Denny was perhaps
the unsung member of the band, but Humphris, with his bright tenor, sensitively
plays this lovelorn, booze-raddled, young man.
the story chronologically over the brief years of the band’s heyday, with each
of its four sections narrated in turn by a band member, with dialogue often
intercut amongst the songs.
This return season of
flowerchildren has a more elaborate design and fuller sound, but it still needs
some script editing to tighten dialogue and to shorten or omit some scenes that
Aaron Joyner’s direction concentrates
on the relationships, characters and songs, while musical director, Sophie
Thomas, leads a tight, on-stage band that provides rich, full musical backing
for the songs.
The combination of timeless
melodies counterpointed with personal tragedy, addiction and infidelity, makes
flowerchildren a poignant and individual story.