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, 11 July 2013
Gypsy, (with Caroline O'Connor) July 10, 2013 ****1/2
Book by Arthur Laurents; Music by Jule Styne; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim By
The Production Company State Theatre, Melbourne Arts Centre, July 6 to 14, 2013 Reviewer:
Kate Herbert on July 10 Stars: **** 1/2
Review also published in Herald Sun in
print on Fri July 12, 2013 and later online. KH
Caroline O'Connor as Rose in Gypsy
Edwards’ exuberant production of Gypsy is a star vehicle showcasing musical
theatre luminary Caroline O’Connor’s thrilling voice and incomparable
performance in a role that confirms her position in musical theatre royalty.
crowd goes wild when the impish O’Connor first appears on stage clutching a
pug, and her virtuoso performance as Rose deserves every cheer that follows.
inspired by the life of sophisticated stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee (Christina Tan),
this landmark musical spotlights her ruthlessly ambitious stage mother, Rose, as
she forges a career in Vaudeville for her daughters, Louise/Gypsy (Tan) and
June (Gemma-Ashley Kaplan).
production surrounds O’Connor with an exceptional cast, accomplished orchestra
(conducted by Guy Simpson), elegant design (Adam Gardnir) and atmospheric, show-biz
lighting (Paul Jackson, Robert Cuddon).
portrays the bossy, driven Rose with compassion and humour, not depicting her
as a monster, but rather as a feisty lioness ensuring the survival of her cubs.
Rose is a bold, doll-like, mischievous clown with a big personality, an even
bigger voice and some genuinely hilarious physical comedy.
is delicious to witness O’Connor’s consummate, nuanced and detailed performance
of songs including Some People, the thrilling Everything’s Coming Up Roses, and
her hilariously wicked chorus routine in Mr. Goldstone.
O’Connor’s stunningly passionate, poignant version of Rose’s Turn is her most
compelling and inspiring moment as Rose charts her desperate journey to fulfil
her unrequited dreams through her daughters; she leaves the audience
adroitly portrays Rose’s less talented daughter Louise’s metamorphosis from
clumsy, introverted child into the sassy, confident and elegant Gypsy Rose Lee,
with a stylish strip routine inventively choreographed by Andrew Hallsworth.
Dallimore, Nicki Wendt and Anne Wood, playing three outrageously costumed strippers
in a Burlesque House, steal the show for a scene as they bump and grind through
their raunchy tune, You Gotta Get A Gimmick.
Hetherington is sympathetic and warm-voiced as Rose’s long-suffering lover
Herbie, Kaplan captures the frustrated ambition of wannabe child-star June, and
Nathan Pinnell’s dance routine, All I Need Is The Girl, is impressive.
Laurents’ cunningly wrought story celebrates the magic of show business but
also depicts its pitfalls and broken dreams, while his dialogue creates
rounded, complex and credible characters.
Jule Styne created distinctive, memorable songs that are complemented by
Stephen Sondheim’s witty, intelligent and unforgettable lyrics.
the combined theatrical firepower of this rags-to-riches story, toe-tapping
songs, and the impeccable performance of Caroline O’Connor, this production is
a certified winner.