Saturday, 11 January 2014

Angelina Ballerina The Mousical, Jan 15, 2014 **1/2

Adapted by Miranda Larson from Katharine Holabird’s books
Produced by Nick Brooke Ltd & BOS Productions
Presented by Arts Centre Melbourne
State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, Jan 15 to 19, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 15
Stars: **1/2
 Review also published in print in Herald Sun on Sunday Jan 19, 2014. KH
Sophie Summers, Tyler Scott, Katherine McNamara, Joanna Gregory, Darren Burkett, Miracle Chance, 
 photo by Greer Versteeg 

Angelina Ballerina The Mousical has a captive audience of pre-schoolers because it is based on Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig’s hugely successful children’s books and animated TV series.

However, despite having a couple of entertaining chorus numbers and a simple message about the joys of collaboration, this UK production is inconsistent in quality and the under-five target audience lost focus intermittently, becoming wriggly and chatty.

It’s very cutely called a “mousical’ because, well, what else would you call a show with dancing and singing mice?

Angelina and her mousey friends live in the village of Chipping Cheddar, attend the Camembert Academy (yes, lots of cheese references), and win the opportunity to appear on their favourite TV show, Dancing With Mice. Cute! 

Angelina is nominated Dance Captain, but realises that she can’t develop the choreography alone and that her team of dancing mice must collaborate with each other to incorporate ideas from both the boys and the girls.

The mice finally make everyone’s dreams come true by merging boys’ and girls’ ideas to create monster princesses and space fairy pirates.

The group numbers are the strongest and most engaging for the children, especially Hey There Camembert and the perky finale with its simple lyrics about sharing: “Together, together, we just get better.”

The six youthful performers, led by Joanne Gregory as Angelina, play the likeable characters with appealing cheerfulness, but they have varying ability as dancers and singers.

Gregory, as the sweetie-pie Angelina, provides the expected classical ballet elements in the choreography.

Supporting Gregory are Katharine McNamara as scatty Alice, Sophie Summers as Gracie who likes sparkly things, Miracle Chance as Vikki who loves fairies, Darren Burke as Marco who is obsessed with superheroes, and Tyler Scott as AJ, the Hip Hop kid.

Disappointingly, Miranda Larson’s direction is unimaginative, with frequent and unnecessary movement of scenery, the songs are unmemorable, lyrics often inaudible, choreography unexciting and there was minimal interaction and participation for the tiny tots.

However, the target audience of 3 year olds will forgive the bumpiness of this production because of their adoration of their animated dancing hero, Angelina.

By Kate Herbert

Angelina Ballerine books written by Katharine Holabird, illiustrated by Helen Craig

Joanne Gregory Angelina
Sophie Summers Gracie likes sparkly things
Katharine McNamara Alice and Ms Mimi
Miracle Chance as Vikki loves fairies
Darren Burke as Marco costume superhero boy
Tyler Scott as AJ Hip Hop

Director and writer Miranda Larson
Choreographer Matthew Cole
 Composer Barrie Bignold
Set and costume Isla Shaw

 Angelina Ballerina The Mousical, Joanna Gregory, photo by Greer Versteeg 


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