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, 29 January 2015
Loving Repeating, 28 Jan 2015 ****
A musical of Gertrude Stein
by Stephen Flaherty; lyrics by Gertrude Stein; adapted by Frank Galati,
presented by Vic Theatre Company Chapel off Chapel, until Feb
8, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: **** Review also published in Herald Sun online Fri 30 Jan, 2015 and in print later. KH.
Deidre Rubenstein and cast in Loving Repeating
Look out! There’s a new musical theatre gang in town and they’re debut show is
pretty damn good.
Langley’s production of Loving Repeating, a musical adapted by Frank Galati from the writings of famous, US expatriate
poet, Gertrude Stein (Deidre Rubenstein), is assured, sleek, entertaining
and just a little bit challenging.
eclectic, non-narrative style of the show corresponds to Stein’s ownabstract, poetic writings while the
title refers to her continuing love of the repetition of words, phrases and
ideas in her work.
“A rose is a rose is a rose,” probably her
most famous line, is clearly the inspiration for the sensual, red rose motif in
the set design (Nathan Weyers).
not linear in structure, the show provides a stylised chronology of Stein’s
life, highlighting her Psychology studies at college, her burgeoning passion
for women, her lifelong relationship with Alice B. Toklas (Gillian Cosgriff,
Nicole Melloy) and her idiosyncratic writing style.
gleefully inhabits the formidable but engaging character of Stein and, perched
in a pulpit-like box, provides narration based on Stein’s musings on diverse
topics including language, love and relationships.
Rubenstein portrays the wisdom and sturdiness of the older Gertrude, the
compelling Caitlin Berry sings with passion as young Gertrude, while Jennifer
Peers captures the mature, middle-aged Stein.
rhythmic language of Stein’s poetry translates impeccably into song lyrics set
to music by Stephen Flaherty.
Ben Kileyleads a tight, tuneful onstage band playing
range of styles that includes modern music theatre tunes, 20s jazz, languorous cowboy
songs and moving ballads.
talented ensemble of 13 singer-dancers performs Michael Ralph’s snappy, slick choreography that
ranges from gestural movement to Busby Berkeley spectacle and Bob Fosse
performers skillfully play multiple roles and provide a powerful and richly
harmonised, vocal chorus.
highlight is the series of playful, sassy songs about the “gay” lifestyle of Miss
Furr (Emily Paddon-Brown) and Miss Skeene (Sage Douglas) and the accompanying,
sexually charged scenes that feature the sultry, male chorus in various states
of leather-clad undress.
Repeating is cheeky, funny and poignant with an edge of larrikinism that blends
beautifully with its sleek professionalism.
Theatre Company may have a dull company name but its first production is imaginative
and diverting which augurs well for the future.
Gertrude Stein Deidre Rubenstein;
Young Gertrude, Caitlin Berry;
Middle-age Gertrude, Jennifer Peers;
Young Alice, Gillian Cosgriff;
Alice B Toklas, Nicole Melloy;
Helen Furr, Emily Paddon-Brown;
Georgine Skeene, Sage Douglas;
Melloy, Oliver Reading, Mitchell Ralston and Alex Given.