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.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
Jerry's Girls, Nov 21, 2015 ***
Jerry's Girls;concept by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento & Jerry Herman; music & lyrics by Jerry Herman; produced by The Production Company Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, Nov 21 to Dec 6, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: *** Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Monday Nov 23, 2015 & later in print,KH
In his musicals, Jerry Herman wrote plenty of outstanding
roles for women – and for men dressed as women – and Jerry’s Girls is a glitzy
celebration of his greatest show tunes for gals.
a repertoire of over 30 Herman songs, Jerry’s
Girls is the perfect showcase for female talent and director, Dean Bryant, has
cast some of Australia’s musical theatre giants including veteran, Nancye Hayes, the inimitable Rhonda Burchmore and ever-graciousSilvie Paladino.
songs come from Herman’s renowned musicals that include Hello, Dolly! Mame,
Mack and Mabel, Parade and the cross-dressing La Cage aux Folles.
audacious highlight is Debora Krizak as the saggy, grotesque and aged stripper in
Take It All Off, singing the cruel but hilarious inversion of the title, Put It
Burchmore shines with If He Walked Into My Life, the poignant tune from Mame,while Paladino demonstrates her
impeccable tone and vocal control singing the hymn-like Milk and Honey.
Gay, known more for her television work than musicals, shows she can sing, act and
be funny when she cunningly plays both Mack and Mabel in I Won’t Send Roses.
shows her continuing versatility as a singer-dancer in Two-A-Day (Parade) and I
Was Beautiful (Dear World) while Kirby Burgess, a genuine triple-threat,
performs Showtune with a vivacious dance.
audience is champing at the bit by the time the glittering song and dance
chorus numbers finally arrive at the end of Acts One and Two.
Dolly! is a classic, classy display of 11 sassy gals wearing bold, scarlet frocks
(Owen Phillips) and singing their hearts out accompanied by a fine orchestra
led by Mathew Frank.
finale of Tap Your Troubles Away leaves us wanting more of its effervescent
chorus line of tap-dancing, singing all-stars wearing blacklamé and the obligatory, feathered headwear.
is no narrative in Jerry’s Girls because it is simply a parade of great show
tunes, but Bryant creates his own framework by setting the show in the
rehearsal room with the 11 women playing themselves and revealing real stories
about their lives in musical theatre.
Hill, another capable, musical performer, depicts the frazzled director who plays
rehearsal games, allocates songs, referees arguments and soothes nerves.
this theatrical device feels clumsy, often stalling the natural movement of songs
and interrupting the flow of the show.
dialogue feels manufactured and uncomfortable, and there are so many in-jokes
and self-referential banter about cast and choreographer, Andrew Hallsworth, that
anyone who doesn’t know the performers’ histories and characters won’t get the
the band plays and the songs are in full production mode, this show really
flies and reminds the audience of Herman’s splendid repertoire and that ‘there’s
just no tune as exciting as a show tune’.