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.
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
CROSSxROADS, April 16, 2016 ***1/2
MUSICAL THEATRE Music & lyrics by Anthony
Costanzo, book by Peter Fitzpatrick Chapel
off Chapel, until April 30, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on April 16, 2016 Stars: ***1/2
This review also online in Herald Sun on Tues April 19, 2016 and later in print. KH
Alinta Chidzey Stephen Mahy – pic James Terry
There is much
to like in CROSSxROADS, a romantic
comedy that is one of those rare beasts – a new, Australian musical.
With music and lyrics by Anthony Costanzo and book by
Peter Fitzpatrick, CROSSxROADS boasts a small but exceptionally talented cast,
featuring three favourite, local musical theatre performers: Stephen Mahy, Alinta Chidzey
and Fem Belling.
The story focuses on the evolution of Rick (Mahy) and Amy’s (Chidzey) on-and-off
relationship that begins on their 1999 university Graduation Day but, over the
next ten years, suffers interruptions, miscommunication, pig-headedness and the
tyranny of distance when they live in different countries.
Fitzpatrick’s book cunningly employs the ‘sliding
doors’ narrative device that depicts crucial moments in Rick and Amy’s lives
when they could have taken alternative pathways that could have led them to
different relationship destinations.
Costanzo’s complex lyrics cleverly illuminate characters,
develop relationships and advance the story in a repertoire of songsranging from bold choruses to power ballads, anthems
and poignant love duets.
magnetic as Rick, allowing his character to grow, albeit slowly, from the
brazen, irresponsible and boyish 21-year old, to a driven company executive
then to the mature man who wants love in his life.
is thrilling when he sings Rick’s impassioned lament about his chequered life
journey, Yellow Brick Road, and he provides captivating lead vocals in the
her clear, bright but powerful voice, is charming and engaging as the bookish, conservative
Amy and her version of Amy’s Moving On is touching.
Chidzey are entertaining in the playful duet, That’s My Shit, and their voices
blend effectively in the rich and emotional tune, I Don’t Know You.
powerhouse voice is a feature in the show and she plays Hannah, Amy’s eccentric
best friend, with a sassy, audacious edginess.
Joe Kosky creates
a sympathetic and funny character playing Rick’s best mate, Barrel, a boyish,
boozing, good-natured boofhead.
The ensemble relishes
the comedy in the satirical tune, The Difference Between, provides swelling vocals
and exhilarating harmonies in Paint The Town Green and in the rousing finale,
Epilogue/I Don’t Know You.
direction keeps the staging simple and the action moving swiftly while the
five-piece band is tight and tuneful under the musical direction of David
Th songs may
not all be memorable, but the quality of this production, with its fine cast, suggests
that CROSSxROADS could be the new, Australian musical to watch.