Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Oklahoma! May 26, 2018 ****
Music by Richard Rodgers; book &
lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Book based
on the play, Green Grow The Lilacs, by Lynn Riggs
By The Production Company
At State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until June
Reviewer: Kate Herbert (on May 26, 2018)
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online, Mon May 28, 2018, & in print May 29. KH
Anna O’Byrne, Simon Gleeson pic im Carrafa
Oklahoma! premiered in 1943,
but it remains a masterful, Pulitzer
Prize-winning ‘book musical’ with Richard Rodgers’ inspired score and
Oscar Hammerstein II’s clever lyrics integrated into a romantic narrative about
farmers and cowboys, set in 1906.
Chris Parker’s production
is joyful and celebratory, with a fine orchestra, talented ensemble and two
exceptional singers playing the romantic leads: Simon Gleeson as cowman, Curly, and Anna O’Byrne as Laurey,
farm girl and Curly’s love interest.
is a ripple of excitement at the start, when the audience hears Gleeson singing
off-stage, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the exhilaration escalates when he
delivers a spirited version of The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, with O’Byrne and Robyn Nevin as hilariously
feisty Aunt Eller.
resonant tones, extensive range and impeccable vocal control combine with his
sassy, nuanced characterisation to create a charming, heroic Curly.
classical soprano is perfect for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s tunes, with her
clear, beautiful and joyful delivery and enthralling upper register.
and O’Byrne’s voices blend faultlessly in the playful duet, People Will Say We’re in
their chemistry makes Curly and Laurey’s burgeoning but intense relationship
Two is less consistent than the first, but it compensates for any bumps with
the final, rousing chorus of Oklahoma!,
with its stirring score and thrilling harmonies.
onstage orchestra, under Guy Simpson, stylishly plays Rodgers’ soaring music,
Isaac Lummis’s costumes capture the period with pastel, frilly petticoats
partnered with plaid, denim and leather, while Amy Campbell’s choreography is
vivacious, incorporating Agnes De Mille’s original ballet.
Bobby Fox, Robyn Nevin-pic Tim Carrafa
McCann is suitably flirty and mercurial as Ado Annie, singing I Cain’t Say No, while Bobby
Fox is audacious as her love-addled beau, Will Parker, and commands the stage,
dancin’ and singin’ in Kansas City.
Piro is mischievous as saucy pedlar, Ali Hakim, and Ben Mingay’s rich baritone and
menacing performance make the outcast Jud Fry villainous and frightening.
depicts an America long-gone, but the consummate tunes, lyrics and style of Rodgers and Hammerstein live on in this rootin’,
tootin’, shootin’ musical.
by Kate Herbert
Directed - Chris Parker
Direction - Guy Simpson
- Amy Campbell (Original
dances by Agnes De Mille)
- Dale Ferguson
- Matt Scott
Cast: Simon Gleeson - Curly Anna O’Byrne - Laurey Elise
McCann –Ado Annie Carnes