Lucky Stiff is a comedic melodrama in an operetta style. Based on Michael Butterworth’s book ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’ this zany musical was written in 1988 by the wonderful New York-born playwright and lyricist, Lynn Ahrens. The musical composition was by multi-award-winning Pennsylvanian, Stephen Flaherty, twenty years younger than Ahern. Stephen learned his skills playing ragtime on the piano in pubs. In 2014, this hilarious play was made into a second-rate film.
Aherns and Flaherty were nominated for two Academy Awards for the film Anastasia. Over the years, the pair have won most major play awards with successes like ‘Seussical’.
The show’s organiser, Primadonna Productions presented this hilarious musical at the Fishtrap Theatre in the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah. Mandurah should be congratulated on the number of well-supported productions they co-sponsor. They have built up a regular number of solid supporters and have encouraged the public to take an interest in the theatre.
May I suggest that the matinées are blatantly advertised at the venue on the morning before the show? There were day-trippers wandering around the Arts Centre filling in their time. Some took boat trips, but on a dull day, they would have loved a musical or a good laugh. ‘Great live musical/comedy here at 2.00 pm today’.
This 2 Hours 20 Minutes show was presented on Friday 7th October and Saturday 8th October at 7:30 pm. There were 2.00 pm matinées on the Saturday and Sunday.
The set: Simple black platforms and daises. At the rear, about a metre off the stage, sat the keyboard accompanist, Kenn Ellis who played solo for two-hours. Terrific work.
Lighting MPCA – particularly good.
Sound recordings of announcements by Sian Dhu and Peter Bonner. Rehearsal sound was by Michael Rogers and Angela Edwards
Backscreen projections: High quality photographs of European views and ‘characters’ by Matthew Wake.
The highly efficient Stage Manager Angela Edwards, Assistant Stage Manager Jodie Bonner and their aid Louise Boardman were exceptionally quick, well organised and silent.
Michaela Gosby was the colourful enthusiastic programme seller.
The top-notch, full colour programmes were designed by Randall Jones at G Force Printing.
The whole cast fill the stage and with a powerful opening number, introduce themselves. There is a gunshot and Uncle Tony falls to the floor.
In East Grinstead near Brighton, a nervous shoe salesman, Harry Witherspoon (Steven Jones) unexpectedly inherits his Uncle Tony’s millions – that is providing he fulfils the very unusual conditions of the Will! The solicitor (Matthew Wake) explains the first major hurdle is that he must take his dead uncle, Tony Hendon (Michael Rogers) in a wheelchair on his uncle’s prebooked, final dream holiday.
Harry says goodbye to his miserable landlady (Carole Dhu), and with Uncle Tony leaves London for the sunshine of Monte Carlo, with its casinos and luxury shopping. Harry notices that he is being followed by Annabel Glick (Bella Lambert), the representative for the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn, the group who will get all of the money if Harry does not follow the Will to the letter.
Another relation and contender for the millions, is an optometrist Vinnie Di Ruzzio (Trick Cole) and his nasty manipulating, but practically blind sister, Rita La Porta (Lori Anders).
Fighting through the airport crowds, Harry meets an over friendly Italian, Luigi Gaudi (Peter Bonner) who was also heading to Monte Caro. In Monte, Harry met up with the hotel’s mercenary bellboy, who looks amazingly like the French cabaret MC (Rowan Creelman), the alcoholic room maid (Zoe Lyons) and the sexy nightclub songstress Dominique Du Monaco (Sian Dhu). Will he be distracted from looking after Tony and his millions?
Musical director and performance keyboard Kenn Ellis (ably assisted by Matilda Ellis who followed the score and turned the pages) had the very varied characters singing with gusto. The singing was strong and an absolute delight. The passages of harmony were a joy. Every cast member sang superbly, but can I give a special mention to Steven, Bella, Lori, Sian and Zoe who had the most songs to learn.
The colourful costumes and props by the cast, with modifications by Tammy Peckover and Polly Bonner brought both the wow factor with Sian and Zoe, then the broad grin when Trick made his final entry.
As always, in her desire to give all enthusiastic newcomers a chance to act, director Carole Dhu had quite a few new faces in her line-up.
Thanks again Carole for another fun show, with top professionalism. Looking forward to the juniors’ version of The Lion King next year.
Thanks Gordon for making the trek down!! Twice in a week, so appreciate it!
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