‘Mad About Musicals – take 2!’ is an interesting and diverse selection of famous songs from the musicals of stage and cinema. The melodies were instantly recognisable and covered around two dozen shows. This two and a half hour show ran at the Link Theatre in Northam each evening, from Thursday the 29th November until Saturday 1st December. There was a 2.00 pm matinée on the Saturday. Both Saturday shows included a guest act from the Perth Academy of Performing Arts, as they sang a selection from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. These talented young actors were Skye and Mason Dymnicki, Lilian Ferguson, Kimberley McCall, Jasmine Molicki, and Cameron Pollard. Well done. The Link Theatre, which is owned by the Northam Theatre Group, is a beautifully converted church at 89 Duke Street, Northam. Their warm welcome was worth the 90-minute drive each way. The smart auditorium holds about 90 people, and has comfortable seating on a tiered system allowing a good view of the stage from all seats. The legroom was a little limited, so may I suggest – as a few theatres have done – to keep the first two rows for the elderly or infirm? There was a smart programme, designed by Cara Steele, free on every second seat. The foyer décor by Sharon Pegrum showed past shows and rehearsal shots. As I have just said, the welcome was warm, but a few general suggestions or comments – given with ‘love’ rather than as a complaint. Unlike most theatres, there was no free preshow sherry or fruit juice, nor a free tea or coffee available at the interval. The $25 ticket, with no concessions for children or pensioners, was at the top end of the normal ticket price range. The foyer needs brightening up (with more light, colour or décor), as this is where the audience are put in the mood prior to the show. The auditorium was excellent, but even on a 24 degree day it became a little uncomfortable by the interval, as the air-conditioning was switched off. Perhaps have the aircon setting set to a low fan speed, or in sleeping / quiet mode. When it is a full house, even with the very high church ceilings the temperature will go up a few degrees during the show. The large stage was open with black drapes for the wings and rear wall. The lighting was modern LEDs, and under the tech supervision of Daniel Byfield, and the operation of Ike Johnson and Adam McGlinn, the lighting was top rate. The sound operators, Jaimie Jones and Madison Byfield were in full control, but when the visitors backing tape did not respond there was a few seconds delay. Hayden eased the situation with a quick quip – good theatre skills by Hayden and the young lady who reacted appropriately, very well done. In the main, the singers’ voices filled the theatre without any microphones. The bright and well produced music was pre-recorded, and the level was kept at the correct backing volume. Radio microphones may be a big help for shyness or stage fright (there were a few singers who struggled to smile and did not project), but they can also be a nightmare if not controlled properly. Was the middle octave of the piano in tune? With quite a large cast, the entrances and exits were well controlled by stage managers Wendy Byfield and Lea McCall.
The Master of Ceremonies (if that is still politically correct) was Elizabeth Greep who had a few fun quips in her introductions.
A show should always start with a big bright melody, and ‘There is no business’ was the ideal opening song. Great start. The talented singers were: Thomas Bennetts, Hayden Floyd, Paige Floyd, Elizabeth Greep, Jodi Ingram, Meg Jezierski, Patrick Knight, Jennifer Kobulniczky-Duncan, Leslie Lee, Julia McGregor, Caitlin Morris, Rhys Morris, Sheree Morris, Troy Morris, Brittny Nunn, Sophie Quin, Tracy Tainsh, Brooke Vincent, and Mike Vincent.
A great selection of songs, beautifully delivered.
The costumes ranged from the rough beggars, to the immaculate evening dresses and gowns; good work by the costumes’ mistress, Liz Greep and her team. Directors, Liz Greep, Jodi Ingram, Les Lee and Rae Knight did a great job. There can be no friendship when directing a cast or chorus, demand the best! This review may seem a little unkind, or even brutal, but the whole team is almost at the first class production standard, but is just failing on several minor points. I was frustrated a few times, but still have GREAT confidence in your ability. You have a wonderful, loyal and enthusiastic audience and everyone REALLY enjoyed themselves. Many congratulations.