The Sexual Awakening Of Virginia Poppycock (Seymour Centre)

virginiapoppycock1Venue: Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre (Sydney NSW), Sep 25 – 28, 2013
Playwright: Elena Gabrielle
Director: Carl Whiteside
Performers: Elena Gabrielle, Marco Fusco
Image by 3 Fates Media

Theatre review
Virginia Poppycock is very keen to lose her virginity. Describing her as frustrated would be a gross understatement, but fortunately for us, that frustration manifests itself in a series of uproariously funny songs that come together wonderfully in a cabaret style comedy musical.

Elena Gabrielle is the star of the show, and her performance is a real joy to behold. Her supreme confidence and passion for the stage is met with a stunning singing voice and a keen sense of comic timing, giving rise to a giddily funny show full of entertainment. This is a brave performance that requires the performer to be in contact with the audience constantly, and it is that rapport she is able to maintain that keeps us amused and fascinated. Her counterpart Marco Fusco plays Richard “Dick” Scrotumsberry III, with less effectiveness, but he brings a thoroughly enjoyable campness and has great chemistry with his leading lady. They are a convincing couple but Gabrielle’ energy is difficult to match and there is a sense of unbalance at certain points.

Carl Whiteside directs every number with flair and brilliant humour. Each song is thoroughly choreographed so that no comic opportunities are missed. The overall structure of the show, however, has some imperfections. It starts with a bang, but slightly weakens halfway through, and the conclusion appears somewhat suddenly. Keeping in spirit with the theme of the musical, one would hope instead for a slower build, leading to a grand explosion at the end. Nevertheless, Virginia Poppycock is a delightful character who will speak to audiences everywhere, and Elena Gabrielle’s performance in that role is truly outstanding and should not be missed.