Venue: State Theatre (Sydney NSW), Apr 2 – May 15, 2016
Book: Patrick Edgeworth
Music & Lyrics: The Seekers and others
Director: Gary Young
Cast: Sophie Carter, Pippa Grandison, Phillip Lowe, Mike McLeish, Adam Murphy, Ian Stenlake, Glaston Toft, Stephen Wheat
Image by Jeff Busby
Over 50 years of The Seekers’ history is charted in Georgy Girl. Predictably, all their hits are included in the musical, but very unexpectedly, virtually no sentimental dramatisation of events is found. It is a quiet story about unassuming personalities who happen to have achieved greatness is their careers. There is little in terms of narrative to get excited about, and the show is almost completely devoid of dramatic tension, but for fans of the band’s music, nostalgia abounds.
An excellent cast plays the famous musicians, and although they engage in little acting, their interpretations of classics more than fit the bill. Pippa Grandison heads the group, and in the role of Judith Durham, she impresses with a rich and powerful voice, effortlessly recalling the glory days of the Australian icon. Playing Durham’s husband Ron Edgeworth is the charismatic and flamboyant Adam Murphy who single-handedly introduces a sense of theatricality to the show. His charm offensive is a highlight, and probably the only memorable element for an admittedly small number of audience members who are less familiar with The Seekers.
The production is polished and professional, but it appears that little of the budget is spent on set design. The very rudimentary and underwhelming stage is a clear let down for those who have grown accustom to highly complex and sophisticated stagecraft that is now par for the course in events of this genre. Georgy Girl is minimal, subdued, and plain, qualities to be loved in folk musicians but hardly the characteristics we expect of a Broadway style musical extravaganza.