Venue: Old 505 Theatre @ 5 Eliza St (Newtown NSW), May 10 – 28, 2016
Playwright: Drew Fairley
Songs: Mikey Lira
Director: Liesel Badorrek
Cast: Drew Fairley, Kate Smith
Image by Michael Bourchier
It is a comedy show with generous doses of cabaret, burlesque and musical theatre elements added to the mix. Completely frivolous and silly, Drew Fairley’s Kidnapped is pure entertainment that avoids serious themes and poignant emotional narratives, but impresses with the quality of talent that it showcases. Sugar is the aspiring artist at the centre of our attention, but it is the artists involved in telling her story that are remarkable.
Mikey Lira’s songs are charming and surprising, each with a strong sense of character that enriches the scenes in which they appear. Sound quality in the auditorium requires improvement (as does lighting design), but musical numbers in the show are a joy nonetheless. Choreography and other physical aspects of performance are cleverly devised, utilising every muscle of its actors to fill the space with movement and lively presence.
Formidable leading lady Kate Smith struts her stuff from head to toe, delivering comedy of the highest calibre, immense in its dexterity and inventiveness. Hilarious throughout, and deeply endearing, she has us in the palm of her hand and we find ourselves swept away into waves of laughter with her supreme, indomitable confidence. We never stop wanting more and she never ceases to amaze. Not content with being playwright, producer and musical director, Drew Fairley appears on stage with Smith, with similarly gleeful results. Fairley keeps the limelight squarely and appropriately on his co-star, but is himself more than a capable supporting actor. His work is full of sharp humour and extravagant flourishes, informed by a kooky sensibility that gives the show its irresistibly unique flavour. Chemistry between the two is flawless and stands as the key ingredient to Kidnapped‘s success.
There are few shows as funny as this, because convergence of talents are rarely as perfect as on this occasion. From its writing, to performance, to Liesel Badorrek’s very brave and instinctual direction, a beautiful harmony is established for a small but very special theatrical moment. It delights us, having us grin from ear to ear and cackle with joy, and it inspires us by showing us what artists can do when given the opportunity to demonstrate the best of their abilities. We have trouble giving artists what they are due in Australia, and although Kidnapped has today materialised gloriously in our fragile artistic landscape, we must think of other missed opportunities, and consider our priorities and responsibilities as a society, and we must decide to spend that investment on a little thing we call our soul.