Review: Urinetown (Hayes Theatre)

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co (Potts Point NSW), 13 Jan – 5 Feb, 2023
Book and Lyrics: Greg Kotis
Music and Lyrics: Mark Hollman
Director: Ylaria Rogers
Cast: Artemis Alfonzetti, Dani Caruso, Joe Dinn, Deanna Farnell, Max Gambale, Joel Horwood, Tom Kelly, Kira Leiva, Barbra Toparis, Petronella Van Tienen, Benoit Vari, Karen Vickery, Natasha Vickery
Images by Phil Erbacher

Theatre review

Somewhere in America, in a dystopian future, to go toilet has become a commodified privilege. Urinetown, the 2001 musical by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis, tells a story about an economic system that allows the top 1%  to insist on us paying for everything, and receiving incommensurate returns. The vast majority thus becomes increasingly disadvantaged, finding themselves to be mere cattle, constantly scrounging for the benefit of those who claim to be owners of every resource. In Hollman and Kotis’ fantasy, a revolt eventuates. The conclusion however, is not quite as predictable.

It is an excellent conceit, although the plot has a tendency to feel rambling and its narrative often finds itself gridlocked. Not a lot actually happens, in the two-and-a half hour duration, and its humour can be lacklustre, but the songwriting is enjoyable, with enough inventiveness to sustain attention. Matthew Reid’s musical direction is spirited and jaunty, creating a charged atmosphere, with his very accomplished four-piece band.

Direction of the show by Ylaria Rogers is dynamic, with a lightheartedness that keeps things amusing. Cameron Mitchell’s choreography too, provides levity to proceedings, in order that the message becomes an easier pill to swallow. Set design by Monique Langford involves clever use of ladders in various configurations, that allow for a spacious stage to comfortably accommodate a big and busy cast. Helen Wojtas’ costumes for the great unwashed are in appropriate states of dereliction, but with colours and textures to maintain visual interest. Lights by Jasmin Borsovszky are a wonderful element of the production, bringing unexpected beauty and a sense of gravity, to something we know to be true and important.

Performer Joel Horwood demonstrates admirable versatility in the role of Bobby, bringing charm, wit, emotional intensity and a crucial quality of profundity, that prevents the comedy from undermining the whole point of Urinetown. Their singing is powerful, in a show that features consistently strong vocals. Petronella Van Tienen plays Hope, a saccharine sweet character but with the kind of earnestness that most are likely to find appealing. Chemistry between the leads is scintillating, especially for their romantic duet “Follow Your Heart”. Also noteworthy is Natasha Vickery whose vaudeville style of presentation for Little Sally leaves an impression, as one of the more refreshing personalities we encounter, in this world of misery.

Ultimately, we discover that Urinetown is about the extinction of the human race. Some argue that this is due to no fault of our own, but most will understand all the devastation we have brought to the planet. It is a tale about our insatiable greed. It questions our nature, and like all good art, it urges us to examine what it means to be human, and further, if anything could be done, to combat the parts of us determined to cause harm. We keep wanting to overpower Mother Earth, such is the depth of our foolishness. It is certain that we are never going to be a match for the infinitude of the universe, yet we seem determined to not find ways to make peace with it. 

www.hayestheatre.com.au

Review: Velvet Rewired (Sydney Opera House)

Venue: Sydney Opera House (Sydney NSW), Dec 22, 2022 – Feb 12, 2023
Director/Creator: Craig Ilott
Cast: Joe Accaria, Jacinta Gulisano, Marcia Hines, Sasha Lee Saunders, Craig Reid, Beau Sargent, Tom Sharah, Sven and Jan, Harley Timmermans
Images by Daniel Boud

Theatre review

Performer Tom Sharah plays someone meek, miserable and lost, inside an exuberant clubland peppered with decadence and brimming with cacophonous life. It is the story of a man’s broken heart, that provides a vague sense of narrative to Velvet Rewired, a theatrical presentation in the form probably best described, as a variety show. Comprising 75 minutes of classic disco hits, and nary a word of dialogue, it is a cornucopia of colour and movement that we are thrust into, along with an old school devil-may-care spiritedness, that hopes to awaken the most wearied of our modern cosmopolitan dispositions.

Created and directed by Craig Ilott, Velvet Rewired provides an excuse for an instance of hedonism, where all the strain of staying alive can be set aside. Ilott urges us to indulge in his fantasy realm, by removing rhyme and reason from our interactions with the staging. Indeed it is when mind-boggling stunts occupy our attention, and we lose our breath gawking at incredible physical feats, by the likes of aerialists Beau Sargent and Harley Timmermans, rollerskating acrobats Sven and Jan, and hula hooping wonder Craig Reid, that the show really lifts us away from the mundane.

Also out of this world, is the singing diva Marcia Hines whose voice and presence help move us somewhere decidedly more transcendent, or rapturous even. Jacinta Gulisano and Sasha Lee Saunders appear to be the hardest working women in showbusiness, onstage for almost the entirety, singing and dancing with great energy and precision, as only the most passionate of artists can. Amy Campbell’s choreography takes care to accentuate the best of this duo’s qualities.

Joe Accaria too is always in sight, as the charismatic DJ perched atop in his secular pulpit, orchestrating the action through his control of the irresistible disco beats. Accaria’s work as musical director for Velvet Rewired is powerful, able to revive the magic of funk and soul music from almost half a century ago, to deliver a sense of timeless euphoria. Lights by Matthew Marshall are dazzling, as they take advantage of the genre’s capacity for limitless ostentation. James Browne’s set design involves a catwalk that makes each member of audience feel part of the action, and his costumes bear a flamboyance and sexiness, that keep our eyes satisfied.

The aforementioned Tom Sharah sparkles when his unnamed character attains his moment of spiritual emancipation. At a show like Velvet Rewired we too are gifted a flash of freedom, where for a few minutes nothing else matters, but the sensual basslines of tried and tested records, that will offer epiphany and redemption, maybe not everlasting, but certain to return when least expected.

www.velvetrewired.com

Review: Boxing Day BBQ (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Dec 5, 2022 – Jan 15, 2023
Playwright: Sam O’Sullivan
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Cast: Danielle Carter, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Aileen Huynh, Brian Meegan, Jamie Oxenbould
Images by Prudence Upton

Theatre review

Peter takes Boxing Day celebrations very seriously. It is a family tradition that he clings on to desperately, for reasons of nostalgia and of sentimentality, even though the occasion is a frustrating one for all involved. Sam O’Sullivan’s Boxing Day BBQ is a satire on middle class Australia, critical of our values, yet generous in its portrayals of our behaviour. O’Sullivan captures with admirable accuracy, the zeitgeist as it pertains to attitudes about issues like the economy and the climate. Although the work has a tendency to be overly earnest, thus diminishing its comic qualities, Boxing Day BBQ is ultimately politically convincing, which is undoubtedly a favourable outcome.

Mark Kilmurry’s direction of the piece ensures a dramatic tautness, that keeps us invested in the story. Characters and relationships are believable and compelling, and their interchanges are imbued with a sense of consequence and urgency, to sustain our attention. Set design by Ailsa Paterson is a charming representation of the classic suburban backyard, that allows for an abundance of visually pleasing spatial configurations. Genevieve Graham’s costumes help establish personalities quickly, with appropriate colours and shapes that tell us who these people are, even before they begin to speak. Lights by Matt Cox and sound by David Grigg, offer subtle unobtrusive renderings, which honour the art of storytelling above all else.

The cast of five is evenly matched, each with opportunities to shine at centre stage. Danielle Carter, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Aileen Huynh, Brian Meegan and Jamie Oxenbould demonstrate great capacity for listening to one another, forming a team that impresses with its chemistry. There is an integrity to their approach to performance, that makes us receptive to the play’s important message.

Family members in Boxing Day BBQ argue about human civilisation, and its culpability on the state of the world. Some of us will acknowledge all the harm we have caused, and some of us will choose not to. Either way, there should be no dispute about the fact that should we want a bright future, it is incumbent upon us to do all we can, to make it happen. It seems we have not been able to agree on the truth of the past, and worse, there is often divisions about where we are today, but to have no consensus about what tomorrow should look like, is perhaps the biggest danger that we face.

www.ensemble.com.au

Review: M’ap Boulé (Urban Theatre Projects)

Venue: Eternity Playhouse (Darlinghurst NSW), Dec 6 – 9, 2022
Playwright: Nancy Denis
Composer: Carl St. Jacques
Director: Anthea Williams
Cast: Nancy Denis (with musicians Victoria Falconer, Mick Stuart and Kween G)
Images by Jacquie Manning

Theatre review
Nancy Denis is a warrior, not only of circumstance, but also of heritage. A woman of Haitian background, a fighting spirit thrives in her blood. Generations of colonial history have not been able to subdue Denis, as she declares in her show M’ap Boulé, or “I’m On Fire” in English. Featuring stirring music composed by the recently departed Carl St. Jacques, M’ap Boulé is a passionate exhibition of one woman’s joy and pain, and a poignant autobiography by a young artist with a lot to say.

An embodiment of dark-skinned queer womanhood, Denis represents so much of what is marginalised. The dominant hegemony that privileges the straight white male, is of course unable to conceive of her as equal. Her lived experience of inconvenient intersectionalities also means, that the various groups to which she should belong, also struggle to contain the seemingly conflicting identities that are ascribed onto her complicated, but perfectly natural body. To say that M’ap Boulé is an important work would be an understatement; it is a voice we rarely hear, yet demonstrates itself to be, quite possibly, the voice we need most to hear.

A warrior’s story is inherently combative and propulsive, but in M’ap Boulé  it is the revelations of weakness and vulnerability, that make its depictions of strength, truly resonate. Directed by Anthea Williams, the show feels unequivocally guided by a sense of integrity, determined to put to the stage, a wholistic perspective of the author and all that she has chosen to share. Set and costumes by Maitê Inaê are celebratory of Denis qualities, as a woman of colour, born of Haitian immigrants, and together with Karen Norris’ lights, the stage glimmers and pulsates, to connect with the most sensual of our beings.

The artist’s charisma and exuberance as a performer, ensure that her audience is kept riveted. Her velvety timbre, especially when singing contralto, is simply exquisite, and a rare gift that brings tremendous amplification, to the soulfulness that underpins every song. Joining Denis on stage are musical director Victoria Falconer, rapper Kween G and musician Mick Stuart, who work in transcendent harmony, to offer our ears access to some place decidedly more exalted.

When we watch Nancy Denis on stage, we understand that she is precisely where she needs to be. There are no inadequacies, just as there is no perfection. We need to learn to see ourselves, beyond capitalistic and patriarchal lenses, to remember that we are human through and through, never to be anything but. For sure, we are capable of more, of better, of something else, but it is integral that we never forget, that today, is the result of having overcome everything before, and it is good.

www.utp.org.au

Review: A Christmas Carol (Ensemble Theatre)

Venue: Ensemble Theatre (Kirribilli NSW), Nov 25 – Dec 29, 2022
Playwright: Hilary Bell (based on the story by Charles Dickens)
Director: Damien Ryan
Cast: Valerie Bader, John Bell, Jay James-Moody, Emily McKnight, Anthony Taufa, Daryl Wallis
Images by Jaimi Joy

Theatre review

The timeless tale of Scrooge’s awakening, was first published 178 years ago. With billionaires making news every day in 2022,  Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol resonates anew, although it is only wishful thinking that our overlords should find their souls overnight. Nonetheless, the story remains heart warming, and with Hilary Bell’s stage adaptation taking the form of a pantomime, featuring delightful music by Phillip Johnston, we are re-acquainted with the classic at year’s end, to be reminded of what is truly important.

Charming direction by Damien Ryan delivers nostalgia and sentimentality in spades, although humour in the production could benefit from being less restrained. It is a beautifully designed show, with Alisa Paterson’s set and Genevieve Graham’s costumes leaving a strong impression. Lights by Mat Cox too are sumptuous, and indispensable in delivering for the story, its crucial supernatural elements.

John Bell is believable as the misanthropic Scrooge, suitably mean and cruel, playing one of the best known characters of the festive season. Anthony Taufa brings wonderful exuberance to a great number of roles, full of charisma and playfulness, encouraging us to respond with appropriate cheer. Daryl Wallis provides live accompaniment on piano and percussion, adding blitheness with his sensitive musical direction.

It is right that we should expect more of the rich, but it is also necessary for governments to insist on redistribution of wealth, when disparities are so severe. Dickens did his best to appeal to the human conscience, but it is clear that not many at the top of town are ever going to be sufficiently conscientious. We simply cannot sit and wait for the rich to do the right thing.

www.ensemble.com.au

Review: Nice Work If You Can Get It (Hayes Theatre)

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co (Potts Point NSW), 18 Nov – 20 Dec, 2022
Book: Joe DiPietro
Music and Lyrics: George and Ira Gershwin
Director: Cameron Mitchell
Cast: Octavia Barron Martin, Lisa Callingham, Grace Driscoll, Nat Foti, Anthony Garcia, Catty Hamilton, Joel Houwen, James MacAlpine, Rob Mallett, Jayme Jo Massoud, Adorah Oloapu, Ashleigh Rubenach, Andy Seymour, Rose Shannon-Duhigg, Andrew Waldin, Jasper Wind
Images by Grant Leslie

Theatre review

It is the Prohibition era, and Billie the bootlegger is secretly storing 400 crates of gin, in a Long Island beach house, owned by Jimmy’s mother. In the meantime, Jimmy is about to get married for the fourth time, but the playboy’s new fascination with Billie means that his best laid plans are going awry. Joe DiPietro’s book for the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It is a tribute to romantic comedies of the Hollywood Golden Age. Thoroughly frivolous and undoubtedly fun, the story is constructed around the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, which are easily, and understandably, the highlight of the show.

Direction by Cameron Mitchell imbues an admirable sense of abandon to the broad comedy of Nice Work If You Can Get It. For 2-and-a-half hours, we are treated to something frothy and gleeful, that never wishes to take it itself seriously. The laughs are constant, often uproarious, proving that an average script can be transposed effectively to the stage, when executed with considerable flair. Mitchell’s work as choreography too is impressive, in a style that harks back to the good old days, delivering nostalgia as well as dynamism, for a staging determined to entertain.

Set design by Simon Greer provides versatile solutions, with great fluidity, to addresses the many location changes, although the space often feels constrictive of the show’s ambitious dance sequences. Christine Mutton’s costumes are delightfully conceived and meticulously fitted, to give much needed elevation to the imagery being created. Wigs on its leading ladies however, require greater attention. Illumination by James Wallis is thankfully utilitarian, providing just enough lighting trickery so that our attention never deviates from the performers.

Playing Jimmy is the dashing Rob Mallet, whose physical discipline brings exquisite polish to the production. The accuracy in his emulation of a vocal style faithful to the period too, keeps us firmly in the fantasy. Ashleigh Rubenach sings all her songs perfectly, but feels somewhat miscast as the tomboyish Billie. Grace Driscoll is very charming as Eileen, able to be both campy and endearing, in her wonderfully kooky sendup of a Martha Graham type.

It is a big cast of 16, comprising some very funny thespians, along with highly accomplished dancers, all doing remarkably to generate theatrical magic. The Gershwin sound however, remains a pinnacle on any stage. It is an eternal joy to hear their greatest hits, no matter the excuse or occasion.

www.hayestheatre.com.au

Review: The Lovers (Bell Shakespeare)

Venue: Sydney Opera House (Sydney NSW), Oct 23 – Nov 20, 2022
Writer: Laura Murphy (adapted from William Shakespeare)
Director: Shaun Rennie
Cast: Natalie Abbott, Blake Appelqvist, Stellar Perry, Monique Sallé, Brittanie Shipway, Jerrod Smith
Images by Daniel Boud

Theatre review

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is given the musical treatment, by Laura Murphy who condenses one of The Bard’s most accessible stories, into something even more digestible. In her new work The Lovers a distinct pop sensibility is applied across everything she touches on, but art lovers be warned, Murphy’s appreciation of pop is a lot less Andy Warhol, and a whole lot more Taylor Swift. Like Swift, Murphy’s lyrics can be criticised for not being poetic enough, with an attitude too devoid of sass, to be considered legitimately cool. Commercial success however, has shown time and again to have little to do with cool, and it appears The Lovers does contain all the requisite ingredients that make it a crowd-pleaser.

Intensely romantic, and silly on more than a few occasions, songs in The Lovers are unquestionably, and thoroughly catchy. Reminiscent, and some might say heavily derivative, of chart toppers from the last twenty years, it can be said that the frothiness of Murphy’s writing, is the perfect companion for Shakespeare’s light-hearted classic. Murphy’s own musical arrangements, along with musical direction by Andrew Worboys, ensures a score that keeps us exhilarated for the entire 2-hour duration, The heady experience is further enhanced by extraordinarily well-executed sound engineering, with Todd Hawken credited as Head of Audio.

Director Shaun Rennie demonstrates great attention to detail, through his delivery of technical brilliance and exceptional polish,  for the staging. Rennie’s work is thoroughly energetic, with an uncanny ability to have his audience roused at will. Marg Horwell’s colourful and intentionally cluttered set design, is a visual manifestation of the chaotic exuberance that is characteristic of The Lovers. Her costumes too are captivatingly vibrant, although not always flattering on the cast. Lights by Trent Suidgeest are dynamic and exciting, a relentless manipulation of tones, intensities and configurations, that really take advantage of this collision between pop and Shakespeare.

The only one stealing the show however, is performer Natalie Abbott who delivers the most endearing Helena imaginable, with an impeccable quality of singing that beautifully incorporates a stirring soul style, with the crispness demanded of the Broadway format. Also very charming is Jerrod Smith, who brings unexpected believability to the role of Lysander. Oberon is played by Stellar Perry who stands out with her confident musicality, and a physical stillness that proves an appealing contrast against the rest. Monique Sallé is a gregarious Puck, Blake Appelqvist brings precision to his Demetrius, and Hermia is performed by Brittanie Shipway who injects much needed grit into the romantic heroine. The team shows itself to be well-rehearsed and innovative, with a compelling chemistry that makes tolerable, Shakespeare’s ridiculous love story.

There may be little that is worldly that constitutes the essence of The Lovers, but there is certainly no shortage of sophistication, in how the show has been put together. It is meaningful though, that our attention is brought to the subject of love, frivolous as it may seem, through the lens of young romance. At a time when our troubles are taking us to the end of tethers, it is perhaps necessary to be reminded that love alone, is capable of moving mountains.

www.bellshakespeare.com.au

Review: Cinderella (Sydney Lyric Theatre)

Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre (Sydney NSW), Oct 24, 2022 – Jan 29, 2023
New Book: Douglas Carter Beane
Lyrics and Original Book: Oscar Hammerstein II
Music: Richard Rodgers
Director: Mark Brokaw
Cast: Daniel Belle, Bianca Bruce, Tina Bursill, Josh Gardiner, Shubshri Kandiah, Nicholas Hammond, Ainsley Melham, Matilda Moran, Silvia Paladino
Images by Jeff Busby

Theatre review
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s exquisite songs for Cinderella were originally written for a 1957 television broadcast, and had taken more than half a century, to reach the Broadway stage. This 2013 adaptation with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, transposes the old tale for the contemporary stage, carefully incorporating updates and modifications, to make Cinderella palatable for twenty-first century sensibilities. The amalgamation of the classic score with a modernised narrative, proves a delightful opportunity to re-acquaint ourselves with the most familiar of stories, only with a lot less misogyny.

Our poor girl Cinderella is no longer incapacitated and desperate. She is now well-read, smart, intuitive, and maybe even a little ambitious. Performed by Shubshri Kandiah, she is also hugely endearing, and incredibly graceful. God forbid, she might even be a little feisty. Aside from this surprisingly refreshing take on the famous character, Kandiah’s singing and dancing are resplendent, effortlessly transporting us to somewhere magical, and wonderfully innocent.

Prince Topher too has become more human. Given charming humour by the dashing Ainsley Melham, who matches in performance ability with Kandiah; the two look to be a pair made in heaven. Their chemistry is the stuff dreams are made of, and we want their union to succeed as much as they themselves do. Also very impressive is Silvie Paladino, who brings incredible skill and a delicious campness to the unforgettable role of Fairy Godmother. Paladino’s presence is so strong, as is her voice, that she makes her enormous dresses seem a natural fit.

The excellent transformation that occurs in this newer Cinderella, is not that the pauper becomes the princess, but that young girls can now see a version of the heroine being valued for all the right things. The aspiration is no longer just to marry well, but to become intelligent, resilient, kind and generous. This should always be the lesson to teach our young, should we decide to keep telling this story for centuries to come.

www.cinderellamusical.com.au

Review: Godspell (Hayes Theatre)

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co (Potts Point NSW), 14 Oct – 6 Nov, 2022
Original Conception: John-Michael Tebelak
Music and New Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Director: Richard Carroll
Cast: Stefanie Caccamo, Jeremi Campese, Gillian Cosgriff, Victoria Falconer, Alfie Gledhill, Abe Mitchell, Chaya Ocampo, Billie Palin, Quinton Rich, Jane Watt. Swings: Mae Li Cowell, Gus Noakes
Images by Phil Erbacher

Theatre review

Jesus Christ and his disciples are in an Australian pub this time round, in Tebelak and Shwartz’s Godspell. Much has changed since the musical’s first outing half a century ago, but Christ’s teachings about love never age. His popularity as a venerated figure, however, has waned significantly, and there is no question that increasing numbers of audiences will feel alienated by the religiosity that continues to surround his personality.

Director Richard Carroll introduces vast amounts of colour and variety to his version of Godspell, but there is unlikely anything that could convert, those of us who are resolute in our distaste for Christianity or religions in general, which remains central to this 2022 production. Jesus seems a nice enough person, but all that deification is nonetheless, very hard to take.

The show’s visual appeal though, is undeniable, with Emma White’s stage design providing a familiar warmth, along with the provision of multiply apportioned spaces, that helps with the presentation’s constant transformations. Angela White’s costumes are a melange of epochs, with a whimsy that establishes its characters as joyful and endearing from the very start. Peter Rubie’s lights are imaginative and ambitious, offering a delectable palette of luminal combinations that really helps to keep things exciting.

The ensemble beams with dedication; there is an intensity to their focus and camaraderie, that demands our attention. Billie Palin sings the part of Christ well, but her dazzling vocals prove not to be a substitute, for the charisma we associate with sect leaders of that magnitude.

It should be encouraged that we learn about things that are important to our neighbours. Listening to other people’s religious beliefs is often a rewarding experience, that is until they become overwrought and depart too far from shared realities. We have argued for centuries about the intricacies of what Christ had preached, but the damage caused in his name, by so many of his followers, are simply irrefutable.

www.hayestheatre.com.au

Review: Jekyll And Hyde (Hayes Theatre)

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co (Potts Point NSW), 29 Jul – 27 Aug, 2022
Book and Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse
Music: Frank Wildhorn
Director: Hayden Tee
Cast: Melanie Bird, Mitchell Cox, Georgina Hopson, Madeleine Jones, Luke Leong-Tay, Brendan Maclean, Rob McDougall, Sarah Murr, Gus Noakes, Billie Palin, Brady Peeti, Matthew Predny, Mitchell Roberts, Rutene Spooner
Images by Phil Erbacher

Theatre review

Dr Jekyll is determined to reveal the secrets hidden within the human psyche, but what he uncovers is beyond anything he can ever prepare for. This 1990 musical by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn, is a retelling of the 1886 novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, famous and eternally resonant with what it says about our nature.

Bringing a delicious sense of camp, is new direction from the inventive mind of Hayden Tee, whose bold vision ensures that Jekyll and Hyde is nothing short of a captivating experience. The show is taut and exciting, with a superlative level of singing and musicianship that has us impressed from start to end. Orchestration by Nigel Ubrihien is exceptionally sophisticated, as well as being highly enjoyable, with Steven Kramer’s musical direction delivering great visceral power, through all that we hear. Olivia Wilding and Sally Schinckel-Brown are the two cellists prominently featured, keeping us deeply engaged in the high drama of this outlandish story.

Leading man Brendan Maclean is appropriately intense and macabre in the title role, although not always convincing with the emotional dimensions being explored. Brady Peeti as Lucy steals the show unequivocally, as does Georgina Hopson (who plays Emma), both performers completely disarming with their supreme vocal abilities. Mitchell Cox and Rutene Spooner too are unforgettable in multiple smaller roles, able to seize our attention with every appearance, for moments of genuine delight. Also noteworthy is choreography by Siobhan Ginty, who keeps our eyes amused through the duration, with her wonderful physical configurations of a splendidly assembled cast.

Set design by Melanie Liertz is whimsical yet ambitious, able to create for the viewer a sense of expansiveness, alongside a satisfying quirkiness to her depiction of a psychiatric hospital. Lights by Anthony Pearson succeed at establishing atmosphere for each sequence, but can sometimes feel perfunctory, or perhaps insufficiently creative in approach. Costumes by Mason Browne on the other hand, are highly appealing, and relentlessly glamorous, whilst maintaining accuracy in all his representations of the tale’s colourful personalities.

We can never try too hard, to reveal who we are. It is apparently true, that there is no end to how much we can learn about being human. The problem it seems, is what we do with that information, when we understand that a big part of our existence comprises qualities less than desirable. Mr Hyde is horrible, and he is everywhere. We imagine that to know Mr Hyde, is to be able to control him, but evidence suggests that evil will always find a way.

www.hayestheatre.com.au