BadGirls?Music is the key in this new production by Belinda Dunbar. BadGirls? is about three women who meet in a  seedy pub one night. Through song and spoken word, the audience gets to know the three characters and their dark secrets.

The show begins as a fluffy girly piece, but there are a few bombshells about the women’s pasts along the way. I love musicals, and thought BadGirls? was a highly enjoyable night out. For me, music has more power than spoken words. There is something about the soaring melodies of a tragic ballad, or the sharp major beats of a happy song that pull my heartstrings. The music of BadGirls? was a wide and eclectic range from Broadway tunes to current pop songs and greatly enhanced the storyline.

The three women were superbly cast with good direction from James Brookes. Larissa Gallagher was convincing as the uptight, power hungry Monica who slept with men to get ahead. She had a good strong voice, but her brash attitude and sneer ensured that I didn’t like her character. Felicity (Analisa Bell), had the funnier, lighter songs (including “Taylor the Latte Boy” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich). Whilst I thought she was the most expressive and strongest performer during the spoken words, I thought her voice was weaker than the others. Devon Plumley as the prostitute Narelle had a brilliant voice with good vocal range. The best performer for me, her voice was full and rich with emotion. Her two dramatic solos (“Nobody Knows” by Pink, and “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera) brought tears to my eyes and offered me new interpretations on these current hits. As a threesome, the women worked well together, with exceptional harmonies. With all three wearing microphones, they were easy to hear and the sound was well mixed.  Bravo to the unnamed sound technician. A tight three person band (Haans Drieberg on Drums, Pete Jeavons on Bass, and Music Director Tim Cunniffe on Keyboards) sat at one end of the stage.

The song “Welcome The Day” composed by Cunniffe specifically for the show was an apt finale. Compared to the music however, the script was quite dull and unbelievable. Who tells a complete stranger their darkest secret whilst sitting in a dingy pub? This was the performances biggest flaw, but I found it relatively easy to overlook as I was swept away in the music’s emotions.

DownStairs at the Maj has been a venue for a while now and currently hosts the BrainBox project focusing on the “development and production of new concepts and professional productions for intimate theatre and cabaret”. It is a cosy space, with cabaret style seating, flickering candles and low ceiling contributing to the relaxed, informal atmosphere. I like being able to eat and drink whilst watching a show, and the half hour interval gives everyone enough time to get to the bar without feeling rushed. BadGirls? suited the space, and implausibility in plot aside, it was a fun show with a happily ever after ending.

As one of the songs asked, “Don’t say why, say why not”?


BadGirls?

(What you see is not always what you get!)

VENUE:
DownStairs at the Maj
DATES:
Tuesday 5 to Saturday 16 June
TIMES:
Tues – Thurs @ 7:30pm (Doors open 6:30pm); Fri & Sat @ 8:30pm (Doors open 7:30pm)
TICKETS:
$35 | Concession $25 | Student Rush $10 (conditions apply)
BOOKINGS:
BOCS Ticketing - phone (08) 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au

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