Left - Alan Brough & Pia Morley. Intro - Lucy Durack & Nicki Wendt. Cover - Lucy Durack & ensemble.
Like many famous musicals, 42nd Street is light on plot but heavy on the entertainment. The Production Company’s current rendition of it is a fun and fantastic hit. The show has great familiar songs – Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo and We’re In The Money, lots of high energy ensemble tap routines and a large, diverse cast. Throw in an ex-footy captain (Anthony Koutoufides) as a gangster, a great comic actor (Alan Brough) and performers who can belt tunes with the best of them and you have one great night!
It’s no wonder the season is already sold out.
There is a plenty of physical comedy and dancing in 42nd Street. With the entire orchestra on stage, it is no mean feat to coordinate proceedings. Director Terence O’Connell and choreographer Alana Scanlan have done beautifully to create a well-paced show and make great use of the 60 strong cast. Scenes flow smoothly and, with just simple props, the cast is able to create the illusion of new settings. It feels like a full blown musical even though the staging is relatively simple.
Using the show within-a-show narrative structure, 42nd Street revolves around producer Julian Marsh’s new musical Pretty Lady and the naïve young chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who saves the show at the last minute. It’s a feel good story where the young heroine goes from unknown dancer to theatrical star, makes a Broadway show a success and everyone lives happily ever after. Lucy Durack as the wide-eyed Sawyer works a treat and Nicki Wendt as the older, jealous rival Dorothy Brock is equally strong.
Brough is a great choice as Pretty Lady’s co-author Bert Barry and his tongue in cheek rendition of Shuffle Off to Buffalo was a highlight of the evening. Melissa Langton, as co-author Maggie Jones, instilled great character and even better singing into her role and Thern Reynolds as juvenile lead Billy Lawlor was full of youthful enthusiasm.
What makes this production, though, is all the dancing. There is no shortage of exuberant tap routines, some of which are quite complex and involve many bodies. To have gotten to such a high technical level in such a short rehearsal period is testament to the talent and hard work of the young company.
Supported by musical director/conductor Peter Casey and the behind the scenes work of Kathryn Sproul (sets), Kim Bishop (costumes) and Matt Scott (lighting), the cast and orchestra are in fine form and more importantly, having an infectiously good time. The audience certainly left with smiles on their faces.
It may be too late to catch this 42nd Street, but keep your eyes peeled for a new collection of musicals, and hopefully some extended seasons, from The Production Company in 2008.
The Production Company presents
Music by Harry Warren and Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble
Venue: State Theatre, The Arts Centre
Dates: 3 - 7 October 2007
Times: Wednesday - Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 3pm
Tickets: $37.00 - $75.00
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136 166 or www.ticketmaster.com.au