Life’s a Lemon‘Life’s a Lemon’ is billed as a Rock Musical. A musical it isn’t any more than mutton is lamb as Raylene observes in the show. It might come from the same stock but in terms of product it’s as chalk is to cheese. Maybe it’s felt such productions get more cachet as ‘musicals’ than ‘cabaret’ or ‘vaudeville’ but in theatre where image is everything it’s best to stick to the categories.

This is an entertaining piece of cabaret presented by Maggie Scott, which features a selection of music memorabilia from the rock of the eighties.

It is a very funny take on ‘follow your dream’ that had its debut at the Riverside last year.

Scott subsumes herself to her alter ego Raylene Starr and travels the rollercoaster of the latter’s life through three happy but ultimately unsuccessful multicultural unions. Along the way she collects a string of kids that would well qualify her as a Hollywood mum. It’s all celebrated in the high powered rhythms of rock.

The bookend segments with Raylene as guide to health and happiness presented a contrivance that was ultimately confusing and without point.

The first half explores her relationship with Wacka, the boy with a ‘bad attitude’, introduced in stills of the pair rowing on the Nepean. When the canoe that Raylene paddles capsizes Wacka nurses his long neck as the hapless Raylene disappears below the surface of the water.

Wacka ends up as a statue on the back lawn alongside the Hills Hoist after an unfortunate confrontation with a cement truck. It left him with a full ‘mob’ body suit before they could get him free.

Then followed partners two and three, Omah and Rick.

The numbers are big but the backing tape left a bit to be desired. The volume, at least in the first half rather overtopped the vocals. Nevertheless Scott’s timing, as remarked in Drum Media, was impeccable. She certainly has a big raunchy style.

The show might have benefited from a less ‘staged’ environment. While the set was meticulously detailed its overall contribution to the performance, apart from the ‘Hoist’ was scant and it’s generally not the genre to overload with realism.

The second half of the show has a menopausal Raylene having become rather more lumpy in her excesses with dieting. She tries to relive her days of pole dancing that Tiang Ming, her daughter from the third marriage, presumably introduced her to. It is for this feat that the Hills Hoist stands in the back yard. Fortunately it was without the winding mechanism that had earlier caused Raylene to need some serious work done to her undercarriage.

At this point it tended to drag in the extended reverie until Raylene eventually found her true metier in life in Karaoke. With the assistance of her three multicultural kids, she comes up with her big final number that reaches back to the earlier highs of the night.


LIFE’S A LEMON
Starring Maggie Scott as Raylene Starr

Venue: Seymour Theatre Centre | Cnr City Rd & Cleveland St Chippendale
Dates: 15 Nov to 1 Dec
Times: Tues 6.30pm Wed-Sat 8:00pm  plus matinees Wed 2pm & Sat 5pm
Tickets: $40 adults, $35 concession.
Bookings: Ph (02) 9351 7940 or www.seymourcentre.com.au

Related Articles

Mr Burns, a post-electric play | Belvoir Mr Burns, a post-electric play | Belvoir
This is a play which is at turns simple yet complex, richly layered yet straightforward, at turns surprisingly deep and yet skimming the surface. Left – Esther Hannaford, Jude Henshall, Brent...
Power Plays | Sydney Theatre Company Power Plays | Sydney Theatre Company
Power Plays is an entertaining exercise in short-form theatremaking along a centralised theme, even if none of the individual pieces are especially memorable. Photo – James GreenWriting short...

Most read Sydney reviews

The audience for any one night is divided into five groups of twelve people, each of which walks...


Protagonists, He and She are so all over each other at the beginning of Con Nats’ The Pond, they...


Intimate and interactive, Ash Grunwald showed us a small part of what he is made of, musically....