Hitting its mark in the 2009 Midsumma Festival, Forbidden Broadway is one musical revue with a twist.
Taking a hilarious poke at its stimulus, this light-hearted show is an irreverent spoof of the show tunes, characters and plots of many contemporary and current musicals. And with its first New York performance in 1982, it’s no surprise there have been a few rewrites to include parodies from newer and somewhat worthier shows.
Performed by a talented four-cast ensemble, the show flits between various sketches, maintaining a fast pace throughout. Its appeal lies in the vast range of the performers and their ability to characterize and caricature their famous counterparts. Each performer is equally as strong as another and all thrive in their moment to shine.
Rachel Juhasz brought the house down early on in the show with her rendition of Tomorrow – the forgotten story of Annie, the out of work actress since age 10. Both James Cutler and Gerard Lane sang beautifully; yet appropriately painfully in the respective Somewhat Overindulgent and Jean Val Jean’s Bring It Down. And Laura Marcucci’s outlandishly cheeky Liza One-Note channeled every inch of what is to love and loathe about Liza Minnelli.
Favourites resonated loudly with the full audience and it was clear that the take offs of Rent, Les Miserables and Sondheim inspired lyrics and music had the strongest appeal. Delivered with unstoppable zest, these medleys best highlighted the skills and talent of not only these performers but also the creative team behind them.
Cameron Thomas provided flawless support as music director, while the direction of Brad Fischer and Nathan Firman proved tight and concise. Their comprehension and intention of the show – to deliver silly and often gentle mocks of shows new and old was always apparent and never once took itself seriously. The numerous costume changes for each sketch were hilariously impressive and the small amount of Opening Night wardrobe malfunctions only provoked extra laughs from the audience.
While its target audience of music-theatrelovers may normally be minimal, Forbidden Broadway found its spot with the Opening Night crowd. Screaming in delight at each of the sketches, the performers never missed a beat in providing plenty of laughs. Each had a perfect grasp of the amount of subtlety required, finding that less is often more when playing up every opportunity for a gag.
This witty and energetic performance showcases all that is revered and rebuked in the wonderful world that is musical theatre. Get along to see this talented and committed team and you’ll never see a musical the same way again.
SHooSH! Productions presents
Greatest Hits Volume 1
Part of the 2009 Midsumma Festival
Venue: Cromwell Road Theatre | 27A Cromwell Rd South Yarra
Dates: 4 - 8 February
Tickets: Adults $30.00, Concessions $27.00
Bookings: 9471 4432