Left - Debra Byrne. Cover - Jude Henshall and Cameron Goodall. Photos - Shane Reid.
Metro Street is a stellar new show that propels Australian musical theatre into a new galaxy.
The State Theatre Company’s production is a gutsy, raw, original work with modern and relevant lyrics and fresh and haunting music by gifted young Australian Matthew Robinson.
Robinson wrote the book, songs - why weren’t they listed in the program? - and score. He won the Pratt Foundation’s Prize for Musical Theatre for his efforts. And it is no wonder!
Metro Street is fresh, invigorating and quintessentially contemporary Australian. It is no mere Neighbours or Home and Away. It is an earthy, slightly grimy and always truthful modern-day story about the pain, heartache and ultimately love that lies beneath the façade of Australian families. This is an Australia that is familiar, comfortable and yet paradoxically extremely discomforting.
Director Geordie Brookman has added another string to his professional and contemporary theatre bow with this mature work of art, flawlessly performed by a well-chosen cast.
It is probably fair to say that the talents of Nancye Hayes and Debra Byrne are the draw card for many members of the audience attending this show. Hayes and Byrne shine brightly in this firmament, but the show itself, the talents of the design team, and the outstanding younger members of the cast are the wind beneath the stage legends’ wings.
Powerful gutsy raw emotion with brilliant music and lyrics grist for this world premiere's mill.
Victoria Lamb has designed a majestic urban stage suitably stressed and street-like while Geoff Cobham’s lighting once again takes on a life of its own adding depth and magic to the production.
Musical director Matthew Carey leads an ensemble of on-stage musicians who seamlessly blend in with performers.
The result of this combination of talents is a show, which is an intriguing and dramatic story about a woman’s battle with breast cancer, and the effect on her loved ones.
Hayes is at her best as the capable grandmother Jo who tackles all problems with sage advice, practical domesticity and dogged loyalty. Byrne is outstanding as her daughter Sue caught in a nightmarish sequence of events that tax her life force.
Cameron Goodall shines as her conflicted son Chris, Jude Henshall is a delightfully earnest Amy and Verity Hunt-Ballard provides many of the lighter moments with her performance as the ditzy and endearing Kerry.
This is a big-hearted Australian show with a heart-wrenching finale that drew torrents of tears, thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
State Theatre Company of South Australia, Arts Asia Pacific + Power Arts present
Books, music and lyrics by Matthew Robinson
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Dates: 3 April – 25 April