Every Single SaturdayBefore going along to see Every Single Saturday I must admit to a little apprehension. It is the same fear I face every time a conversation turns to sport or someone makes a comment vaguely sports-related and then looks at me as if I am expected to make a certain type of comment. That’s right, I’m a member of Australia’s smallest minority group: the Sports-Ignorant. Thankfully, although it really is all about soccer mums and dads, Every Single Saturday makes life easy even for the Sports-Ignorant. There’s even one of us amongst the characters!

The story is educational for our kind. It had never occurred to me that a soccer mum might have to navigate to a sports venue she had never attended before. Nor was it apparent that the sidelines of a sporting event may be a place where the middle class mix freely with the upper crust. But beyond its instructive qualities, Every Single Saturday is a very engaging story, with some complex characters, enjoyable music, and much more than superficial humour.

The action takes place all on the one day, the soccer final, where three parents, Liz, Sandy and Carlo, meet Neil, the father of the team’s star player. Here they banter, flirt, argue, mock the other social class and occasionally cheer their kids on. And although the small quantity of cheering may suggest otherwise, the central theme, common across class, ethnicity, sex and even the varying quality of parent/child relationships, is that of parental devotion.

One of the most admirable features in this musical is Joanna Weinberg’s development of characters who, even through conflict, all manage to maintain an equal status as heroes and heroines. The story insists that we judge them favourably despite foibles and despite the enormous differences in their life experiences, and there really are no villains.

This may be one of the first Australian musicals that I’ve really, genuinely enjoyed. Americans can get away with the absurd cheesiness that tends to go along with the genre, but it usually seems completely anachronistic in Australian theatre. I just love how Weinberg has successfully managed to marry an Australian vernacular with a generally cheesy and over-the-top genre.

A very talented and highly professional cast brings life to the story and characters, and while opening night may have presented a challenge in initial energy, especially in the opening musical numbers, it wasn’t long before the story and the music sprang into vibrancy and took the audience on one of those great theatrical roller coasters, helped along by the magnificent voices of Melanie de Ferranti and Sara Grenfell.

So, for managing to engage a Sports-Ignorant play lover in a musical about sport, I think an award is in order. But all I can do is congratulate the cast and crew on a very enjoyable show that is at once engaging, intelligent, hilarious and heart-warming.

Every Single Saturday
by Joanna Weinberg

Venue: Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Dates/Time: May 13 - 15 @ 8pm
Bookings: www.tuggeranongarts.com | Tuggeranong Arts Centre on 6293 1443

Casula Powerhouse - 12 June @ 2pm and 8pm
Parade Theatre, Kensington (NIDA) - September 13 - October 10, 2010

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