Photo - Pilar Mata Dupont
As an avid admirer of Tom Lehrer’s incisive wit since the age of 12, I was prepared to deliver a cutting commentary on any performance less than outstanding. Sadly I was disappointed. This show was nothing less than brilliant!
Of course when you have witty, subversive satirical lyrics which extraordinarily, are as relevant today as in the 1950’s and 60’s when they were penned, the cast is already one step ahead of the field. However it was nigh impossible to fault this production. Director and frighteningly young (24!) and astute M.C. Andrew Williams partnered by veteran Musical Director Tim Cuniffe (how fortunate Perth is to claim him as our own prolific and supremely talented resident artist?) lead this exceptionally talented and versatile troupe through some pretty tricky paces.
The show opened with the Baden-Powell mock salute “Be Prepared”, a jouncy, jig-along piano accompaniment which is pretty much a Lehrer standard musical accompaniment. The venom is in the lyrics, and of course the delivery.
I could list the entire repertoire but it was fulsome and too long for this review. I will however highlight each performer and just a few of their finest moments.
Louisa Fitzhardinge, possessed of a lovely clear soprano and excellent diction, when rendering her solo numbers “When You Are Old And Gray" and the particularly hilarious “Irish Ballad" - thanks to her spectacularly crisp Irish kick dancing. Izaak Lim, a sparklingly and attractive stage presence who delivered the chemically challenging “Elements” song with great panache. In the second half of the show he also tackled “Lobachevsky,” a hymn to plagiarizing in a similarly pithy manner. Nick Maclaine, a rare theatrical treat who worked the audience as his own. The paean to syphilis, “I Got It From Agnes”, was his own, as was the classic “The Masochism Tango”. Clint Strindberg was superb in the numbers “She’s My Girl” and the utterly hilarious, slick delivery of the hilarious “I Hold Your Hand In Mine".
The ensemble work was excellent, concluding with a Rockettes-style kick-chorus line to one of the theme songs “Oh My Darling Clementine”, which had appeared as a “folk song”in several versions during the show.
I’m seriously considering getting a group of “theatre angels” together. This show deserves far more than a 3 night outing!
The Words and Music of Tom Lehrer
Director Andrew Williams
Musical Director Tim Cunniffe
Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth
Dates/Times: Thursday 19, Friday 20 & Saturday 21 August @ 7.30pm, 2010
Tickets: Standard $48 Concession $42 Season Ticket $113 (three different shows)
Bookings: BOCS Ticketing (08) 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au | at any BOCS outlets