Hello DollyPhoto – Jessica James Moody

The concept of ‘a moment’ is a popular one with lyricists. Mr Sondheim loves them as we know, and on Friday night it was lovely to rediscover Jerry Herman and Michael Stewarts reminder that “It only takes a moment to be loved your whole life long”.

And if Squabbalogic keep presenting such rewarding nights in the theatre as their staged reading of Hello Dolly, they may just prove those words true.

For love was definitely in the air, and the vast York Theatre buzzed with an energy and intimacy it rarely manages to achieve as Jay James-Moody celebrated the company’s achievements, and presented their vision for the coming year.

The evening was a quirky fundraiser for their up and coming 2016 season – a Mystery Musical where the audience is unaware of the show until the first notes are played. It was well supported with an audience studded with theatre luminaries and an eclectic mix of supporters of a company always up for trying something new. For they do – even when its old! Breathing life into shelved classics, and now about to direct its resources into developing new works.

If the Squabbalogic team handles original material as deftly as they reinvent the classics, then Sydney theatre is in for a treat.

For there was not only a lot of love in the room – but so much talent – so very very much talent. They had 3 days to pull together a show and it looked like they had been at it for weeks. That speaks volumes about the skill level of company and production team alike. It was a staged reading and I’m not supposed to review performances, but it’s hard to resist when they were all just so great. Beth Daley was a delight as Dolly, charming and honest and funny. Tim Page a wonderfully volatile Horace, Edward Grey a sincere and beautifully sung Cornelius. And Dean Vince as Barnaby? – A delicious piece of intentional miscasting that was pure joy alongside Laura Murphy’s Minnie – sharp and funny and focused.  The young protégés from AIM making up the company deserve special praise delivering assured, impressive cameos and vocals. 

Knowing who to cast – even at spectacularly short notice – is an often underrated skill, and drawing together this group of consummate actor/singer/comedians showed serious smarts.

And Squabbalogic are making smart choices on so many levels it would appear.

It is hard to realize they have actually been around for a decade, growing steadily and choosing to stage on works on their own terms even when others found their choices curious. Great nights are the theatre are all about risk, and this team are pulling them off. Special moments of theatre like their recent Man of La Mancha (you can buy their recording now!!) and Triassic Park. Their goal is to become a fully professional company and take on the world. They have the credentials – so spread the word! Its time they had the corporate or philanthropic support they deserve.

The foyer was alive with smiles and joy and people buying CD’s as I left.

But like so many moments, this one was all too fleeting – a one night only affair. And while I desperately want to encourage you all not to miss this amazing evening in the theatre – sadly you have. But there will be more. I can’t wait for Grey Gardens in November to see the talented Ms Daly again.

I strongly advise you not to miss another Squabbalogic moment.  


Visit: www.squabbalogic.com.au


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