It was the first time I heard a collective pleasurable sigh from an audience after hearing just 8 notes on the piano. I will never hear that song again without remembering that. It was like a ripple of warm approval and nostalgia had run through them. The Therry Dramatic Society in Adelaide continues into its 75th year with the adaptation of the film Holiday Inn which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire no less when it hit Broadway in 1942 and that melody was brand new. Little did Irving Berlin, who wrote the music and lyrics for the show, know that, 72 years later, we can safely say that song will go on for ever.
Ensemble work, the set (Gary Anderson) and lighting (Richard Parkhill) are good and under the stage management of Patsy Thomas and the Director Jude Hines, the production is up to Therry’s fine standard. The orchestra in the care of Joanna Patrick and Mark Delaine do the show proud. While Therry is an amateur group, rarely are things amateurish with their shows but costumes in this one needed to go a notch up to be in keeping with the show biz nature of it. Although the singing was generally good, and in some cases very good, Lila and Jim at times were flat. The good standard of acting throughout brings this lively show to a highly appreciative audience with its lovely, memorable old songs, a dozen of which live on.
The story concerns Jim (Brady Lloyd) and Lila (Nikki Gaertner Eaton), singers at the Cat’s Meow Nightclub. They and their dancer friend, Ted (Lindsay Prodea) sing “I’ll capture your heart” which has Jim showing off his Bing stuff and Ted, being Fred as it were. There’s plenty of beaut tap dancing in this show and the choreographer (Thomas Phillips) has done a good job, the main characters and the ensemble doing their stuff with panache.
Jim proposes, Lila accepts and then Jim springs his surprise. He has bought a farm along with the 15 bedroom farmhouse in Connecticut for the day when he can give up the stage. That day has come, he tells her, and he paints a lovely picture of how wonderful it will be to leave the glitz and glitter and to live the simple back-to-nature life. Lila is less than enthusiastic and anyway her hard-pressed agent, Danny (Andy Trimmings) has told her she has been offered a 6 weeks contract so they agree that she’ll fulfil that while Jim gets started on his dream. “Blue days, all of them gone, Nothing but blue skies from now on,” he sings.
At the farm we meet Louise (Kate Anolak) and what a joy it is to do so. She is the general dogsbody, farm hand, housekeeper, Jim’s positive supporter and gutsy singer with a powerful voice, excellent diction and characterisation. We also meet perky delivery boy Charlie, in this case Charlie Zorkovic in his first musical. He should go far. Lila turns up, returns the ring, knowing that being a farmer’s wife is not her idea of fun, and Ted offers her the opportunity to team up with him for a gig in Hollywood, which she accepts. Bereft of his fiancée, feeling betrayed by Ted and realising that farming is much harder work than he envisaged and he’s no good at it, Jim falls into the doldrums. But you know how it is with musicals and sure ‘nuff along comes Linda (Lauren Scarfe), a quiet neighbour who used to sing and gave it up (although she sings so well). Before long Louise and the ensemble are “Shaking the blues away” and with handbells and skipping ropes this is an absolute doozy of a number. Jim is suddenly struck by an idea – but will it work? Soon he’s trying out on Linda some of the songs he’s written including one which he wrote a while ago and threw into a bottom drawer. He plays 8 notes. They sing it together. Sounds O.K. I think you’ll agree when you go to see it. It runs until the 16th June.
The Therry Dramatic Society presents
by Irving Berlin
Director Jude Hines
Venue: Arts Theatre | 53 Angas Street, Adelaide SA
Dates: 7 – 16 June 2018
Tickets: $15 – 32
Bookings: 84105515 | trybooking.com