She Loves Me | Hayes Theatre CoPhotos – Noni Carroll Photography

Three musicians, an accordionist, a violinist and a clarinettist kick off Hayes Theatre Company's production of She Loves Me, a work by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, the composer and lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof. It's clean and elegantly simple for the intimate space of the Hayes Theatre.

It's a little disappointing, then, that the actors had to be miked, even though the band tends to cradle not crush the vocal performances. Unnecessary amplification aside, the wearing of radio mikes is aesthetically disfiguring in such an intimate space. Despite this, She Loves Me grows on you.

She Loves Me is a love that grows because of the indefatigable on stage talent. Leading man Rowan Witt and leading lady Caitlin Berry play Georg and Amalia, two employees of Maraczek Perfumery who have an antagonistic work place relationship. Unbeknownst to either of them, they have been corresponding through a lonely hearts club, wooing each other with their passionate letters.

At the same perfumery, Stephen Kodaly is playing with the affections of Ilona Ritter, Kodaly simultaneously carrying on an affair with the perfumery's proprietor, Zoltan.

Zoe Gertz's Ilona turns in another force majeure performance absolutely nailing Ritter's second act signature song of self discovery, A Trip to the Library. Kurt Phelan puts the bound into bounder and the cad into Kodaly, giving the unction peddler an unctuousness that's sleek of tongue and fleet of foot.

Tony Llewellyn-Jones brings veteran venerability to Zoltan the cuckolded scent seller who did not smell out his wife's infidelity. Joel Granger shines as a delivery boy on the up and up and Suzanne Steele and Georgina sparkle as various customers.

Stellar scene stealing work accompanies every turn of Jay James-Moody's avuncular cosmetic clerk and he just about shoplifts the whole she-bang of She Loves Me with his exquisitely executed head waiter, the maitre d' of a restaurant reserved for romantic rendezvous. Moody plunders every comic nuance in line delivery and physical and facial gesture, mining the mirth for a mother lode of laughs.

Production designer, Isabel Hudson, has created a beautiful Art Deco set, primarily establishing the perfume shop but gracefully adapting into a restaurant and a boudoir with augmenting lighting by Matt Cox. Hudson's costumes are also worthy of remark.

Hayes Theatre Co presents
She Loves Me
book Joe Masteroff | music Jerry Bock | lyrics Sheldon Harnick

Director Erin James

Venue: Hayes Theatre Co | Address
Dates: from 24 August 2018
Bookings: hayestheatre.com.au

 

 

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