Left – Matthew Hyde and Georgina Walker. Cover – GeorginaWalker. Photos – Clare Hawley
A sound mix mess spoils the party in a cacophony of screech and bellow and a crowded choreography of stomp and swing in Little Triangle's production of The Wild Party.
Based on the jazz poem, The Wild Party by Joseph Moncure March, the musical stage show The Wild Party is a bland wannabe Chicago or Threepenny Opera without the memorable lyrics and tunes.
In a melange of misguided musical cues and limp lyrics, the show sheds the stacatto tempo told in syncopated rhyming couplets of the louche source material and replaces them with snippets from sheds of libretto limbo.
Music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa with a book by LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe seem out of step with Moncure March's raw, rough edged and rude short, sharp slaps of rhyme. The debauchery is butchered, the vivacious becomes vacuous, and total abandon is abandoned. Whatever may be good or toe tapping is massacred in a sound mix mired in mud, songs muffled in a morass of sound mix molasses as singers battle with band, and voices become electronically disembodied, which is disconcertingly discombobulating as the ear is drawn away from the action.
The radio microphone has become the scourge of musical theatre, a bit like CGI in the cinema. Invented to facilitate it now dominates. The microphones cannot contest the overwhelming upstaging of the band and the wires and bands destroy the cut of the period clothing and the general aesthetic, particularly in such an intimate space.
No doubting the enthusiasm and energy of the company, which earlier this year presented a terrific production of Merrily We Roll Along. That show, under the musical direction by Conrad Hamill had the compact simplicity of piano and cello, at a volume that enhances rather than upstages the actors.
This production of The Wild Party reduces much of the singing to inaudible and unintelligible – rather like booze fuelled sing-alongs after a night on the tiles.
Little Triangle presents
The Wild Party
music and lyrics Michael John LaChiusa | book Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
Director Alexander Andrews
Venue: The Reginald | Seymour Centre NSW
Dates: 15 – 24 November 2018