Saturday, May 19, 2012

THE COURT OF SWING CARACTACUS

Brian Kavanagh, Alyce Nesbitt, Dim Ristevski, Mark Woods, Jane Kellett, Kevin Crowe,Cerri Murphy
Photo:   Craig and Therese Bartlett 
Written, Composed, Designed and Directed by Andrew Hackwill

Presented by Mad Ferret Productions

Tuggeranong Arts Centre until May 26th

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Move over C.J.Dennis you have a rival. Andrew Hackwill has invented his own highly entertaining musical genre, the larrikin musical, notable for their catchy tunes and gloriously silly plots.  This is the fourth of Hackwill’s musicals to be premiered at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre in recent years, and certainly the most polished.

Not only is Hackwill the writer and composer of “The Court of Swing Caractacus”, he is also the director, designer, musical director, choreographer and set builder, and has gathered around him a talented cast who share his taste for silliness, a jaunty six piece band in which he plays, and six energetic swing dancers to add additional colour and movement to compliment Christine Pawlicki’s already riotous costumes.   

In a cheeky homage to C.J.Dennis, the story is narrated in verse by a cheerful character called Hec (a delightful performance by Brian Kavanagh) who helpfully includes the stage directions just in case you’ve missed them and who ends up with the winsome Mary (Alyce Nesbitt).   It concerns three unlikely fortune tellers, Wong, Elle and Jack ( gleefully portrayed by Mark Woods, Jane Kellett and Kevin Crowe), who are threatened with eviction from their Caractacus Court premises  by a devious agent, Wilheim (Dim Ristveski) and his co-hort Nora (Cerri Murphy).

Each gets a solo, of which “It’s Good to Be Wong”, which gives new meaning to the word ‘boogie’ and “Me and My Mountain” are stand-outs, even if most of the lyrics are lost under the over-enthusiastic band.
(This review appears on the CITY NEWS website and will appear in the print edition published 24th May - May 29th)

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