Sunday, November 8, 2015

A TASTE OF TINSELTOWN



Directed by Cate Clelland
Musical Direction by Nicholas Griffin
Free Rain Theatre
The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre to 7 November

Review by Len Power 7 November 2015

The second in Free Rain’s cabaret evenings, ‘A Taste Of Tinseltown’ focussed on the songs from the movies.  Interestingly, many of the songs chosen were written for Broadway shows before being used in the movies.  Two members of the cast of the previous cabaret, ‘Buzzin’ Broadway’ – Louiza Blomfield and Kirrah Amosa – joined the new cast of this show to present a good mix of well-known and enjoyable songs.

Fraser Findlay sang a well-controlled and pleasing ‘Maria’ from ‘West Side Story’ and also ‘Unchained Melody’, which was used to great effect in the movie, ‘Ghost’.  He and Tim Sekuless then made ANan amusing comic team with ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Tim Sekuless sang ‘Kansas City’ from ‘Oklahoma!’ with great energy and excitement, nicely capturing the awe experienced by an innocent country lad on his first visit to a big city.  Kirrah Amosa was impressive with the heart-felt ‘Don’t Forget Me’ from the TV show ‘Smash’ and Lexi Sekuless was sexy and fun with ‘File My Claim’, the Marilyn Monroe song from the gold rush movie ‘River Of No Return’.

New to Canberra, Amy Lapthorne gave us a nicely sung ‘Colours of the Wind’ from the Disney movie, ‘Pocahontas’ and Colin Milner was in fine voice with ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from “South Pacific’.  He and Louiza Blomfield gave an appealing performance of the romantic duet, ‘You’re Just In Love’, from ‘Call Me Madam’.

With Henry Mancini’s haunting ‘Moon River’ and Stephen Sondheim’s ‘I’m Still Here’, Louiza Blomfield had the opportunity to display the wide range of her singing and acting skills.  The entire cast was impressive with their ensemble singing of ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ from the movie, ‘Blue Hawaii’.

Musical director, Nicholas Griffin again gave fine accompaniment on keyboard.  The bizarre modern arrangement of Harold Arlen’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ was the one jarring note in a set of otherwise nicely chosen songs.  Kirrah Amosa gamely tried to make something of it, but the arrangement (not by Nicholas Griffin) was all style and no substance.

Once again, the various costumes were well-chosen.  Cate Clelland has directed the show well, keeping it moving along at a good pace with simple but interesting narrations about the songs.

Free Rain are on a winner with these evenings of themed cabarets.  I’ll look forward to future editions.

Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program from 9.00am on Saturdays.

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