Music by Lucy Bermingham and Louise Rostron
Original songs: Lyrics by Louise Rostron
Musical direction by Matt Webster
Choreography by Jacquelyn Richards
Teatro Vivaldi to December 19
Review by Len Power 10 December 2015
I’m baby boomer vintage myself but what I saw onstage at Teatro Vivaldi left me with no affection for ‘my’ era. ‘Baby Boomers the Musical’, devised, written and directed by Louise Rostron, is strictly sub-amateur night in writing, production and performance. I can’t think when I have seen a worse show than this.
Moving from the end of the Second World War up to the present day, Louise Rostron’s show looks at the various eras the baby boomers have lived through, accompanied by various songs. Luckily there’s not much script between songs because it’s pretty thin and uninspired.
The choice of songs is slapdash and often dragged in from the wrong era. ‘Makin’ Whoopee’, a 1928 Eddie Cantor song, is used to underline the explosion of baby-making right after the war resulting in the baby boomers. Surely a song from the late 40s could have been found to put the same point over. The song ‘Bui Doi’ from the musical ‘Miss Saigon’, not written until 1991, was used in the Vietnam war sequence. It was a downer of a song to end the first act anyway and had me wondering why an Australian song like ‘I Was Only 19’ wasn’t used. That would have resonated more with an audience familiar with the era. The show also included some original songs by Louise Rostron that were totally forgettable.
Many of the cast couldn’t sing well enough to handle the songs. There was far too much off key singing, inability to reach and sustain top notes and some performers were obviously struggling for breath going from one number to the next. It seemed badly under-rehearsed. Many of the songs seemed to have no direction at all with performers just standing there and shuffling around while singing.
Costume design was credited to Christine Pawlicki but what was on stage was a jumble of unattractive clothing that often didn’t suit the performers or the era they were singing about. Jacquelyn Richards, the choreographer, was severely limited by the postage stamp size stage and the abilities of the performers. The show is accompanied on piano by musical director and arranger, Matt Webster.
At the end of the show, Louise Rostron appeared and led the cast in the final number. She proved to be not much of a singer either, which somehow didn’t surprise me.
Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on Artsound FM’s ‘Artcetera’ program from 9.00am Saturdays.