Tuesday, May 22, 2018

BOSOM BUDDIES


Devised by Peter J Adams
Directed by Jason Langley
Musical Director: Michael Tyack
A Christine Dunstan Production
The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre to 22 May

Reviewed by Len Power 21 May 2018

The show, ‘Bosom Buddies’, is subtitled ‘Two theatrical legends, one remarkable story’.  This show itself is destined to become legendary.

The recipient of three Lifetime Achievement Awards, three Helpmann Awards and many others, Nancye Hayes is an actor, dancer, singer, choreographer and director who began her career in My Fair Lady in 1961 and established her name in the title role in Sweet Charity in 1967.  Since then she has appeared in countless shows and even has a theatre named after her – the Hayes Theatre in Sydney.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning singer, dancer, actor and all-round entertainer Todd McKenney stopped the show ‘42nd Street’ in 1989 with his singing and dancing of ‘We’re In the Money’.  He was the controversial judge on the Channel 7 hit series ‘Dancing with the Stars’ for many years and was a superb Peter Allen in the original Australian production of ‘The Boy From Oz’ for nearly 1000 performances over two years.  He has been centre stage in Australia for more than 35 years.

‘Bosom Buddies’ isn’t a collection of star reminiscences that we’ve all heard before.  The two stars delve deep into their past and give us the lows as well as the highs.  Even if you’ve followed their careers closely over the years, most of what you’ll hear in this show is new.

Their video presentation of photos from their past, as well as archival film from some of the shows they’re starred in, is quite enlightening and their comments about themselves and each other is at times very funny.  Both performers have the skill of making it all sound casual and off-the-cuff – something that is not easy to do successfully.

The highlights of the show are moments from past iconic performances.  Nancye Hayes gives us a stirring ‘Broadway Baby’ and ‘Cabaret’ and Todd McKenney is very moving in his performance of ‘Tenterfield Saddler’ from ‘The Boy From Oz’.  Watching these two friends and colleagues dancing so skilfully together is a delight.

The attractive and well-thought out production has been nicely directed by Jason Langley and there is fine musical direction by Michael Tyack and excellent lighting by Trudy Dalgleish.

This is a night in the theatre as memorable as any of the shows that these two Australian icons have appeared in over the years.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.

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