The World Goes ‘Round. Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, David Thompson. Directed by Jarrad West. Choreographed by Caitlin Schilg. Musical Director. Alexander Unikowski. Canberra Repertory Society. Theatre 3. May 16 – June 1 2019. Bookings 62571950. www.canberrarepertory.org.au
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Wow.! This show has class. From the moment that Louiza Blomfield lets rip with the title song, The World Goes ‘Round, Canberra Rep’s glittering gem of a production gets the goosebumps tingling.. Five workers in a Downtown bar arrive to find that the bar has been put up for sale. Their haven of hopes and fears, dreams and desires is about to cast them out and for two hours they find refuge in the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriting team that brought us the smash hits of Chicago and Cabaret but much, much more. Posters on the wall recall the familiar, the obscure, the unknown and the surprising including musicals, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Zorba, Woman of the Year,The Rink Girls and Flora The Red Menace, as well as numbers from Liza Minella’s In Person and Liza with a Z album.
|Director Jarrad West and the cast of The World Goes 'Round|
One after another, the numbers roll out, every one a hit from director Jarrad West’s stunning ensemble. There is simmering sensuality in Julia Walker’s All That Jazz, comedy in Isaac Gordon’s Sara Lee with the company, pathos in Joel Hutchings and Gordon’s I Don’t Remember You from The Happy Time and longing in Samantha Marceddo’s Only Love from Zorba. Ensemble numbers show a company of performers in perfect synch, sparklingly choreographed by Caitlin Schilg and directed with an inventive eye for business and an instinct for emotional truth by West. Routines, highlighted by a roller-skating sequence by Gordon and Hutchings are triumphs in timing and imagination in a flawless display of talent and production values.. West directs with sensitive flair, allowing for the flavour of the moment to permeate the atmosphere, to feel the solitude of Gordon’s Mr Cellophane, the comical conquest of Marceddo’s Arthur in the Afternoon, the longing of Blomfield’s Maybe This Time or the desperation of I Don’t Remember You. The Bar becomes the world of Kander and Ebb, a revolving reflection of Life’s trials and tribulations and triumphs. Through it all, there is hope. The bar may be sold but the world will continue to go round and the five outcasts will survive.
|On Chris Baldock's set design for |
The World Goes 'Round
And through it all, the band plays on. Under musical director Alexander Unikowski musicians John Yoon, Hayley Manning, Melissa Fung and Brandon Reed with Unikowski at the keyboard and other instruments, provide superb support for the singers. Unique arrangements of certain numbers and surprising harmonies lend the show a fresh appeal and refreshing variation to numbers like New York New York.
If Canberra were Downtown New York and Theatre 3 was Off Broadway, this show would run for years. It is a perfect storm of talent, directed and choreographed with flair and feeling. Five of Canberra’s finest music theatre artists lend this show a zest and shining appeal that makes it a stunning tribute to the music and lyrics of Kander and Ebb and a brilliant evening of musical entertainment to warm the heart and dare you not to hum along to the songs that make this world go round. I predict that The World Goes ‘Round will be the hit musical of the year!