Thursday, July 27, 2017


Written by Magenius (Paul Bissett and Catherine Prosser)
Music by Sally Greenaway
Directed by Shelly Higgs
The Street Theatre to 29 July

Reviewed by Len Power 26 July 2017

Described as a ‘thought-provoking journey through seven innovations that continue to shape us, the way we behave and the way we think’, this hour-long show is very entertaining with appealing original music by Sally Greenaway, an amusing and quirky script by Magenius (Paul Bissett and Catherine Prosser), and engaging performances by the narrator, Dene Kermond, and the Syzergy Ensemble of musicians.

Canberra-based composer-pianist Sally Greenaway works in a multiplicity of styles and genres, from orchestral film and concert works to jazz ensemble, big band, chamber and vocal music.  She has had more than 60 works published and has won numerous awards.  Her 2015 album ‘Aubade & Nocturne’ was released to critical acclaim.

Sally Greenaway

This production, which covers the inventiveness of the 20th Century, gives Sally Greenaway the opportunity to display her skill in a wide array of music styles.  Starting with a delightful ragtime piece she moves on to a work reminiscent of the jazz-influenced music of George Gershwin.  Her music for the computer age was especially memorable as was her music in a completely different style for the chaos and horror of war and its inventions.

Dene Kermond (photo by Novel Photographics)
Dene Kermond plays the narrator as a kind of nutty professor, setting the scene for each era of inventiveness.  His playful performance, interacting with the audience, works very well.  Members of the Syzergy Ensemble join in the fun, coming on at the beginning like clockwork figures and interacting with the narrator as if he’s a pain in the neck.  They’re all quite capable comedians as well as excellent musicians.

Syzergy Ensemble (photo by Novel Photographics)
The script by Paul Bissett and Catherine Prosser is on the right track with its quirkiness and interesting detail about each era of invention but some of the transitions into the music need to be smoother.

Christine Nowack has designed a delightfully jumbled set with carefully chosen props and it’s nicely enhanced by Linda Buck’s atmospheric lighting design.

Shelly Higgs direction is smooth and plays at the right pace giving us an entertaining production which showcases Sally Greenaway’s music very well.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program (9.00am Saturdays) and on other selected Artsound programs.