Musical mockery

Velvet Addiction (Shhhhh! Productions)

Metro Arts, Sue Benner Theatre

July 19 – 20

Think you can’t get any more lighthearted than a musical? Well, think again. Behold the spoof musical and, when done well, it can be riotously entertaining. Such is the experience of Shhhhh! Productions’ “Velvet Addiction”, which had its Brisbane premiere at Metro Arts this weekend ahead of touring the country.

“Velvet Addiction” ticks all the musical boxes as it parodies typical narrative style, tone and melody in chronicling the story of wannabe Broadway starlets seeking assistance from psychiatrist Dr Miza Linnelli (and scene-stealing receptionist Methel Erman) for their velvet addiction (which renders performers unable to function in life without their regular performance hit.) Indeed, with a talented ensemble cast, this original musical cabaret is well-paced, hilarious and includes some belting Broadway hits, including a killer mash-up musical melody that just keeps giving. Recognising the tunes (with a twist) from musicals such as “Wicked”, “Rent”, “Cats” et al adds to the experience, however, is not a necessity, because entertainment emerges equally from its comic moments. Productions like this are quite simply, a joy to experience; when the audience is collectively, palpably having such a good time, the pleasure is nothing short of infectious.

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One of best of musical parodies I have seen was at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. By title alone, “Hitler the Musical” by RL Musical Theatre shouldn’t have worked, but it did. It was ostentatiously offensive but comic genius in the way it set the dark history of the Fuhrer to gospel, country music and blues genre parodies (amongst others). “Velvet Addiction” is right up there in my book and definitely worth a look when it returns to Queensland later this year.

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