Modern monologuing

Bombshells (Productions Theatre Company)

Pip Theatre

January 28 – February 4

“Bombshells” begins with the familiar frenzy of mother-of-three Meryl (Julie Berry) taking the audience through her busy day in almost stream-of-consciousness style as she throws herself together in disorganised morning chaos. It is the first in the show’s series of six monologues featuring women on the edge as they try to muddle through life wearied by self-doubt. In the case of the opener, the journey is full of familiar tropes in that clichéd-because-it-is-true way, as Meryl questions everything from supermarket selections to missing socks, and shares the pressure she feels to appreciate the little moments of motherhood.

While it’s a rather one note realisation, the main weakness in this first story comes mostly from text. It seems a strange choice, for example, to have a monologue with so little personalisation and perhaps a wasted opportunity to rather talk to unnamed ‘the baby’ as an organising feature. Also, dialogue of the “I’m vacuuming” type is really not needed when the character is pushing a vacuum cleaner around. We seem to spend a lot of time in Meryl’s experience, (initially and in revisit), however, when we are moved on to her sweet, all-alone and emotionally-fragile Cactophile neighbour Tiggy (Libby Harrison), the Productions Theatre Company play really finds its groove.

With little obvious connection between the six monologues beyond some thematic commonalities, the formulaic scenes appear more as standalone vignettes. Tiggy’s are presented to us through framing device of a speech to the Cacti and Succulents League, which soon ventures into how tending to the plants has provided her a sense of belonging over trying recent times. In Harrison’s capable hands, there is appreciated light and shade to Tiggy’s story. While her accompanying PowerPoint slides and obvious nervousness at speaking in public bring much comedy, there is pathos too as more is revealed about how the hobby has brought her through personal troubles as her veneer slips into crescendoing angry rant about her husband Harry’s betrayal. Alongside its hilarity, however, there is a real depth of meaning to her cacti presentation, full, as it is, of metaphors about how nothing stays the same. This also allows Harrison to show great range within her performance, including a vulnerability in longing for the comfort that comes from long term companionship

Next we move on to enormously talented youngster Mary O’Donnell (Alexis Beebe), aka the Liza Minelli of St Bridget’s, who is preparing for a competition with determination to defeat her nemesis with a meticulously-crafted “Cats” number… until disaster strikes forcing a very funny ‘the show must go on’ last minute substitution song and improvised routine. This is a detailed performance from a supremely talented character actor.

Nuance is also seen in Beebe’s contrasting Act Two scenes as proper, plaid-wearing professional reader Winsome, in which she outlines her resigned-to widows routine and unrealised want for affection with an engaging use of pace, pause and emphasis to authenticate the storytelling. Indeed, there is such realness to the subtle, controlled tones of the character she creates in her talk about the expectations that come with life’s later paths, that we could easily see a play about her alone. This is where Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s skill of acute observations and social satire again shines as, alongside Winsome’s honest explanation of the loneliness that comes from being a one again after so long being a two and want again for a fellow decision maker, there is a layering of judgy quips as to the contradictions of other widows’ behaviours and evocative description of the totally unexpected event that reignites her.

Generally, the move of story to local settings works well. The show’s themes are, after all, universal. However, mentions of North Carindale and Norman Park, jar with the image of a New York receipt and mention of maple leaves. And while it could also be tighter in early execution, Act Two, is a real delight in its presentation also of excited about-to-be-married Theresa’s (Libby Harrison) realisation that perhaps it is not all about the dress after all, in addition to visiting fading American cabaret performer Zoe Struthers (Julie Berry), attempt to strut her stuff on the comeback stage. And Beebe’s Winsome is worth the price of admission alone.

“Bombshells” premiered at The Melbourne Theatre Company in 2001 (with Caroline O’Connor playing all six roles), but it contains no real anchor in time apart from a passing mention of being post 9-11, which suits a work with such universal themes of at its core. Aside from its messages about women’s liberation, the play is also, however, about loneliness, serving as a reminder to reach out to others, regardless of what their facade may suggest, about how they really are travelling.

Comedy cresendoing

There’s a War On, You Know (Mates Theatre Genesis)

Redland Museum

January 26 – February 3

In late 1941, St Cecilia’s School for Young Ladies is all about tradition. The annual production at every year’s sacrosanct Founders Day celebration is always a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and it is about to rotate around to “The Mikado”. The program has been designed and numbers already rehearsed in anticipation of the coming year’s production …. until on the last December day of term, Japan enters the war. With things reworked into a Chinese-themed “The Mandarin”, the hope is that the production will still please the difficult-to-satisfy bishop’s wife (Lynda Dwyer). Further complication then also arises with the arrival of the VDC (Volunteer Defence Corp), which meets at the school, requiring reallocation of areas for their equipment storage.

It takes a little while for the two storylines of Australian playwright Peter Flanigan’s “There’s a War On, You Know” to be fully formed. Along the way, however, Mates Theatre Genesis’ show is full of recognisable sensibilities of the time and place of a prestigious private girls’ school where the head girl is such because her parents paid for the tennis courts about to be turned into trenches by the VDC. The storylines intersect in Act Two when the girls young ladies of school (Winter McCourt, Angelina Mustafay and Sammy Jo Toussaint Guild) meet the disastrous Lance Corporal Foster (Ronan Mason). In their hurried attempt to explain the plot of “The Mikado” “The Mandarin”, along with the reasoning behind their teachers’ nicknames, they inadvertently set in motion his belief that a coded Tojo-type invasion is imminent.

Simple staging and an intimate performance space at the Redland Museum initially belies the large ensemble of players required to tell the story and from within its cast, there are some clear standouts. Ashley McArthur anchors things with an easy, assured performance as the school’s likeable drama teacher Dymphna, and her scenes of interaction with Father Anthony (Roland Dean) are a particular highlight, especially as they increase in flirtatious tone. Dean, himself, brings some light-hearted delight to Act Two’s crescendoing comedy. And Linda Stevenson makes for an appropriately stern headmistress Miss Thistleton.

Glynis Sequeira’s costumes convey character and reflect an era of rations and spy paranoia … because there is a war on you know. And while early scenes could be pacier or trimmed a little, such as when we see ‘Jerusalem’ performed as part of a school assembly, there is still much to enjoy in the story’s discovery of humour in the dirty business of war. Ian Stevenson’s Captain Woods and Mason’s dim Lance Corporal Forster, are a constant source of humour in their provision of a “Dad’s Army” type comedy of overconfident incompetents, bumbling through mutual misunderstandings, which, with pre-interval hilarity, sets the scene for the chaos to come.

Experience of “There’s a War On, You Know” makes for an entertaining night out at the Redland Museum, especially when it is experienced as part of the dinner and a show deal. The play is one of mainstream, easy-to-watch laughs from big but also little details (like when the home army recruits hilariously attempt to synchronise their watches) and there is a distinct Aussie humour to the comedy of errors that seems to appeal to everyone in its audience.

Who’s the boss?

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza (The Farm)

Metro Arts, New Benner Theatre

January 24 – 28

Previously acclaimed works from Dance theatre company The Farm means that expectations are high for their new subversive piece “Hold Me Closer Tony Danza”, which has been created by Kate Harman, Michael Smith, Gavin Webber and Anna Whitaker. The immersive event is occurring in Metro Arts’ New Benner Theatre, but not as we may know it, with the space opened up and requiring audience members to move about the action, standing, sitting on the ground and maybe even participating in the provocation themselves.

Immediately, we are divided to a chosen side to observe the back and forth interaction of performers committed to their either correct or otherwise share of the chorus of Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’. Like watching a coin being continuously flipped, see them alternate sides to establish the boss as the aesthetic around them slowly adjusts towards proposition about how we form meaning and the flaws that this might expose.

Meaning can be drawn at many levels thanks to the Inception-like layering of the show’s satire and sometimes metatheatrical address to (and direction of) the audience, marshalling the crowd into their dance positions as required. There are clearly multiple levels, with the work evoking, as the creators have summarised, the head, heart and guts of passion.Its focus on misunderstandings that come from contradictions means that the show is filled with binary oppositions across its ever facet, not just the obvious Tiny Dancer / Tony Danza or Star Wars / Star Trek sort, but aesthetically in the silver or gold wrapping of participants and descent of warm golden lighting into murky green blackness (lighting design by Govin Ruben) to transition from the long initial sequence.

Extremes are seen too when the frenzied movements that emphasise a pumping soundtrack, are dialled down to a serene stillness in which we dare not breath too loudly. As frantic as things may seem at times as energy escalates, at its core it is all quite crafted and controlled, even when we are picking our side in a Jetts vs Sharks type dance battle of sorts from growing audience-turned-recruited-performer groups, ably fronted by all-attitude leaders Kate Harman and Michael Smith.

This is a physical and physically demanding, well-choreographed show, and dance artists Harman and Smith push themselves to extremes to create meaning through their bodies, when controlled in close proximity to not collide, but then united in unison when floor work sees them move fluidly as one. The result is unique entertainment in encouragement of consideration if art is life or life is art, through a lens in which the rules of traditional theatre or even dance no longer apply. And while its titular framing device appears less as an integral thread and more as a top-and-tail function, it does lead to joyous ultimate shared celebration (and sing along) to the misquoted line from Elton John’s song, during whichTony may just make an en masse appearance.

As a bold, brash and non-conforming piece, “Hold Me Closer Tony Danza” serves to challenge theatre norms and showcase some fine dancing skills. Indeed, with an ambiguous start and false finish, it will keep you guessing throughout and on-your-toes in wonder about what has just happened, what is currently unfolding before you and where things may be going, as much as appreciation of the obvious dance skills on display.

Rebellion reclamation

Spring Awakening (Millennial Productions)

Ron Hurley Theatre

January 20 – 29

To open an ensemble show with a solo number is a big ask of any performer. In the case of “Spring Awakening”, Nykita O’Keefe, as the innocent and confused Wendla, gives us a plaintively lamentful ‘Mama Who Bore Me’ reassurance that its daring narrative is in good musical hands with Millennial Productions. The sweetly-sung opener not only establishes the calibre of this production of the controversial musical, but conveys the yearning and frustration that underpins the emotions of its characters who are precariously positioned between childhood and adulthood, yet ignorant to what really awaits.

Bolding bringing an uncompromising text such as this to life also represents a challenge. The 1891 German play turned Tony Award winning rock musical puts teen sexuality, domestic and sexual violence, and suicide front and centre as it chronicles late 19th century German students on a journey of teenage self-discovery and coming-of-age anxiety in what is ultimately a powerful celebration of youth and rebellion.

A dominating tree may be bare, its leaves scattered across the stage, but clearly there is much life still within the story being told. In Millennial Productions’ hands, ensemble numbers like ‘Totally Fucked’ serve as catchy blasts of infectious blah blah blah blah blah blah blah echoing energy, which brings Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s stomping rock score to life with the high-energy movement of thrashing teen angst. Combined with Taylor Andrews’ decisive design aesthetic and dynamic direction, it means there is much to celebrate about this truly ensemble work.

Things start strongly as the primary characters of soon-to-be intertwined relationships are introduced. Scenes are swift in their transition from Wendla’s plead to an unhelpful mother to be told the facts of life, to a monotonous Latin drill where we meet our other two leads. The headstrong Melchoir (Damien Quick) leaps to defence of his anxious friend Moritz (AJ Betts), so traumatised by puberty that he can’t concentrate on anything. Lauren Bensted’s stylised choreography is particularly impressive in the resulting, ‘All That’s Known’, in which Melchior reflects on the shallow narrow-mindedness of school and society, as the ensemble of schoolboys move in unison upon and around their schoolroom formation seating.

Musical numbers all make good use of all opportunities of the space as they express the characters’ inner worlds. Melchior’s atmospheric number ‘The Bitch of Living’, about desire and anxiety (and masturbation), for example, can be conveyed in switching perspectives between multiple scenes, to keep audience members totally engaged.

“Spring Awakening” is an ensemble musical and the vocal prowess of this production’s performers blends beautifully in its ensemble numbers, such as the gorgeously soaring concluding ‘The Song of Purple Summer’ surmise that the seeds are planted for a new, open-minded, informed generation. Even smaller numbers showcase some crisp harmonies. O’Keefe’s voice is beautifully flexible and it works well with Quick as they both hit all the right emotional points in their characters’ reflection upon a shared moment of intimacy in an emotionally charged ‘The Guilty Ones’.

Earlier, as the soulful but essentially sad Moritz, struggling to satisfy his family’s expectations (and understand his erotic dreams), Betts is of strong voice too, particularly in ‘Touch Me’, during which the group share of their respective desire for physical intimacy. Betts is, in fact, the standout performer of the night, with charming energy, intense passion and empathetic characterisation. Also of note is Rae Rose who gives Isle a rage-filled sadness, when she sings opposite Liv Hutchins as Martha, of suffered abuse. And Emily Rohweder and Caleb Holman effectively jump in and out of all the adult roles within the musical’s dark storylines.

While lighting choices aren’t always clear, shadows and silhouettes adds layers to the overall aesthetic. Andrews’ costume design works well to effectively capture details of this punchy and emotional story of morality and sexuality. Though the stakes are higher in Act Two, which focusses on the consequences of the characters’ actions, the outcome is still an ultimately optimistic one as light is shone upon a no-longer bare tree in highlight that hope is still possible for mistakes not to be repeated.

“Spring Awakening” is a complex and daring landmark musical work of beauty, tragedy and hope, full of symbolism and contemplative universal themes around communication and change. Its sensitive material (the show comes with warning as to its inclusion of sexual situations, explicit language and scenes depicting violence and suicide), is handled well in this production, not scandalised or sensationalised, but shared in a way that conveys a clear respect for the original text. And its impact is elevated by the intimacy of the comfortable Ron Hurley Theatre, which allows for its moments of pathos and humour to fly by to its ultimate reclamation message that whoever you are, whatever you’re experiencing, it can be okay.

Photos c/o – Clear Image Photography

Iconic Intentions and then some

Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical (David Venn Enterprises)

Home of the Arts

January 20 – 28

“Let’s do this!” Kathryn Merteuil (Kirby Burgess) proclaims as The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ swells over the final scenes of “Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical” in recreation of its source material’s iconic conclusion. This musical, created Jordan Ross, Linsey Rosin and Roger Kumble (writer and director of the film of the same name), however, is more than just an on-stage recreation of its 1999 Hollywood namesake.

Filled with throwback hits, it is more of ‘90s jukebox musical arranged around faithful recreation of the cult-hit film’s narrative about two vicious step-siblings, Mertevil and Sebastian Valmont (Drew Weston) who, fuelled by passion and revenge, make a wager for Sebastian to deflower the innocent daughter of their elite Manhattan prep school’s new headmaster before the start of term. As the two set out to destroy Annette Hargrove (Kelsey Halge), as well as anyone else who gets in their way, they find themselves playing a perilous game in what is a modern-day telling of the 1782 French novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos , faithful in its recreation of another of its adaptions, “Dangerous Liaisons”.

Things remain true to the film with inclusion of iconic ‘Kiss Me’ type scenes and “silly rabbit” dialogue quips, however, familiarity with the source material is not required to enjoy the high-energy spectacle on stage as, under Alister Smith’s direction, the plot is made efficiently accessible. This is aided by Craig Wilkinson’s striking video design which serves to emphasise the main take-aways from character interactions and allows for a final focus on the damming text of Valmont’s journal. Simple (and seamless) scene transitions keep things moving with smooth blocking allow for, as an example, speedy transitions between four separate conversations as plans fall into place to allow Sebastian’s woo of Annette to occur. And Declan O’Neill’s stunning lighting design heightens key emotional moments.

Storytelling is also enhanced by intertwined placement of appropriately lyric-ed ‘90s era classics with a score that includes  back to back hits, including by Britney, Christina and alike. Indeed, there are many highlights from amongst the score’s different musical personalities. Performing from scaffold above the stage, revealed at various times throughout the show, the band’s musicians (David Youings, Chris Connelly, Anthony Chircop, Michael Chewter, Toby Loveland, Glen Moorehouse and Sam Blackburn) are also given individual opportunities to shine through the versatile set list. Annette’s entrance is to a rocking guitar and drum filled ‘Just a Girl’, while Counting Crows’ ‘Color Blind’ contains contemplative piano to accent the magnitude of Sebastian’s mood late in Act Two. And *NSYNC pop and TLC R&B boy and girl group numbers elicit overwhelming response as clear audience favourites.

Surprisingly perhaps, there is a sophistication to the musical’s score that elevates the show’s craftedness as songs are cut, sliced and melded together, including in a brilliant Act One closing overlapping medley of many of its songs. And Act Two includes a memorable ‘Bitch’ and ‘Losing My Religion’ mashup from Burgess and Weston. Freya List’s choreography also captures the core intent of songs in character revelation and plot progression, with ‘Sex and Candy’ between Blaine (Ross Chisari) and the closeted Greg (Joseph Spanti) who is about to be blackmailed by Sebastian, standing as a playful highlight. And Isaac Lummis’s costume design is all 90s and also of the film, down to even the detail of jewellery and accessories.

There are no weak links in the talented cast of performers who are each given individual moments to shine. Playing a well-known character on stage that someone else has portrayed so iconically in film can come with some expectation, however, Burgess adds her own touches of hurt-people-hurt-people humanity to the scheming seductress Kathryn, stealing the show with her fierce portrayal and rich vocal tones, from her very first ‘I’m the Only One’ appearance which conveys impressive intonation in its Bonnie Raitt like belt.

Weston, meanwhile, gives us a strong ‘Iris’, while Halge makes her following ‘Foolish Games’ heartbreaking in its stirring emotion. Rishab Kern’s (as music teacher Ronald) vocals are also impressive in his share of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with his character’s forbidden lover Cecile (Sarah Krndija) when the two are pushed together as unknowing pawns in Kathryn and Sebastian’s game. And though ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ feels narratively superfluous, Fem Belling, as Cecile’s mother, gives it the necessary, empowering vocal oomph.

In a story of highly sexualised characters, Krndija’s more wholesome Cecile is an absolute delight. Always angular in movement, she captures the awkwardness of the quirky character, new arrived and clearly childish, naive, spoiled and inexperienced, making her an easy target to Kathryn’s self-motivated manipulations. And her Boyz II Mean seduction attempt is a hilarity of well-timed physical comedy and perfectly pitched exaggeration.

If opening night is any indication, “Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical” is sure to be a popular trip down ‘90s memory lane. Its experience of debauchery (its warning notes the show’s nudity, course language and adult content), discman and a dash of Dawson’s Creek type tunes is at-once glossy and gritty, provocative, but also still somewhat problematic in its narrative. In terms of nostalgia, however, this is pure infectious celebration of an era. You will need to get your guilty pleasure on quickly though as its limited season means that the show will be saying ‘Bye Bye Bye’ before you know it.

Photos c/o – Nicole Cleary

Tudor triumph


QPAC, The Playhouse

December 30 – February 19

“Six” is a worldwide musical phenomenon unmatched in the juggernaut speed with which it has acquired its cult following (especially given the theatre shutdowns of recent years). Arising from humble origins (it was originally conceived as a production for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017 by Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss), it now has over 500 million soundtrack streams worldwide, 3 billion Tik Tok views on #SIXtheMusical and two Tony Awards including Best Original Score…. so it comes with some big audience expectations, and they are absolutely met.

The highly anticipated high-octane one act (75 minutes) pop musical is more concert than traditional musical as Henry VIII’s divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived (to use the mnemonic) wives ex-wives take to the stage. These are not, however, the Tudor names, fames and faces we might already know. Instead, this is history overthrown as we are introduced to the stories of the women of his story, divorced, beheaded, died live! The ensuing (and ingenious) framing premise is a contest outlined in its defiant ‘Ex-Wives” opening number; the queen who has had the worst experience (as voted by the audience) shall take the crown as the pop sensation to lead the band.

The show’s seriously catchy soundtrack starts strongly and never lets up. Indeed, its contemporary pop music of layered synth sounds is different to what audiences might usually hear in a musical. Yet, while its punchy tempo and dance oriented sensibility are frenetic, there is light and shade in its multi-styled score (which draws inspiration from a range of modern female artists).

As modest third wife Jane Seymour, (the only one he truly loved) Loren Hunter delivers a heartbreaking Adele-inspired power ballad, ‘Heart of Stone’. Her beautiful voice not only soars in its heights but captures the emotional vulnerability at its core concern over the conditional nature of their love. Meanwhile, group number ‘Haus of Holbein’, that satirises women’s beauty standards in lead into the next-up entrance of Anna of Cleves’ (Kiana Daniele), is a pumping neon-lit rave-like highlight.

The presence of the live ‘Ladies in Waiting’ four-piece band of all female musicians adds another layer to the musical’s ultimate themes of female empowerment. Claire Healy and Heidi Maguire on keys, Kathryn Stammers on drums, Debbie Yap on guitar and Jessica Dunn / Ann Metry on bass, who remain on stage for the duration in add to the pop concert scenario, not only provide the base for a multi-genre soundtrack, but are given their own moments to shine, such as when drum beats are given in the Catherine of Aragon’s (Phoenix Jackson Mendoza) bold ‘No Way’.

Although each talented Tudor Queen turned Pop Princess is given her own number in which to reveal her truth, the performers are all on stage for the entire show. While all six are obviously extremely talented, Kiana Daniele is a clear audience favourite as Anna of Cleves, evoking her edgy badass feminist Queenspiration of Nicki Minaj and Rihanna in ‘Get Down’ revelling in Henry’s rejection of her for not living up the expectation of the portrait of her painted by Hans Holbein, which results in her annulled marriage and consequential lavish independent woman lifestyle. Kala Gare is likewise popular as ‘that Boleyn girl’, Anne, not just in her catchy ‘Don’t Lose Ur Head’, but sorry not-sorry mockery of Aragon and sassy banter with likewise beheaded Howard (Chelsea Dawson). And her play-up of much of the show’s innuendo generates some of the biggest laughs.

While they harmonise together well, each queen also presents a unique colour-coded look, personality and sound. Phoenix Jackson Mendoza kicks things off with a riffing tell of Catherine of Aragon’s story of devotion through a Shakira and Beyonce-inspired number about her marriage annulment and threat of being shipped off to a convent. Her angry refusal to contemplate being replaced means that she is confident that after 24 years of loyal marriage, she has done it the toughest.

Chelsea Dawson, meanwhile, brings a youthful vibrancy to the role of pretty-in-pink Katherine Howard, singing of her alleged affair in ‘All You Wanna Do”, but also having us consider her abuse due to the structures around her. And Vidya Makan gives us a quietly feminist Katherine Parr who, like Angelica in “Hamilton” leaves us with a very musical theatre-ish sounding anthem ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’, chronicle of losing true love, being widowed and lacking any choice in response to a king’s command, before questioning the competition and having her worth defined by him when she herself has done so much.

Characterisation comes not just by each individual queen’s number, but is embedded in every interaction with each other (and us) through knowing looks and alike. And because it is a concert musical rather than a standard book musical, there is no fourth wall, meaning that the queens sometimes interact with the audience. The show is full of one-liners and witty irreverent lines and wordplay in its string together of genius lyrics and its handful of country and city specific mentions aren’t particularly jarring. Its score, too, features clever inset of nursery rhyme type nods in its musical motifs and uniquely styled songs.

While it may all effortlessly come together, everything about “Six” is intricately crafted. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography is always snappy in its precise accent actions and in formation movements, meaning that ever performance is vital, even if it is in back-up singer mode. Tim Deiling’s lighting is dynamic in conveying each queen’s themes with colour palette nods without causing rainbows of distraction, culminating in brilliant golden illumination of the final right royal ‘Megasix’ remix mashup of each queen’s solo in assert of their own individuality in take back of their stories. Emma Bailey’s striking set design also works with Gabriella Slade’s already-iconic historically-inspired costumes to authentically create the spectacle of a pumping pop concert.  

Layered in its social satire, this fast-paced modern retelling of the lives of queens for too many years lost in his-story is a fun, cheeky show with some racy content as the Queens tease each other about traumas and abuse. Like soon-to-be-seen “Hamilton”, “Six” talks directly about history (knowing Tudor history is not a prerequisite) and also includes some girl power themes as integral to its storytelling. These are equally positioned rather than marginalised female characters celebrating their own individuality

In the case of “Six”, the ravers really are right. Although succinct, this is a vibrant and dynamic musical with a side of herstory thrown in, making for empowering uplifting and rock solid entertainment that should not be missed. And QPAC’s Playhouse Theatre is an appropriately intimate enough venue to allow its audience to become fully absorbed in the triumph of its infectiously boisterous, celebratory atmosphere.

Photos c/o – James Morgan