Fizzy fun infection

The Wedding Singer (David Venn Enterprises)

HOTA, Home of the Arts

June 18 – 26

It’s 1985, a time of denim, ruffles, leather and lace, oversized gadgetry and technicolour everything… and “The Wedding Singer” has it all in abundance. The musical comedy, based on the hit 1998 rom-com movie of the same name staring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, celebrates it all. And while it may not necessarily be as charming as its source material, the on-stage trip down a memory lane of perms, pastels and parachute pants is still loads of fun.

The plot is essentially that of the movie. The title character, New Jersey’s Robbie Hart (Christian Charisiou) is a life-of-the-party wanna-be rock star who fronts a wedding band with his two buddies, bass guitarist Sammy (Haydan Hawkins) and keyboard player George (Ed Deganos), revelling in the notion of happily ever after… until he is left at the alter by his fiancé Linda (Kirby Burgess). His resurrection from an ensuring bitter depression (resulting in ruin of others’ weddings through his morose lyrics and lacklustre performances) comes from a connection with kind-hearted waitress Julia (Teagan Wouters) who unfortunately already has a Wall Street boyfriend, Glen (Stephen Mahy).

While things take a while to gain momentum, the story (book by Tim Herlihy, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay) is soon moving along with songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, including some huge power ballads, like the hyper-emotional breakup letter ‘A Note From Linda’ and her later ‘Let Me Come Home’, where, looking a lot like the girl from ‘November Rain’, Burgess belts out her epic vocals accompanied with some sexy Whitesnake vixen moves.

Another highlight comes courtesy of Act One’s ‘Causality of Love’ from Robbie and Company. The dynamite number encapsulates the show’s high energy and tight dchoreography, complete with some ‘Thriller’ moves that are absolutely in sync across all of the dancers. Of-the-era references abound throughout the musical, in Michael Ralph’s choreographic nods to movies like “Flashdance” and music videos like Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’, but also within the lyrics of the upbeat opener ‘It’s Your Wedding Day’. And its soundtrack certainly reflects the eclecticism of the era, with recognisable musical sensibilities from new wave, dance-pop, glam metal and even some rap (‘Move That Thang’) from Robbie’s sassy grandmother Rosie (Susan-Ann Walker).

Kim Bishop’s nostalgic costume design also catalogues the era in all of its excess… with puffy sleeves, sequins and polyester, plus, in particular in the punchy ‘It’s All About The Green’, shoulder power dressing when Robbie tries to get a job on Wall Street like Glen in order impress Julia. And Nathan Weyers’s low-fuss set design is entirely appropriate in its backdrop of all the action and colour, especially in the show’s later scenes which see Robbie and his friends teaming up with a group of Vegas impersonators to attempt to stop Julia’s wedding to Glen. Indeed, this becomes a real highlight as audience members reconcile which celebrities are being impersonated on stage, thanks to the talents of the ensemble as much as the costumes and Drew-Elizabeth Jonstone’s hair and make-up design.

Filling the shoes of the characters of an iconic movie is always going to be a difficult task and while Charisiou and Wouters do a good job, once they are settled into their story, the most dynamic appearances come courtesy of the supporting characters. Nadia Komazec is an absolute delight as Julia’s pocket-rocket personality-plus friend and fellow waitress Holly who, in contrast to Julia, is uninhibited and forward. Her comic timing brings about many of the show’s laughs. And although not terribly bright, but terribly persistent in his attempts to reunite with Holly, Sammy’s well-meaning support is what ultimately shines through in Hawkins’ performance, making him an endearing audience favourite for more than just his Bon Jovi hair.  

“The Wedding Singer” is a feel-good musical that, under Alister Smith’s direction, doesn’t take itself too seriously in its colourful celebration of everything ‘80s. With a lively score (Musical Director Daniel Puckey) and energetic performance, there is much to love about its infectious, fizzy fun, making it the ultimate either reminder of or insight into the era of excess.  

Photos c/o – Nicole Clearly

Collaboration and celebration

Women in Voice On Tour

Redland Performing Arts Centre

June 20

Women in Voice’s On Tour trip down by the bay to Redland Performing Arts Centre, may represent the phenomenon’s first regional tour, but still opens with a tribute to the home of its humble beginnings with an opening satirical number in which effervescent emcee Jenny Wynter Brisbanises a musical mashup with reappropriated lyrics in ode to the region’s suburbs. It’s an engaging start to a wonderful afternoon of performances. The show’s entertainment comes not just from comedy, however, but touching moments too, such is the versatility of its line-up of performers.

Women in Voice has always committed to providing performance and production mentorships to nurture future generations of female songstresses and this dedication remains at the forefront of the 2021 show, which, in Act One, sees Roz Pappalardo welcoming her mentee and fellow North Queensland songwriter, newcomer Bellani Smith. Together the ladies’ voices blend beautifully in Abba’s bittersweet and sentimental ‘Fernando’ and their ‘Jolene’ set closer is an absolute treat. As they share important songs from their lives, with introductory explanations, we are drawn into musical appreciation at a deeper level. In particular, Smith’s original love song ‘Piece of Me’, with piano self-accompaniment is simply stunning. Indeed, her perfect vocal tone, moving lyrics and swelling melody make this an unexpected early highlight.

The theme of family legacy is evident throughout the first act of the show. Leah Cotterell always showcases interesting song choices in her sets and from The Carpenters’ ‘Yesterday Once More’ to Peggy Lee’s ‘Is That All There Is?”, she delivers them all with a warm sophistication that encapsulates the pleasure of sad songs in trigger of memory and emotion. The honesty at the heart of the stories she shares is endearing and her evocative almost a cappella ‘Grey Funnel Line’ with Women in Voice founder Annie Peterson (who started the group to give an opportunity for female singers to share the music they did not have the chance to perform anywhere else) perhaps introduces the audience to a whole new folk song of longing.

Since its initial appearance at West End’s Sitting Duck Cafe in 1993, Women in Voice has become an annual arts scene highlight with its attraction of top talent as well as new stars. The spirit of collaboration is at the core of the group’s philosophy; the artists devise their own visions and serve as each other’s’ backing singers. Cleveland performer Hannah Johnstone, we are told was discovered at a local workshop. While her between-song stage presence in still developing, her take on songs by Rick Astley and The Jackson 5 showcases her formidable vocals and her passionate rip through Powderfinger’s rolling ‘On My Mind’, with guitar self-accompaniment, is a rocking highlight, along with Roz Pappalardo’s similarly gutsy ‘Bring Me Some Water’.

While not all of the “Women in Voice On Tour” setlist features numbers by female songstresses, there is a clear theme of celebrating women, from Johnstone’s ‘Edge of Seventeen’ and Hannah Grondin’s ‘Crazy in Love’, culminating in Grodin’s electrifying rendition of Aretha Franklin’s anthemic respect, with a strong and adamant voice that commands our attention. And the ladies’ voices all blend together magnificently in encore of the heartfelt classic country song ‘Delta Dawn’.

“Women in Voice On Tour” is a wonderful development to build upon the franchise’s history of sell-out performances. Backed by a talented band, the cast of fresh and favourite performers gives its audience covers and original songs in a nice balance and blend of styles and genres, meaning there is something for everything in its strong female line-up.

Super Trouper treat

Mamma Mia! (Matt Ward Entertainment)

The Star Gold Coast, The Theatre

June 19 – July 11

Forget the red; it was a blue carpet opening for Matt Ward Entertainment’s production of the smash hit musical “Mamma Mia!”, appropriate given the colours of the Greek taverna set at The Star Gold Coast’ The Theatre. The fictional island of Kalokairi setting is where we find Sophie (Madeline Grice) dreaming of a perfect wedding, which includes her father giving her away… if only she knew who he was. Her mother Donna (Jayde Westaby), the former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to speak about the past, so Sophie sneaks a peek in Donna’s old diaries to discover three possible fathers: Sam (Sean Mulligan), Bill (Sandro Colarelli) and Harry (James Shaw), all of whom she secretly invites to her wedding. When the three men return to the island two decades after their last visit, they are reunited with Sophie’s single-mother Donna and the heart-warming tale unfolds …. to a soundtrack of ABBA songs.

The show is one of theatre’s biggest success stories and its experience makes it easy to appreciate why. As one of the first in a surge of jukebox musical popularity, it uses of the songs of the Swedish pop group phenomenon to create a light-hearted musical comedy celebration of love, laughter and friendship. The musical numbers provide exposition and character insight, with dialogue segueing naturally into the songs. Indeed, only minor lyric changes are needed to integrate them into the narrative. And the band’s contagiously catchy big hits are well placed to hook the audience, for example when, having just learned that Sophie’s three possible fathers have arrived on the island, Donna distresses away in her bedroom with friends Tanya (Emily Jade O’Keeffe) and Rosie (Leah Howard) who rally her to finally join in with the euphoric and blissfully youthful disco-balled ‘Dancing Queen’.

A brilliant band under the musical direction of Kuki Tipoki brings vitality to the ABBA tunes and it is wonderful to get glimpses of the musicians in action at the rear of the stage, especially when the set is opened up for Sophie’s wedding to Sky (Lakota Johnson). While differing vocal talents are showcased, there is no faulting Westaby as the free spirited mother of the bride-to-be. In a flawless performance she not only gives Donna the usual stoicism, but also panicked nervousness and tender vulnerability in reconnection with her former flames. And the accomplishment of her vocals is incredible. The command of her delivery of the melancholic power ballad ‘The Winner Takes It All’ after a bitter confrontation with Sam, in which she tells of how he broke her heart, is an absolute goosebumpy highlight, adding emotional depth to what could easily have been just a production line of bubble-gum pop numbers.

The magic is also evident in Westaby’s ‘SOS’ duet with Muligan, in which they both of them wish they could go back to the start. Westaby is a fine performer himself, as seen in Sam’s attempt to give Sophie some fatherly advice by describing his failed marriage in ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. And as the good and proper but fastidious Harry, Shaw, bring a nice intimacy to Donna and Harry’s nostalgic ‘One Last Summer’ reminiscence of their long-ago fling. Meanwhile, at the more upbeat end, a sassy, flirty ‘Does Your Mother Know’, during which the thrice divorced and now affluent Tanya rebuffs the advances of the much younger tavern worker Pepper (DonAlex Vilitama) and Act One’s closing disco-esque dance number ‘Voulez Vous’ are infectiously high in energy.

Joseph Simons’s impressive choreography takes advantage of the large stage space to enliven every number. When the girl group trio catch up about their lives in ‘Money, Money, Money’ casino themes and motifs and evident in movement as much as props and the similar ensemble number ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ in which Sky tells Sophie he will be the only man she ever needs, flips the fun up a notch (#literally) with a crowd-favourite routine. And while after interval’s ‘Under Attack’ still jars with the feel of the rest of the show, its use of blocked shadowy en masse dancer movement to represent Sophie’s nightmare of all three of her possible fathers fighting for the right to walk her down the aisle, creates a considered contrast with the numbers that follow.

Given that this “Mamma Mia!” was originally scheduled for July 2020, the production comes with much expectation and it certainly proves itself worthy of the wait. The super trouper musical is tremendously energetic, but also emotionally moving and full of fun, meaning that when its curtain calls of ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Waterloo’, ensue, audience members are jumping to their feet, not just be in ovation but in pure joy at its treat.

Celebrating Carole

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Spotlight Theatrical Company)

Spotlight Theatrical Company, Halpin Auditorium

May 14 – June 5

Last month, Carole King was announced amongst the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021 diverse list of inductees. King, who was previously inducted with co-songwriter Gerry Goffin in 1990, is one of the most prolific female musicians in the history of pop music, whose career and legacy are celebrated in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, a jukebox musical beloved by all who experience its joy.

For many, the work of this immensely talented American songwriter and singer is epitomised in her iconic Tapestry album so it is appropriate that it is celebration of this multi-Grammy-award-winning landmark studio album that bookends the moving musical, which opens with King in 1971, as a bonafide solo star, about to perform at Carnegie Hall, after having left behind an established, successful song writing career with her husband and lyricist Gerry Goffin. It is a big story and a potentially risky show choice for an amateur theatre company, however, in the case of Spotlight’s Theatre’s production, it is risk that comes with immense reward thanks to the company’s polished approach to all of its aspects and especially the strong performances of its main cast members Gabriella Flowers as King, Todd Jesson as Goffin, Rachel Love as Cynthia Weil and Bryn Jenke as Barry Mann.

The biopic chronologically follows Carole King’s rise in the world of music through her tumultuous marriage with husband and song writing partner, Gerry Goffin, as well her relationship with rival composer and lyricist couple Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. The result is a setlist that features celebration of the greatest hits by the acts for which the couples wrote, as well as King’s later original songs such as ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, making for a hugely accessible show.

Flowers gives a solid, fierce and fresh performance as she takes the musical’s protagonist from excitable 16-year-old surprised to have the attention of the dreamiest guy in school, through her time as a hardworking professional to being a mature single mother and accomplished performer. Jesson is an empathetic performer who layers the difficult role of King’s unfaithful and troubled husband with sincerity and sensitivity, which amplifies the complication of the situation in which King finds herself.

Love makes Weil sassy and confident without tipping her into obnoxious territory and Jenke is very entertaining as hyperbolical hypochondriac Barry Mann, complete with a well-timed quip for every occasion. And all of them handle the required accents with ease. The ensemble cast, too, is excellent with Rob Kebba anchoring things throughout as ‘the man with the Golden Ear’, legendary American music publisher, music consultant, rock music producer, talent manager and songwriter Donnie Kirshner.

With the two song writing teams turning out an amazing parade of songs, the audience is treated to a musically strong act one, with hilghlights including ‘On Broadway’ and ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ which soon have everyone smiling widely and tapping happily along. Flowers’ voice is strong throughout, whether sweet, soulful or gutsied-up. Her versatility is seen as she yearns us into intermission with ‘One Fine Day’ upon Carole’s discovery of her husband’s infidelity, before registering the intense discovery of her own voice in Act Two’s commanding ‘It’s Too Late’ description of a relationship’s end.

When Jenke’s robust vocals are shared in Act Two’s changing musical sounds with the iconic ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’, (which accompanying distinctive bass) we are left lamenting that there are not more musical numbers for him to share. The 1965 rock hit for the Animals, written by Mann and Weil comes late in the charted competition between the two couples to not only see their hits become number ones but stay there the longest. Prior to it, we are treated to songs from artists such as The Drifters, The Shirelles, The Monkees and more.

Under Matt Pearson’s musical direction, the harmonies in the earlier-era songs, are especially satisfying, with The Drifters’ ‘Up on the Roof’ representing a high point thanks to Matthew McKenzie’s range. Similarly, Liam Lockwood switches effortlessly into falsetto, working wonderfully with Mitch Walsh’s bass tone to soar the Righteous Brothers’ ‘ultimate pop record’ number to spine-tingling heights. And the live orchestration of the boppy band includes some entertaining arrangements, such a medley of familiar sixties songs ‘1650 Broadway Medley’ early in Act One as we are first taken into Kirshner’s office at for the first time.

Clever staging doesn’t compromise anything from professional productions of the 2013 musical, backdropping for example, the ski lodge of a Vermont getaway with a framed-off section of the recording building. And in complement to Kim Reynolds’ tight direction, swift set transitions assist in maintaining momentum. Era-evocative costumes by Trish Nissan, Colleen Reynolds and Kim Reynolds take the audience to an Act Two that is very firmly placed in the 1960s and give us a standout costuming reveal in Little Eva’s (Sammy Price) peppy performance of ‘Locomotion’.

With all of these on-point elements combined, Spotlight Theatre’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is certainly deserving of its end of show standing ovation. Indeed, it is easy to understand why the season sold out before even opening. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is that kind of musical though… a joyous crowd favourite of an experience whose additional matinee show feels akin to a cosy musical hug on a cool almost-winter afternoon.

Photos c/o – Vargo Studios

Whodunit Phoenix style

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Phoenix Ensemble)

Pavilion Theatre 

May 7 – 29

The little known “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is the final novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in 1870. Its lack of familiarity, despite being written by an author who is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, is understandable, however, given that the story was left unfinished upon his death, with only six of a planned 12 instalments having been published. With no detailed plan for a solution to the novel’s mystery, later adaptations have stepped in, including the musical of the same name, in which audience vote determines the ending.

In Phoenix Ensemble’s hands, experience of the multi-Tony award winning musical is immersive from its outset, gripping the audience’s spirit for the experience ahead. Performers interact with audience members from lead into the show’s Royal Music Hall setting and while we are seated in the stalls, before we are welcomed by the show-within-a-show’s very important stage manager and then, in keeping with music hall tradition, the charismatic Chairman (Shannon Foley), a master of ceremonies of sort who instigates the action on stage after bursting forth with the show’s rollicking opening number ‘There You Are’.

The musical is very metatheatrical, meaning that the characters of the play “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” are being played by actors of the Music Hall, within the production. It sounds confusing but it really isn’t, thanks to the Chairman’s guidance. He begins with introduction of the Jekyll and Hydeish opium-addicted and obsessed choirmaster John Jasper, played by Clive Paget (Zach Price), and through him, his young nephew Edwin Drood played by Alice Nutting (Carly Wilson), in a nod to pantomime traditions of a lead boy portrayed by a young female in male drag.

Drood is engaged to the orphaned beauty Miss Rosa Bud played by Deidre Peregrine (Hayley Marsh), who is Jasper’s music pupil and obsession, but has been promised to Drood in wedlock since they were children. Then there are also the kindly Reverend Crisparkle played by Cedric Monfcrieffe (Andrew McArthur) and two exotic sibling emigrants from Ceylon, Helena played by Janet Conover (AJ Betts) and Neville Landless played by Victor Grinstead (Puawai Herewini), which causes conflict courtesy of Neville’s attraction to Rosa.

The device of not having actors specially playing Dickens’ characters, but rather music hall performers who are performing as Dickens’ characters, allows room for much humour, in contrast to the typically dense misery of the author’s work, including in the additional musical numbers created by Rupert Holmes (of ‘Pina Colada Song’ pedigree), who is responsible for the show’s book, music and lyrics. There is a very vaudevillian feel, especially evident in the appearances of stonemason Durdles (Tristan Ham) and his nimble young offsider Deputy (Kohen Arstall) and lots of obvious side eyes to the audience, which all form part of the fun.

While the action slows a little in Act Two after we reach the end of Dickens’ original story, pantomime prevails with audience oohing and ahhing, booing and hissing as we have our input by virtue of applause and a voting process into concluding the mystery by determining the true identify of Act Two’s detective Dick Datchery, who will be our murderer (if that indeed is the explanation for Drood’s disappearance after a Christmas Eve dinner and attempted reconciliation for the Landless twins, the reverend, Rosa and Drood) and who will be our lovers (because every good musical requires a happy ending). And the ad libs and unintended moments that arise as a consequence only add to the fun of the unique theatre experience.

All performers are strong in their multi-faceted roles. Shannon Foley is an energetic master of ceremonies, who recovers easily on the occasions his punny double entendre-type audience banter deliberately falls flat. Carolyn Latter is an audience favourite as Angela Prysock playing the glamourous ruined Princess Puffer, from her bawdy ‘Wages of Sin’ musical introduction and explanation of her life as Madame of the sinister opium den frequented by Jasper, however, it is William Chen’s enthusiasm as the devoted understudy Philip Bax playing the reverend’s clerk Bazzard, that endears his character most into our affections, especially when he finally gets his moment in ‘Never The Luck’. And McArthur is wonderful as the bumbling clergyman, finding the funny in detail down to even an eyebrow raise.

While the score lacks any particularly memorable numbers, it does allow for the cast to shine. Wilson’s vocals are commanding, which is evident early in Act One from her ‘Two Kinsmen’ duet with Drood’s uncle Jasper. And Marsh brings some lovely operatic-type tones to her numbers. In particular, ‘Moonfall’ in which she sings the innuendo-heavy love song Jasper has written for her, showcases not only this, but Musical Director Benjamin Tubb-Herne’s noteworthy keyboard contribution.

Other standout numbers come courtesy of ensemble pieces such as the relentless patter song ‘Both Sides of the Coin’ in which the Chairman, who is also Mayor Sapsea, and Jasper examine the dual natures of their suspicious characters before transitioning into a grand ensemble number. And Storm Fraser’s choreography does an excellent job in catering to the cast of 18, given the small tin shed space.

Also in the Act Two number ‘Settling Up the Score’, the setting of Cloisterham train station is easily evoked thanks to clever choreography that sees cases seamlessly transform from a train to a moving tableaux of daily busyness. And Liam Gilliland’s lighting design works well to darkens us to the depths of Jasper’s obsessive passion. The most memorable aspect of the show’s aesthetics, however, comes courtesy of Justin Tubb-Hearne’s lavish costume pieces. Lush colours and opulent fabrics enliven characterisation and assist in transporting the audience into the story, while providing their own visual interest.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is certainly musical theatre done differently. The hilarious whodunit mystery musical’s interactivity, allowing the audience to enter the action as the ultimate detectives, makes for not only a unique but a uniquely shared experience, fostering many interval conversations as to different theories and suspect preferences. That its Victorian-style musical hall sensibility only adds to its feeling of fun, is reason too, why this production should not be missed.

Photos: c/o – Kenn Santos / PIF Photography

Marvelous musical wonder(ettes)

The Marvelous Wonderettes (Anam Cara Productions)

Calamale Community College

April 16 – 17

When, in 1958, Springfield High School’s super Senior prom, is left without entertainment, four girl group The Marvelous Wonderettes’ step in to save the day. This is pretty much the extent of the story at the heart of “The Marvelous Wonderttes”, a jukebox musical comedy with book by Roger Bean, which uses pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s as a vehicle to tell its story. It is a simple concept, easily staged and featuring four characters: Betty-Jean (Tara Carmen), Suzy (Rebecca Kenny-Sumiga), Cindy-Lou (Aimee Monement) and Missy (Josephine Stockdale), which makes it easy for amateur theatre groups to effectively execute, which Anam Cara Productions certainly does in their feel-good and full-of-fun show.

Boy bands may be bad but girl groups have their own antics and in between their set’s numbers clueless Suzy, insecure Missy, and frenemies Cindy and Betty-Jean bring much humour through their attempted sabotages and competition to be teacher’s pet and pride. (Some audience members assume roles as members of the faculty including Mr Lee, to whom Missy’s declaration of infatuation is directed). There is also much froth and bubble (literally at times), colour and excitement as, after frantic simultaneous talent performances, the audience votes for the prom queen. The theme of love reigns supreme though the songbook standards of the era that represent that group’s set-lis, with classic hits like ‘Mr Sandman’ and ‘Lollipop’ allowing opportunities for showcase of some lovely group harmonies. These are complemented by Lyunette Wockner’s cute of-the-time choreography that switches era evocation in line with a post-interval passage of time to the group getting back together at their ten-year reunion, complete with some still obvious tensions to their dynamics.

Act Two is a real delight as it outlines through its music how much the ladies’ lives have changed. And Carmen powering through many ‘60s staples is one of the show’s highlights, along with realisation of the earlier minor details that are cleverly crafted to grow into the narrative and song selection of its later sections. From an upbeat ‘It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)’ and rousing ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, some clear themes of female empowerment and emancipation emerge through numbers like Lesley Gore’s ‘You Don’t Own Me’, as we learn about the highs and lows the four women have experienced as they determine to conquer whatever life throws their way, together.

With characters who remain on stage through most, if not all of the show, the Marvelous Wonderettes performers do well to bring their distinct characters to unique life. And this is certainly a group of diverse personalities. While, as is often the case in amateur productions, there are differences in vocal projection and presence, all do well, especially in ensemble numbers like the doo-wop ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ late in Act One. Other highlights include Stockdale’s almost-operatic vocal sounds, especially in an enchanting rendition of Doris Day’s soaring ‘Secret Love’ and Carmen’s playful comic presence (including occasional ad libs as part of audience involvement) as the mischievous Billy-Jean.

With promise of feature of over 30 classic ‘50s and ‘60s hits, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” certainly delivers with its eclectic mix of standards along with a handful of less familiar tunes, enthusiastically brought to entertaining life by the live band of Sean Fagan (Producer/Musical Director and keyboards), Fabian (guitar), Jerome Fitzgerald (drums) and Thomas Melton (reeds). And it is appropriate that they are showcased throughout, especially in Kenny-Sumiga’s ‘Respect’ and ‘Rescue Me’ mix before we are farewelled in what represents a wonderful conclusion to what can only be described as a charming gem of a show.