The Northam Theatre Group’s musical production Mad About Musicals 2 premiered on Thursday night at The Link Theatre. After upgrading the sound and lighting systems in the theatre, this is the first full production to utilise the $53,000 worth of equipment, which was funded through grants from the The Department of Racing, Gaming & Liquor’s Gaming Community Trust, Lottery West, Bendigo Bank and BankWest.
I was part of the nearly-full-house audience who watched the full dress rehearsal on Wednesday night, and judging by how smoothly the rehearsal ran, it should be a polished show at each of the remaining performances – there will be three more shows: 8pm on the Friday 30th of November and Saturday 1st of December (doors and bar open at 7:30pm), and a matinee at 2pm on Saturday 1st of December. Tickets are available at Everlastings on Fitzgerald or via trybookings.com.
The show follows the success of the first Mad About Musicals show from last year, and features a selection of golden oldies from many musicals such as Pirates of Penzance, Showboat, Les Miserables and My Fair Lady through to more recent hits like Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman. Even if you’ve never seen a musical on stage, you will probably recognise some of the songs from movies such as Grease, Beaches, and Beauty and The Beast.
Producer and Director Rae Knight has brought together both experienced and novice performers to create a show that has something for everyone. There were renditions by seasoned performers such as Les Lee, who brought Henry Higgins to to life in a dramatically entertaining rendition of a “An Ordinary Man” from My Fair Lady. That song was followed by “Wouldn’t it be Loverly”, also from My Fair Lady, sung by Brooke Vincent in Eliza Doolittle guise, in what was apparently her first singing performance on stage in a musical.
The youngest performer was just eleven years old and he and a dozen or so teenagers from the Perth Academy of Performing Arts (Northam class) really had the audience on side when they got into character for three songs from Grease. Their rendition of “Summer Lovin’” was one of many highlights of the show. It was a joy to see the younger cast members enthusiastically participating and looking like they were at home on the stage. I could (and maybe I should) write a whole blog post about the Perth Academy of Performing Arts and what amazing work Ian Toyne does with kids (and also with adults).
Jodi Ingram has great stage presence and a rich and strong voice which she demonstrated in several solos. While some performers seemed a little reluctant to shake their booty on stage, that certainly wasn’t the case with Jodi’s performance of “Anything Goes”.
The singers do not use microphones in this show, so it is all very honest singing that you’ll hear – none of the engineered voices that we are used to hearing from pop stars. One particularly strong voice is Jennifer Duncan, who performed a lovely solo “Wind Beneath My Wings” from Beaches the Musical.
The music is provided by backing tracks, apart from “A Modern Major-General” from The Pirates of Penzance, which featured young Hayden Floyd on the piano, and the rather operatic voice of Thomas Bennetts, accompanied by a chorus of maidens.
Segments of the show segued into each other with chitchat by Elizabeth Greep, who sang on stage with the ensemble, and doubled as MC.
The new LED lights were shown to their full potential, picking out different areas of the stage in “Hernando’s hideaway” from The Pajama Game.
The penultimate song was “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman, sung beautifully by Brittny Nunn. I think maybe one can never get enough of great musicals! Even if you’ve never been to a musical in your life you’ll still enjoy many familiar songs in this show.