Hilarious for everyone, but a special theatre treat for the real fans…
By Meg Richardson
This is one musical that lives up to its name, for this satirical parody has been crafted to satisfy even the most obsessive musical theatre fans. As part of MICF this year, The Musical of Musicals: The Musical takes one simple plot line and tells it 5 times over in completely different styles, so while never repetitive, it is entirely hilarious.
The plot follows a young woman (Emma Hoy) who can’t pay her rent, her boyfriend (Jack Brown) and her older confidant (Bianca Bruce) and their constant battles with their demanding landlord (Josiah Lulham). Audiences also enjoy a one-man ensemble/narrator (Michael Leaver). The 5 famous composers that are acknowledged are Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander & Ebb. For reasons obvious to anyone that has seen any of the works of these artists, each time the story is repeated in another of these styles, there is a totally different outcome.
MoMTM provides its fair share of laugh-out-loud, slaptstick moments that any audience would enjoy, but it is the true musical theatre fans that will really appreciate this show. Each section is full of references to the composers’ works from obvious musical cues to subtle dialogue references that only tickle the funny bones of those in the audience with the most astute theatrical knowledge. There is also a risky amount of blatant criticism of some of the trademark indulgences of the legends that almost invites a gasp of horror at the delivery.
The cast work seamlessly together as all but Lulham have worked together on the show previously. While they were all a joy to watch, Bruce’s stage presence is hard to tear your eyes from. Her comic delivery of diva Abby in Dear Abby (the Jerry Herman tribute) was enough to have viewers in stitches. The whole cast performed the show without microphones, but due to their ample talent, this was never an issue. Along with this finely-tuned cast, musical director Simon Bruckard uses only a single piano to provide fantastic support to his players and created some magical moments for the audience to enjoy.
Technically, the show could have had more support. There were times when it wasn’t clear if the follow spot was lagging behind as a gag or if the operator had actually fallen asleep but aside from that, it all moved quite smoothly.
Overall MoMTM was a performance worthy of the deafening applause it received that can only be created by a true musical theatre audience.
Venue: The Open Stage @ The University of Melbourne
757 Swanston Street, Parkville, VIC, 3010
Dates: 18th April – 21st April
Times: Wednesday – Friday 7.30pm, Saturday 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tickets: Adults $22, Concession $18, Groups (5 or more) $15