Whodunnit doesn’t quite do it…
By Lisa Nightingale
Coming into The Order of Melbourne and seeing the beautiful stage, magnificent bar, and cute kitsch burlesque shop set up in the corner, I was all too excited to experience a ‘rollicking night of 1920’s theatre, burlesque, song, dance, murder, mystery and madness.’
Certainly the venue is lovely and the Pims and sangria are well-priced and delicious. Unfortunately for the show itself, this clever marketing is, well … just clever marketing.
Stage Fright! certainly has its good points, but they are nestled somewhere in amongst what is a mostly average script and performance. The story and dialogue seem disjointed, and I felt music numbers were dropped in just to be there. Songs about Santa’s wife and a burlesque dance in a straight jacket simply did not add in any way to the style of a ‘whodunnit’ 1920’s murder mystery.
Luckily Sarah Louise Younger kicked butt (burlesque-style) with her amazing voice, and I was blown away by her presence whilst she was singing. However, I was also blown away for opposing reasons by the sound and lighting during her song, as the poor girl could barely be heard or seen in her dynamic opening piece, ‘Life of the Party’.
I was also very surprised that direction for this number seemed just to be “Do it like Idina Menzel on YouTube.” Nonetheless, Younger shows amazing vocal talent, and we’ll see her name continue to be showcased around the Melbourne theatre scene.
The Stage Fright! atmosphere created by Alexander Tournier (Mark Casamento) was brilliant. His role as the owner of the ‘Queen Mary Theatre’ was the highlight of the show, and Casamento was consistently superb throughout. He did not lose character or drop his accent once: something the other performers could note.
Poppy Cherry did a fantastic job as producer, for marketing and advertising were level one. As heroine Fanny Pocket, her beautiful smile and cheeky vibrancy made for a delightful performance and almost allowed us to forgive some unpolished acting skills. Honey B. Goode was a favourite with the audience, and gave a comedic performance as her vaguely Eastern European character. She is a great burlesque dancer and I only wish we saw more ‘dance’ and less over-characterisation.
Miss Burlesque Australia Kelly Ann Doll was very funny dealing with her audience, plays ‘drunk’ well and shines on stage, though I was looking forward to her showing us ‘how burlesque is done’ and was left unsatisfied. As with several artists, a feeling persisted that over-characterisation got in the way of the show itself.
However, the performers did a good job as a whole, and the costumes were truly fantastic. The concept of Stage Fright! is so exciting and intriguing that I believe with some review by the creative team over direction and script, this show will soon be so much more – but at this stage it seems like just a ‘concept’ and not a finished piece of theatre. All in all though, for a Sunday night out with a few drinks, it was still worth the trip into Swanston street.
Stage Fright! is on 8pm this Sunday May 22nd: tickets are $30 through Moshtix.