Pretty in pink, and playful pre-teen fun
By Margaret Wieringa
The Palais Theatre in St Kilda was decked out in pink and ready for the hundreds of excited little girls who attended the Australian premiere of Barbie LIVE! The Musical. Celebrities were spotted with their young families, including Shane Jacobson and Neighbours’ Ryan Moloney.
The pink, sparkly curtain opened to reveal a movie set, where Barbie and her friends were shooting her next film. Her co-star and best friend Teresa was experiencing a slump in confidence, so Barbie took her on a journey, revisiting her old films to inspire her.
The first act saw them visiting Swan Lake with some questionable ballet and then Mariposa, a land with lots of crystals. The set for Mariposa was impressive, especially the use of UV effects for the crystal cave and the mayflower pole. The transitions however, using clips from the Barbie movies, were very clunky and not totally necessary. By the end of the first act, I was getting restless. Thank goodness for Act Two!
It was like the show had drunk a whole lot of red cordial, because everything perked up and had more life. There was a whole heap of audience interaction that the children loved, the story was more engaging, the music was more exciting, and it was far more fabulous!
I wondered a little about the morals of the show, however. Bad girl Raquelle (Courtney Cheatham) wanted Teresa’s role and was prepared to go to great lengths, including sabotage, to get it. At the end there was no comeuppance for her, which left me thinking that the moral must be that if you are being bullied, just put up with it: you might still win. I couldn’t actually see the need for a ‘baddie’ in the show, and feel it would have been as engaging for the kids without one and could have ultimately offered a better moral.
Kristina Miller, playing Teresa, had a strong voice that really belted out her numbers. The ensemble was fantastic, totally committed to the performance with magnificent, cheesy smiles the whole time. Even though it was very clear they were people, there were some doll-like movements throughout the dancing that were a lovely touch. It was a little odd that a show called Barbie LIVE! had Barbie as a less important character in the performance, but beautiful Chelsea Bernier still got up there and gave the little girls exactly what they wanted. A real live Barbie.
Venue: Palais Theatre in St Kilda
Season: Sunday April 6, 11am, 3pm and 7pm, Monday April at 11am
Booking: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/ or call 1300 660 0131300 660 013