Camp musical comedy is making waves
By Myron My
Set during the 1920s, Holy Ship! is a loose combination of love story and ode to the perils of being at sea. However, life on board ship and the romance between Bonnie (Danae Vincent) and Charlie (James Traille) is not why we’re here. Holy Ship! is about fun, and with all the songs, dances, burlesque, circus acts, tap dancing and flesh on display, it would be very difficult not to have plenty of it here.
The majority of Holy Ship! is about being camp, naughty and sexy. Yet our narrator and Captain of the ship, Andy Balloch did create a beautiful a cappella moment that really echoed the loneliness of life at sea, and Vincent – in particular – and Traille owned their songs convincingly, and with seemingly little effort.
Despite these strong voices however, I did feel the ballads were misplaced in this production overall. There is little character development and I found it difficult to care about the central relationship beyond a superficial level, and was eager to return to the cheeky and more dynamic performance elements.
The merman scene for example, performed by Mr. Boylesque 2012 Raven, was a great addition, allowing the show the opportunity to surprise, stun and reel us back in. Furthermore, the tap-dance number, and the silk and the rope routines were nicely spaced-out and offered something different and visually engaging for the audience to enjoy.
Ian Knowles has clearly put in some hard work with the choreography and on the whole, the dancers have great control and remain in perfect rhythm in their Charleston-inspired numbers. As there is not much in terms of set, the atmosphere created by the live band, and the period costuming and make-up allow the speakeasy era to make itself clearly present throughout the show.
Holy Ship! is the largest show in 150 years that the Greyhound Hotel has hosted and it’s easy to see why. There is nothing small about this production: everything is large, loud and showy but more importantly, the show is sexy, enjoyable and fathoms of fun.
Venue: Greyhound Hotel, 1 Brighton Rd, St Kilda
Season: Until 13 July | 8:00pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Conc
Bookings: www.holyshiptix.com & at the door