Therry Dramatic Society. Arts Theatre. 9 Jun 2018
Blockbuster musicals rarely tour any more. They’re cost prohibitive. But the zeal and expertise of Adelaide’s non-professional theatre world has meant that audiences here are not denied their gorgeous glamour.
Right now, it’s Holiday Inn, a singing-and-dancing, musical-comedy love story by Irving Berlin with a cast of thousands and more costumes than Mardi Gras.
It’s quite the MGM epic.
Jude Hines has directed this classic Broadway musical fearlessly. She has corralled a keen troupe of performers and a fabulous orchestra directed by Mark DeLaine along with a vast tribe of costumiers and dressers. The result, with simple, snappy sets from Gary Anderson, is sheer stage spectacle.
One of the joys of such productions is the airing it gives to developing talent. Professional theatre is largely made up of performers who once have trodden the boards unpaid. And, amateur theatre also is the place where should-be professionals have chosen to enjoy the theatre as a sideline.
Not everyone in this cast is Broadway standard but some certainly are close to it.
It is wonderful to see two leading men who can sing and dance. Lindsay Prodea even taps. Both he and Brady Lloyd are strong, seasoned performers.
The show centres around nightclub entertainers looking to break into Hollywood. Lloyd plays Jim, who is tired of the touring life and wants to settle down on a Connecticut farm. His fiancée, Lila, played by Nikki Gaertner Easton, does not want to give up the bright lights and is lured away from him by Prodea’s character, Ted, a selfish, vain and ambitious hoofer. Jim is left to start life on the farm, sad and broke and, it turns out, with no aptitude for farming. Luckily the farm’s former owner, Linda, played by Lauren Scarfe, has a kind heart and a theatrical bent. Firstly she hands on the lifelong farm factotum, Louise, and later, her support in turning the farm into a live performance enterprise, the Holiday Inn. It all goes gangbusters until Ted turns up.
Brady Lloyd carries the show as the romantic lead. He has an exceptionally personable stage presence. The audience rightly adores him. Prodea doesn’t get to be adored. Ted is a louse. But Prodea gives him unrelenting chutzpa and both performers are classy.
The female principals are not quite as vocally strong but dance well and push out the old pizzazz with style. It is Kate Anolak as the trusty jack-of-all trades who steals the show.
She is a powerhouse both in characterisation and in song. She simply brings a stage to life.
Not that this stage is short on life. It is dressed by a fabulous ensemble and an ever-changing panoply of stunning costumes and hair-dos. The big dance numbers are well choreographed by Thomas Phillips. The sound is well balanced thanks to Tim Freedman and Marty Gilbert. The sets change smoothly. There could be a few more spotlights; a small oversight.
Andy Trimmings pops in and out of the plot as Danny, the hopeful Hollywood agent. He gives the role a strong comic edge but, for the sensitivities of this day and age, director Hines might redraw the character somewhat to make it less of a racial parody.
There’s also one important junior role in this show, that of young Charlie the local messenger boy. It is alternated by Luca Camozzato and Charlie Zorkovic. The latter shone nicely in the performance seen by this critic.
Indeed, the whole show sparkles.
When: 7 to 16 Jun
Where: Arts Theatre