By Peter Maddern
Harry Warren and Al Dublin’s 1980 stage hit, based on a 1930’s film and set in that period, is a good fun musical of the old school – that is (thankfully) with many great songs and lively banter. The students and staff at Scotch College have ambitiously taken on 42nd Street and deliver a fine evening of singing and dancing, with the tap sequences perhaps the highlight.
Both Paris Anderson as the aging diva Dorothy Brock and Tayla Coad as the interloping Peggy Sawyer delight, with Anderson particularly carrying her extra (stage) years with maturity and aplomb. Jordan Tomljenovic I suspect has no problems getting dates for the school formal as his Billy Lawlor is full of flair and poise aided by a smashing smile and abundant charisma. While in playing impresario Julian Marsh, Lachlan Williams is somewhat straight jacketed in a scowl, fortunately the second half gives his obvious talents more freedom culminating in a terrific solo as the finale. His chiselled facial looks will no doubt hold him in good stead as a leading man for stage and screen in years to come. Lewis Shilvock as Marsh’s right hand man, Andy Lee, also possesses great talent capturing the audience in the show’s opening dance and clearly he knows how to make his shoes produce magic, while Katie Luscombe’s performance as Maggie Jones is also one to enjoy.
However, amongst a range of singing talent, were they Sebastien Skubala’s few bars at the opening of the second half that suggested he has the best vocals of them all?
Director Adam Goodburn and his team deserve much credit for the quality of the performance, no doubt requiring enormous reserves of skill, commitment and patience to get a show like this together as they compete for the students’ time among many other obligations. But Linda Williams’s choreography amply satisfied her audience as well as pushing the limits of what her dancers could deliver, with all the big dance scenes well-rehearsed, especially noted in the final dance routines for which timing needed to be spot on and it was. Anthony Hubmayer’s musical direction was also excellent with no risk of his charges ever dragging on the required pace for the performers on the floor boards above them.
Well done also to the school administration for backing a venture like this. Students may forever kick footballs and memorise maths tables but few of those involved in this production are ever likely to forget the experience.