In case you’re a sucker for songs of the ’60s, this present’s for you


Jess Zdanowicz, Sarah Hull, Kirsten Smith and Hannah Lance. Photograph: Sarah Abramowski.

Musical Theatre / “Downtown: The Mod Musical”, Queanbeyan Gamers. At Belconnen Group Theatre till  March 5. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

ESSENTIALLY an all-singing, all-dancing revue constructed round songs common in England throughout the decade between 1960 and 1970, “Downtown: The Mod Musical” is given a vibrant, entertaining manufacturing by Queanbeyan Gamers.

To present the songs context the present has a through-line in regards to the lives of 5 younger girls navigating the ’60s period when girls had been demanding extra management over their lives. Within the present every of the soloists is recognized solely by the color of her costume, somewhat than by title.

Subsequently Kay Liddiard performs Pink Woman; Hannah Lance is Inexperienced Woman; Emily Pogson is Blue Woman, Alexandra McLaughlin is Orange Woman; and Sarah Hull is Yellow Woman. All besides Yellow Woman are supposed to be British, Yellow Woman having revealed in her opening monologue that she has travelled from America simply to see Paul McCartney. Inexperienced Woman was the one one among the many 4 British girls to aim any kind of English accent.

The ladies relate their tales by a succession of songs common throughout the period. The songs are interrupted by brief monologues, or interludes throughout which the ladies request and obtain recommendation on issues affecting their lives from columnist, Gwendolyn Holmes (Tina Meir) who works for a fictional journal “Shout”, to which every of the ladies subscribe.

Gwendolyn delivers her recommendation through a disembodied voiceover and that recommendation gives a great deal of the humour for the present. It additionally gives the alternatives for touch upon the altering attitudes of the occasions.

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Along with the lead characters, director Anita Davenport has added a refrain of 5 further girls, Hannah Miller, Carly Carter, Jess Zdanowicz, Kirsten Smith and Anna Tully, who shadow every of the principal characters and are costumed in particular person black and white costumes.

Choreographer, Laurenzy Chapman has taken benefit of the additional numbers to create a succession of intelligent, well-drilled manufacturing numbers primarily based on the favored dance strikes of the period. Reminiscent in model to the favored tv reveals of the interval, these routines are carried out with commendable vitality and precision by the entire forged. Elsewhere director, Davenport shows a aptitude for arranging the forged to kind enticing stage footage all through.

Steve Galinec’s vibrant summary setting gives the proper atmosphere for the present, enhanced as it’s by Jacob Aquilina’s equally vibrant lighting design, whereas Helen McIntyre’s fantastically detailed costumes echo Carnaby Road trend.

The sound on opening night time was considerably erratic, permitting Tara Davidson’s hardworking trio to sometimes change into virtually inaudible, which probably accounted for the uncertainty of a number of the singing.

Though the beautiful harmonies achieved by the total ensemble had been spot on, a number of the songs chosen for the soloists had been past their skills, leading to some off-pitch singing and compelled lyrics.

Nonetheless, on condition that the soloists had been making an attempt to emanate the performances of songs indelibly engraved into the viewers’s collective consciousness by singers of the ilk of Petula Clarke, Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black, this was simple to forgive.

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These blemishes apart, when you’re a sucker for the songs of the ’60s, that is the present for you.


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Ian Meikle, editor