A delightful and at times very moving Cabaret in The Day, the final of this year’s series, “ BROADWAY BABIES’ was at Mosman Art Gallery featuring the talents of maestro Glenn Amer and Adele Johnston.
The versatile, extremely impressive Amer needs no introduction to audience members of Cabaret in The Day. Johnston is a versatile artist excelling in a variety of genres including cabaret, musical comedy, opera, operetta, concert and lieder recitals. For this concert she was elegant in black and silver and – at least at the start- draped in a hot pink feather boa.
This is the world premiere of a witty, sparkling, delicious comedy from the pen of Melvyn Morrow..
Under Elaine Hudson’s excellent direction the play, full of incisive one liners, is fast paced with the actors swiftly moving between scenes. The two cast members perform with pizzazz and there is a good chemistry between them.
The set by Allan Walpole was in three parts, with a church like atmosphere overall, the two outer sides pulpit like, the main middle section with its lights proclaiming Last Orders Bar and Bistro. The arches for the two side areas act as windows and allowed for very atmospheric lighting. Scene changes (church to racecourse to restaurant and more) were often indicated by changing a prop on the bar – for example, flowers, or a silver teapot, an Islander statue, or a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Musically, the soundscape as devised by Glenn Amer, included convent bells, hymn music and some Gilbert and Sullivan.
Morrow’s play envisions two interesting characters – Arthur, a shonky property developer and Thelma, the last nun of her order – and places them in a situation which offers maximum potential for conflict.
Scenes are divided and feature ironic voice-overs like saying a rosary, for example the second mystery of light. There are many complicated twists, but to say more would spoil the fun.
Many people might wonder what on earth led such an intelligent and attractive woman choose to become a nun, who then ends up becoming the Superior of her order? And what happens when, over time, her order dies out and she’s left, as it were, holding the fort?! Arthur meanwhile has his major construction group. Can they do a deal?!
The performers, Taylor Owynns and Joseph Taylor, play their parts well with both characters struggling with their faith.
As Arthur, the Queensland property developer, Taylor comes across at first as a rather slimy Ocker and more than a bit off-putting, and as Sister Thelma, Owyns, in her traditional nun’s garb and has a very still, quiet, warm yet powerfully charismatic presence.
Both performers get to deliver strong monologues. Warning – in this show, appearances are deceptive, are they really who they say they are?
This play was fun, a delightful rom-com, which was also moving and thought provoking and one that the audience greatly enjoyed .
Running time 90 mins no interval.
Melvyn Morrow’s ACT OF FAITH is playing the King Street Theatre, corner King and Bray streets, Newtown until the 4th August, 2017.
The latest in the Cabaret in the Day series at Mosman Art Gallery was Of Bing I Sing , saluting Bing Crosby (1903 -1977 ) , the legendary 20th century American crooner and movie star.
Recording more than 1700 songs, Crosby’s distinctive warm bass-baritone voice made him the best-selling recording artist of the 20th century, having sold over one billion records, tapes, compact discs and digital downloads around the world.
Written and directed by Melvyn Morrow, it was presented as a dialogue between Glenn Amer ( ‘” the musical mastermind of Moss Vale ‘’) who has ‘’ the fingers of Liberace and the voice of Mario Lanza” and a collection of 378 78 format style recordings of Crosby, and Rob Palmer, star of Better Homes and Gardens and Dancing With the Stars.
Quick. Book now if you haven’t already for the other concerts as part of this year’s ‘Cabaret in the Day ‘ season. As we arrived for this afternoon’s concert we were greeted by House Full and Sold Out signs.
Kicking off the ‘Cabaret in the Day’ season at Mosman Art Gallery was a one off performance of the magnificent A SONG TO SING O , written and directed by Melvyn Morrow and here featuring the splendid talents of Savoy legend Christopher Hamilton playing George Grossmith, accompanied on piano by Jayne Hamilton.
Grossmith was a leading Savoyard comic baritone, ( best known for his ‘patter’ roles ), comedian and writer, composer, actor, and singer. His performing career spanned more than four decades. As a writer and composer, he created 18 comic operas, nearly 100 musical sketches, some 600 songs and piano pieces, three books and both serious and comic pieces for newspapers and magazines. and among others created the roles of Sir Joseph Porter( HMS Pinafore ) , Major General Stanley (The Pirates of Penzance), KoKo ( The Mikado) , and Jack Point ( Yeomen of the Guard) .
The audience is invited in as Mr Peabody, a visiting American journalist, is there to interview Grossmith, and this leads to performances from all his great roles. Grossmith is in his dressing room just before a show .The set includes a wallpapered Chinoiserie like screen and an elegant tea set , plus a hatstand , huge wicker traveling basket and a large vase all containing various props used in the show (for example Bunthorne’s lily). There are witty asides about working in the Savoy Company and with Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as Oscar Wilde amongst others. As well there are some terrific performances of a couple of Grossmith’s own songs– for example the poignant ‘Muddle Headed Porter’ and the rollicking ‘See Me Dance the Polka’ . Grossmith’s own wit also shone in his enchanting performance of ‘French Verbs’ – wickedly delightful.
Hamilton as Grossmith was glorious, warm, with a wicked twinkling eye where appropriate, a mobile expressive face and a terrific voice. The performance was enthralling and he channeled Grossmith with great gusto. Various selections from the much loved Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire are performed starting off with ‘Trial by Jury’ and ‘My Name is John Wellington Wells’ from ‘The Sorcerer’. The tongue twisting, rapid fire ‘patter’ songs are tremendously performed .His Sir Joseph Porter KCB ( ‘ HMS Pinafore ‘ ) was excellent – refined, slightly effete . As Major General Stanley he was breathlessly fabulous. The fiendishly difficult Lord Chancellor’s ‘Nightmare Song’ from ‘Iolanthe’ was thrillingly performed .With swirling cape and a hunchback he became the horrid , testy King Gama ( ‘Princess Ida’ ) who ‘can’t think why’ he isn’t liked. Another famous Grossmith role was Koko from ‘The Mikado’ – his plaintive, compelling performance of ‘Tit Willow’ would have any hard hearted Katisha weeping. As Bunthorne (from ‘Patience’) with a green hat and cravat he is transformed into a languid S shape , narcissistically admiring a lily.
‘A Song to Sing O’ from ‘Yeomen of the Guard’ brought the interview to a close with a magnificent duet with a surprise appearance .
Encore and bravo. Or, as the Pirate King would say to Major-General Stanley, ‘Again’!
Melvyn Morrow’s A SONG TO SING O, running time an hour and ten minutes, played for one night only at the Mosman Gallery on June 30.
The next Cabaret In The Day shows are OUR GLAD on July 14, BROADWAY BARD on July 28 and finally Romance!ROMANCE! on September 1, 2013. All shows start at 3pm. The Mosman Art Gallery is located on the corner of Art Gallery Way and Myahgah Road, Mosman. Phone 99784178