Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble’s (MUSE) production of Stephen Sondheim’s ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is performed by a group of talented and highly energetic and committed performers. The show is, in part, a social satire and a sharp critique of modern society, breaking the fourth wall, acknowledging itself as theatre and sometimes not following a logical, linear structure.
This Sondheim play is also partly a musical romantic comedy, complete with love songs and happily ever after scenarios for the hero, the heroine and even the villains.
The town in ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is in serious financial trouble and needs a miracle. The scheming Comptroller has a solution and supported by Mayoress Cora creates a water spouting rock and calls it a miracle. Yet when Nurse Fay Apple brings her ‘cookies’ from the local mental institution, the Cookie Jar, to cure themselves, chaos ensues as patients and residents become mixed up. From there the plot twists and turns till all is well – well almost – at the end.
Dani El-Rassi as the Mayoress and Jordy Shea as Comptroller are particularly strong in their roles and along with William Wally Allington as Treasurer Cooley bring much humour and delight to their scenes. Curtis Goding as J Bowden Hapgood and India Cordony also perform their parts with sparkle and enthusiasm.
Sarah Gaul as Nurse Fay Apple played her role effectively but unfortunately on the night was suffering from a throat infection. This meant there was insufficient volume and some of the lyrics were lost to those sitting towards the back.
Co-directors Olivia Alseksoski and Alexander Andrews ensured all the rest of the ensemble have the chance to display very individual personalities with each having a moment in the spotlight.
The, at times, quite complicated choreography by Louise Flynn gave added life to the musical with a well rehearsed and coordinated ensemble. Those members with particular dancing abilities are given the chance to shine.
The music director Douglas Emery leads a talented five piece band with the set design and lighting enhancing the action and fun of the production.
There is one more performance of ANYONE CAN WHISTLE tonight at 7.30pm at the King Street theatre, 644 King Street theatre,Newtown. The theatre is on the first floor above the South End Cafe. Entrance is on Bray street.