Years ago, audiences fell in love with Muriel Heslop on the big screen, and now they are falling in love with her all over again, this time at the theatre.
Has there ever been a more likeable dag/outsider?! One just has to admire her daring, her nerve, that she will do anything to achieve her dreams, and damn any-one, or even any notion of her own self pride, that can get in the way.
Maggie McKenna steps very comfortably into the shoes that were filled in the movie by Toni Colette in the movie. She gives a wonderful performance, playing a classic ‘plain Jane’ character who will do anything that she can to break away from her mundane, bland life.
At every turn in her journey Muriel thinks big, and I think that this is the best way to describe Simon Phillips’ production. This is a big, bold, brassy show. The cast is great, as are the costumes and sets-by Gabriela Tylesova (simply a genius), and the music by Abba, Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, and Isaac Hayward.
PJ Hogan’s book, in the main, gives Muriel the same journey that she went on in the film. When characters bring out into song, via some very catchy melodies by Miller-Heidi’s and Nuttal, in true music theatre style, their feelings and thoughts spring to the surface.
Joining Maggie in the principal cast are Madeline Jones as Muriel’s gutsy best friend, Rhonda, Gary Sweet plays her bullish, insensitive father, Bill, Justine Clarke is her good natured, passive mother, Betty, and Helen Dallimore plays Bill’s ever appearing ‘what a coincidence’ friend and playmate Deidre Chambers. The large ensemble cast are all wonderful.
There are so many great moments in the show. Such as the times when the Abba quartet appear out of nowhere to play for Muriel when her spirits sag, and that great scene when Rhonda gives Muriel’s friends a crushing, well deserved serve after they had been so cruel to her. Some people in the audience couldn’t help but applaud.
This is a wonderful night in the theatre and a credit to everyone involved. MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL is playing the Roslyn Packer Theatre until the 27th January, 2018.