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Tag Archives: Jim McMullen

Les Misérables

les miserablesJust quietly, I think Canberra Philharmonic have outdone themselves with their latest rendering of a classic musical. I mean, it’s nothing terribly innovative, the staging is much what you’d expect for any other rendition of Les Misérables, and the set, while pleasant, goes through a few clunky moments. But the performances drawn out of these ‘amateur’ performers is nothing short of spectacular.

Dave Smith’s Valjean is a perfect match for Adrian Flor’s Javert, and the two milk Schönberg and Boulbil’s book for every hyper-sentimental note it’s worth. Their energy and focus, while admirable, is upstaged by other principals, particularly Kelly Roberts’ Fantine, Mat Chardon O’Dea’s Marius, Laura Dawson’s Cosette and Vanessa de Jager’s Eponine. Their energy filled Erindale’s cavernous auditorium, and they must be finding the run absolutely gruelling. The rest of the cast are pretty impressive too, on the whole.

I found the performance on the whole moving, and the staging, while predicable, was solid. The orchestra, though it needed to be hidden under a fully extended stage, was in fine form.

The whole evening hangs together beautifully, as evidenced by the full standing ovation with which this late-run audience honoured the splendid cast and crew. This is a great night out, and you’ve got one more week in which to get along and see it.

 
 

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Cosi

We went last night to the opening of Cosi, which was a great affair, as you would expect. Cosi is the story of a young graduate sent to direct a play with a group of patients at a mental asylum. Funny enough as a situation comedy, but Louis Nowra has deftly wound broad humour around a story about the importance of love over politics.
In this production, the comedy outshines the potentially didactic moralising, just as it should, and as a result, the moral stands on its merits, couched in comfortably broad Australian humour.

Bringing classics to the stage is what Canberra Rep does best, and when you stage something that is as well-known as an enjoyable play as Louis Nowra’s Cosi, you get to pick from the best actors Canberra has to offer. That’s what happened here, and it’s one of the main reasons this show is so enjoyable. This is a spectacular cast, and every nuance of Nowra’s characters is instinctively brought to life. They enjoy the show even more than the audience, I’m sure; and even with a few members of the cast needing to work hard to stifle a laugh now and then, they never missed a beat. Who can blame them? After working so hard to deliver the comedy of Nowra’s lines, to finally have an audience roar into laughter is a rewarding experience.

Canberra Rep’s Cosi is simply one of the best nights out you’ll find.
 
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Posted by on Friday, 21 November 2008 in Canberra Repertory Society, Canberra Theatre, Theatre

 

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