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Print Version

music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
lyrics by Don Black
Director: David Coddington
Musical Director: Robin Kelly
Produced by: The Real Theatre Company

at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
From 14 Nov 2012 to 24 Nov 2012
[1 hr, no interval]

Reviewed by Adey Ramsel, 15 Nov 2012

The decision to stage this rarely performed one-act musical is hardly a risk, what with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's name on the credits, but it does put the pressure on to deliver the goods once the lights go down.

The show is full of numbers that have become standards in their own right, already known to most of an audience. On the flip side, this also one of the stumbling blocks of this production. The fact that some of the songs are standards should be ignored and taken in rehearsal at face value. Their origin and roots seem to have been somewhat lost and forsaken for the sake of presentation. At times it feels more like a concert than musical theatre. Standards are fine on an album but on stage they need to step back into the show as part of a whole so we can, indeed, empathise with character and story. 

Carly Binding is comfortable on stage on her own, handling props and skilful costume changes with ease that shows a professional touch but her own pop singer origins come to the forefront in delivery. An aversion to ‘stand still and deliver' – a powerful piece of direction in any show – jars on the eyes and distracts a little from the vocals.

Hopefully it's a case of finding her feet with an audience and grasping the courage of her convictions and her talent will come through in the season but is something that should have been dealt with in rehearsal. The maxim ‘less is more' is said for a reason. Binding has the courage and talent to be up there, however musical-theatre direction seemed to be slightly lacking.

The exception is the beautiful ‘Unexpected Song', with Binding coolly leaning against her writing desk and letting the character and words do the work for her.

She is at her best with her lyrical, understated interpretation of the ballads. When it come to proving her worth where the powerful numbers require belt voice, it feels as if she is holding back.  

Production wise, it's all spot on. Robin Kelly, yet again, delivers a first rate band and orchestrates it well. The score comes alive and blends well with Binding's vocals. The sound, uncredited, is smooth and clear. 

Brad Gledhill creates mood and ambience, showing that time and talent went into the lighting design to follow Binding and story around the stage.

Costume, again uncredited, was simple and perfect and the dressing of the bare stage is all that's needed. 
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 Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);