Review / Happy ‘Man’ with a few issues

musical theatre “The Rokitelly Man” At Belconnen Theatre, until August 2. Reviewed by Bill Stephens

WRITTEN by prolific Canberra songwriter Andrew Hackwill and Michael Heming, “The Rokitelly Man” is an engaging new original musical, complete with tuneful, toe-tapping songs, imaginative choreography by Kathryn Jones, a witty set design and colourful costumes.


Miles Thompson (as Jeremy) and Alex McPherson (Cindy) in “The Rokitelly Man”. Photo by Nick Brightman

It tells the story of Jeremy, a packaging department assistant in a failing toy emporium, who invents a best-selling toy robot called “The Rokitelly”. The success of his invention turns around the fortunes of the company resulting in Jeremy becoming the new head of the toy design department.

Director Richard Block has assembled an attractive cast headed by Miles Thompson, as the gormless Jeremy, and Alex McPherson as Cindy, the girl he loves and loses.

There are amusing characterisations from Debra Byrne, who delightfully channels Hyacinth Bucket as the over-bearing proprietor of the toy emporium; Max Gambale as the suave marketing manager and Joe McGrail-Bateup is the opportunistic former toy design head who becomes a victim to Jeremy’s success.

Miriam Miley-Read almost steals the show with a delightful comedy performance as the deliciously ditzy Angela.

Though it’s a shame that the dull, pre-recorded backing tapes drain away much of the necessary oomph and spontaneity of the musical numbers, that un-ironed costumes spoil the gloss, and an inexplicable change of style in the last 10 minutes plunges an otherwise frothy entertainment into some kind of Brechtian morality tale, there is still much to enjoy in “The Rokitelly Man”.

It is presented by Dramatic Productions and Ickle Pickle Productions.


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