Review / When laughs meet nostalgia

musical theatre / “Baby Boomers”, devised, written and directed by Louise Rostron. Musical director, Matt Webster; choreography. Jacquelyn Richards. At Teatro Vivaldi until December 19. Reviewed by Bill Stephens

TEATRO Vivaldi has hit the jackpot with its Christmas party presentation; eschewing the inevitable carols in favour of an amiable nostalgic revue.

“Baby Boomers” revisits the songs and events close to the hearts of many Teatro Vivaldi patrons.

The brainchild of Louise Rostron, who not only wrote and directed the show and even manages an appearance in the finale, “Baby Boomers” is an obvious labour of love that contains several attractive original songs written by Rostron, together with Lucy Birmingham, which provide the connecting glue.

Commencing with the famous archival vision of a reveller dancing down a Sydney street at the end of World War II, “Baby Boomers” employs spoken narrations, archival film and songs to track through the significant events, trends, songs and  personalities of the following 50 years.

The large cast of varying experience includes Jill Elderton, Linda Gledhill, Leonie Leonard, Steve Osborne and Keith Young flying the flag for baby boomers, with, Nathan Rutups and Fraser Findlay energetically representing the bemused next generation. Each gets an opportunity to shine, and sometimes move outside their comfort zone, as they perform a succession of song medleys and solos tracing different periods and trends.

Actress and entrepreneur Joanna Richards... “In this show, there’s a subtext of how music and culture intertwine, and it really gives you a sense of what the baby boomers have lived through.” Photo by Andrew Finch

Joanna Richards. Photo by Andrew Finch

Much of the material is over-familiar, some pseudo-serious moments jar, more care is needed with the costume choices and more polish applied to Jacquelyn Richards’ excellent period-appropriate movement.

Despite all this, the enthusiastic performances and droll, tongue-in-cheek delivery style achieved by the cast, together with the excellent musical arrangements played with aplomb by Matt Webster, combine to make “Baby Boomers” a refreshing mixture of laughs and nostalgia,  perfect for sharing with friends during the festive season.

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