Review: Taking care of ‘Business’

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“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Phoenix Players
ANU Arts Centre until May 26.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens

TECHNICAL problems involving erratic lighting, which constantly left cast members in the dark, and noisy set changes marred a triumphant opening night for Phoenix Players’ highly entertaining production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”.

First-time director Richard Block has devised an imaginative, fast-moving production, enhanced with attractive costumes, clever settings, and a fine, robust orchestra augmented by pit singers and conducted by Alex O’Sullivan, to do justice to Frank Loesser’s terrific score and capture the fun and witty satire of this delightfully tuneful musical.

As the opportunistic window-cleaner, J. Pierpoint Finch, Adrian Flor gives a star performance, singing and dancing confidently, nailing every nuance and capturing every laugh on his way to becoming the president of World Wide Wickets. As his loyal fiancee/secretary, Rosemary, Vanessa De Jager, with her pretty voice and deft touch for comedy, is a delight.

Wayne Shepherd charms in a beautifully judged comedic performance as Mr Biggley, while Zack Drury is hilarious as the odious mummy’s-boy, Bud Frump. Michelle Norris, drop-dead-gorgeous as Hedy La Rue, David Cannell, appealing as Mr Twimble, and Hannah Wood as Smitty, all contribute memorable performances.

Miriam Rizvi’s imaginative, eye-catching routines, especially for the male ensemble, add greatly to the spectacle.
However, despite the technical problems, this is a production worthy of a “not-to-be-missed” recommendation.

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