Musical Theatre / “The World Goes Round”, directed by Jarrad West. At Theatre 3 until June 1. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS
THE songwriting team of Kander and Ebb are responsible for many iconic musicals, among them “Cabaret”, “Chicago” and “The Rink”. They’ve also written for film, as well as special material for celebrity performers, in particular, Liza Minnelli.
“The World Goes Round” is a musical revue for which a selection of some of their best songs has been cleverly woven into a showcase for five outstanding performers.
Director Jarrad West has set his version, after hours, in a beautifully detailed evocation of a New York nightclub, designed by Chris Baldock, in which large posters of Kander and Ebb shows adorn the walls.
During the show, the posters light up to indicate which show the song being performed is from. This is a clever touch that adds to the enjoyment.
The talented cast portray anonymous nightclub employees who arrive for work, set up the club and eventually leave, having assumed a variety of personas as they interpret the songs.
It could have been disastrous to have one of the original cast members, Samantha Marceddo, fall ill during the final days of rehearsal, but the production was fortunate in that director West and choreographer Caitlin Schilg, both excellent performers, were able to step in and take over Marceddo’s role and provide some highlights of their own in a show full of highlights.
For this reviewer, outstanding moments included almost everything performed by the remarkable Louiza Blomfield, but particularly her full-throated version of “The World Goes Round”, which opens the show; Jarrad West’s superb interpretation of “Coloured Lights”; Julia Walker’s delightfully cheeky “Arthur in the Afternoon”; Isaac Gordon’s delicious take on “Sara Lee”’ Joel Hutchings’ powerful “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, Caitlin Schilg’s gutsy “All that Jazz” and the roller-skating fun of “The Rink”.
West’s stagings of the many duets, trio and ensemble numbers are masterly and no doubt first-night glitches with sound balance, missed lighting cues, occasional errant harmonies and sluggish pacing will be attended to quickly. But overall, this production is a triumph for the Canberra Repertory Society, and most definitely one for the “must see” list.