Contact! The Netball Musical

Contact! The Netball Musical
By Angus Grant. Librettist: Kate Schmitt. Part of Arts Centre Melbourne's creative development initiative (Vic). Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Fairfax Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director: Cameron Menzies. Music Director: Angus Grant. Choreographer: Julia Sutherland. April 11 – 29, 2012.

There is a reason we sing the important stuff. Singing ‘Happy Birthday’, religious songs, or serenading a loved one adds gravity to our words. This is what makes Contact! The Netball Musical by Angus Grant, so very funny.

It’s only a game, unless you’re in the Rangers Netball Team who are preparing for finals against The Sparrows on a suburban netball court. All hell breaks loose when the team’s Goal Attack is replaced by the talented, ‘indie-triple J’ Daisy. Jealously, bitchiness, and uncomfortable truths surface, decimating team cohesion on the eve of the big game.

While the libretto is occasionally difficult to make out, the characterisation of the individuals personalities in the team are most entertaining, and there is some wonderful polyphonic ensemble work, delicate coloratura singing, and inspired choreography. Who knew it was possible to play netball and sing at the same time?

Those will a ‘netball brain’ will laugh loudest at this light operatic production clearly aimed at a younger demographic. And laugh-out-loud moments are plenty. Sung phrases include ‘to me’ and ‘if you need’, ‘keep your eyes on the ball’, ‘whatever’ and even ‘eeeuw’. Text messages on a large overhanging screen add to the sociological comment, with many facebook references. Those without knowledge of the finer meanings of LOL and BTW will be left in the dark.

Contact! runs for 80 minutes without interval.

Lucy Graham

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