Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical

Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical
Book by Frank Howson, John-Michael Howson, Simon Phillips and Carolyn Burns. Directed by Simon Phillips. Choreography by Andrew Hallsworth. Lyric Theatre, Sydney. Opening night: October 6, 2016

Pound for pound this was the best opening night for a new Australian written musical since The Boy From Oz. Even our biggest hit of recent times - Priscilla  - was trimmed after the premiere. This production felt like it had rolled off the Broadway production line.

At its heart is a very good story. Bobby who? was the question many asked when the musical was announced. The director Simon Phillips was amongst the many who did not know much about him.

The more you learn about Bobby Darin the more intriguing he becomes. The son of a mafia figure who he never met, raised by his grandmother who he thought was his mother and his connection to the slain US Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy, are just a few of the fascinating chapters of his life.

The music he composed and sung is now in the easy listening Smooth FM genre. There are big band standards, sweet melodies, and 50's and 60's rock’n‘roll.

But enough of the songs have 'attitude' to make you forget that this is a musical constructed with songs composed prior to it being written. Like The Boy from Oz, it breaks up the drama by switching back and forth from him in concert.

A priority for the set is to showcase the big juicy band which is the backdrop for the entire show. The orchestrations from Guy Simpson are glorious. Allowing the brass sections to stand for big solos is among the memorable highlights.

 

 

The musical opens with a rendition of ‘Mack the Knife’. The crisp jagged choreography from Andrew Hallsworth, as the men descend the stairs, sets the tone for a very classy night in the theatre.

Centrestage for almost the entire performance is the unflappable David Campbell. With stamina, stage charisma and range of vocal reach, he’s a knock out.

Sparkling in the minor roles of Polly/Mary (Bobby's grandmother and mother in law) is Caroline O'Connor.

Hannah Fredericksen breaks in the role of Sandra Dee, who like her husband has many demons to conquer.

At the curtain call Dodd Darin made an emotional thank you to the cast and crew for bringing the story of his parents to the stage with such style. It was a memorable night in the theatre.

Review by David Spicer

 

Neil Litchfield adds his thoughts.

Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Musical really takes off whenever David Campbell is front and centre as Darin the performer.

It’s a dazzling marathon performance from a great local star, who is a perfect fit for the title role, equally at home in Darin’s originals and his famous cover versions. The showman in Darin also sits neatly on Campbell.

His performance alone is worth the price of admission, but there’s some much more.

The tremendous Australian triple threat ensemble, as always the heart, soul and engine room of local productions, work as hard as leading man David Campbell to deliver a vital, high-energy show.

Image: Lightbox Photography

 

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