End of the Rainbow

End of the Rainbow
By Peter Quilter. Directed by Brad Tudor. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana WA. 9-24 November, 2018

Koorliny Arts Centre’s musical drama, End of the Rainbow, centres on Judy Garland’s comeback concerts in late 1968. A beautifully presented piece of drama, with a great singing performance, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is playing to sellout crowds.

Presented cabaret style in Koorliny’s smaller theatre, designer Jon Lambert transforms the compact stage into a London hotel suite, which in turn becomes a concert venue, revealing a hidden band. Director Brad Tudor’s costume design is an elegant and effective reflection of the era.

Rachel Monamy is outstanding as Judy Garland in a heartfelt, beautifully drawn performance of great depth. Rachel also sings with passion, embodying Judy’s style in gorgeous concert segments that are a great contrast from the tragedy of Judy’s life. Rachel bears more than a passing resemblance to Judy, but her performance is quite transformative and a joy to watch.

While this may be described as a star vehicle (and Ms Monamy is worthy of the title), the supporting performances are outstanding. Laurence Williams shows great range as Judy’s fiancé Mickey Deans, Peter Shaw plays Anthony, a pianist and devotee of Judy, in what I feel may be his strongest performance to date. Jon Lambert makes three short but distinctive and cameos.

Kate McIntosh, musical director, leads a talented four piece band, who are worthy of accompanying a big star.

Accurately described as part concert, part drama and all Judy, this well directed, expertly performed, and moving production will sell very quickly. An impressive show that will delight lovers of drama, fans of good music and friends and fans of Judy.

Kimberley Shaw

Photographer: Jon Lambert

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