The Music Man

The Music Man
By Meredith Willson. Beenleigh Theatre Group. 26 Oct -10 Nov 2012

This show contained some of the finest work I have seen from this group in recent years. That is to say, it had many magic moments when everything fell together. Credit for this lay mostly with Sally Daly’s astute casting and thorough rehearsal, and Christopher King’s effective choreography.

Alex Dundas-Taylor ingratiated himself with the audience as the charismatic, smooth-talking swindler Harold Hill. He was matched by Lauren Lee Innis’s Marian Paroo – what glamour, what presence, and what a beautiful voice! David Morris created a likeable, nimble, comic Marcellus Washburn; and Tiffany Harvey and Samuel Gregory charmed us as young lovers, Zaneeta and Tommy. Who couldn’t love Phillipa Bowe’s enthusiastic, Irish Mrs Paroo; or young  Jayden McGinlay’s Winthrop; and Brenna Corben (as Gracie) and Laura Seiler (as Amaryllis)?

There was great group work from the Pick-a-Little Ladies and the Gossipers led by Sally Daly. Beautifully articulated rhythm-speaking by the men’s opening chorus in Rock Island redeemed our confidence after a very scrappy overture. In fact this cast was at its best when there was little or no orchestral accompaniment.

The Music Manis a complex and demanding show to mount, for both cast and musicians. In this case it would have proved more successful to settle for keyboards and percussion (augmented by a few very competent instrumentalists if available).

Jay McKee

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