Thoroughly Modern Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Book: Richard Morris & Dick Scanlan. Music: Jeanine Tesori. Lyrics: Dick Scanlan. UMMTA. Director: Spencer Hadlow. Musical Directors: Taylen Furness/Vanessa Tunggal. Choreographer: Keshia Contini. Union Theatre, University of Melbourne. May 8 – 16, 2015.

This was an unusually conservative choice for a University company, but very well done. Minimalistic sets were pushed around stage, allowing quick changes of scene. The direction was excellent.

Grace Haslinghouse was a feisty Millie with an excellent voice and she worked very well with Tom Kantor as her love interest, Jimmy. His light lyric tenor was a delight.

Rafaela Cleeve Gerkens was charming as Miss Dorothy and Simon Wright over the top as Trevor Graydon, but not as far over the top as Niamh O’Keefe who almost stole the show with her antics as Mrs Meers, the owner of the hotel who sold girls into slavery.

Her two Chinese assistants, Tom Lew and David Vien, were also very funny and sang well. The three sang Al Jolson’s Mammy in Chinese with English surtitles, which switched to Chinese when they sang the word “Mammy”. There were a lot of very funny scenes.

There were no weak links in this cast. The dancing was exciting, the cast was full of energy, and every character was fully involved.   Sometimes the stage was a bit small for the dancing happening on it.

The band played well and did not drown the singers, except when some microphones were turned on late on a couple of occasions. A couple of lighting cues were late as well.

This was a high energy, highly enjoyable show.

Graham Ford

Photographer: Ben Fon.

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