Love is in the Air at Petersham

Love is in the Air at Petersham

Peter Novakovich reports

"Over the past couple of months I've been plonking away as a rehearsal pianist for the Inner West Theatre Company's upcoming production of Strictly Ballroom. This is the stage version of the Baz Luhrmann film, and carries over the popular songs from the film plus a bunch of clever songs by Australian composer Eddie Perfect.

IWTC was once Canterbury Theatre Guild, but thanks to Covid were nearly wiped out. Rebranding and repositioning became a part of their regrowth strategy, and with the strong support of Inner West Council, here they are.

As a rehearsal pianist you're heard and not seen. But having a view from the shadows also gives you a feeling of whether or not the show will be any good.

And from what I've been seeing and hearing this show will be fantastic.

The creative team is made up of a professional musician and conductor (m.d. Kane Wheately), and professional dancers / choreographers (director Ste Casimiro and choreographer Lauren Nalty). Ms Nalty also served as a technical consultant on the professional stage version of Strictly Ballroom. Their professionalism in the way they're putting this show together and getting the best out of the cast really shows. 


The cast is a mix of community theatre veteran royalty and many fresh-faced newcomers. And what they all bring is a lovely - and lively - vibe of joy and positivity. But what's most important from an audience point of view is that every time I watch this cast rehearse I get the feeling they're giving it their all just to entertain me.

It's not just the feel-good element in the script and story that sells this production: we've all seen those performers who are technically brilliant but fall short because all they're doing is just showing off. Such performers can dampen the brightest and uplifting of shows. None of this cast are like this.

At the time of writing this article the show has just been put together. Polishing, finessing, tech week, and costume changes remain. Given the cast's work ethic, I'm confident these will be all sorted by opening. Either way, I think the cast's efforts to entertain you will have you doing the bogo pogo quicker than you can say, "Tina Sparkles".     

There is a nice additional connection to the classic movie, in that the show is being staged in Petersham Town Hall, where the opening scenes were filmed. 

Love, indeed, "is in the air."

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