Sing On Through Tomorrow

Sing On Through Tomorrow
The Songs of Matthew Robinson. Producer / Director: Neil Gooding. Musical Director: Peter Rutherford. Choreographer: Nathan M. Wright. Sidetrack Theatre, Marrickville (NSW). August 4 – 14, 2011.

After numerous song cycles extracted from the shows of moderately successful American composers, what a joy it is to be thoroughly entertained by a collection of musical theatre songs from up-and-coming Australian songwriter Matthew Robinson.

Robinson’s first musical, Metro Street, was staged by the State Theatre Company of SA in 2009, his second musical, Happy People, is still in development, and he has also written songs for three cabaret shows.

Already at this early stage of his career, the range, texture and contrast of his catalogue, as displayed in this revue, is diverse and exciting. There are emotional ballads, lively ensembles, engagingly connected duets and delicious comedy numbers, through a broad range of dramatic (and comedic) contexts.

Versatile Matthew Robinson is also a top-notch musical theatre performer, with credits including Freddy Eynsford-Hill in Opera Australia’s recent My Fair Lady. Three talented young musical theatre performers, Hollie Andrew, Kate-Maree Hoolihan and Shaun Rennie, share the stage with him, providing impressive wide-ranging vocal and dramatic interpretations.

There’s no book, per se, nor, thankfully, is there biographical banter, but the evening has the cohesive bond of a series of personal journeys. 

Against a simple black setting, utilizing a couple of levels and staircases, director Neil Gooding’s production values are clean, effective and well-paced. The song placement and order is nicely balanced, and Nathan M. Wright’s choreography complements the songs well.

A four-piece band led by fellow composer Peter Rutherford (The Hatpin) provides splendid backing.

The cast recording, to be released shortly after the show, will certainly be worth watching out for. In particular, I can’t wait to hear the lively act one closer Kiss Kiss Bang Bang again.

Get along to Sidetrack Theatre for this highly enjoyable glimpse at the bright potential of Australian musical theatre.

Neil Litchfield

Image: Kate-Maree Hoolihan, Matthew Robinson, Hollie Andrew and Shaun Rennie.

Read more about the show and Matthew Robinson.

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