BWW Review: Music Theatre Melbourne Presents Jon English's PARIS
Writing a new chapter in the story of the rock opera written by David Mackay and the late Jon English, Music Theatre Melbourne's limited season of PARIS: A Rock Odyssey is not to be missed.
Presented as a concert, with a cast truly beyond reproach and a creative team dedicated to honouring the show's creator, this production is impressive in all facets.
The first voice the audience hears is from Kerrie Anne Greenland, whose strength and command perfectly bookends the show. As Cassandra, Greenland introduces us to Paris, the prince of Troy, as he grapples with a decision between a life dedicated to wisdom or love. With this, the wheels are set in motion.
Matthew Manahan is wonderful as Paris with a youthful presence and soaring range. He is perfectly partnered with Madeleine Featherby as Helen. Featherby's vocal performance is sublimely sweet and effortless whilst perfectly capturing the emotional depth of her character.
With a veritable buffet of noteworthy performances, mention must be made of Ben Mingay's performance as war hero Achilles, Brian Mannix's comedic capacity as the drunkard Sinon, and Mark Dickinson's strength and integrity as tortured Menelaus.
Alongside brilliant portrayals by both John Waters and Tim Freedman, Scott Johnson as Hector is a standout performance of the show, with both the ability to swing seamlessly from drama to comedy and a breathtaking voice.
Neil Gooding's direction is the ideal combination of the concert and theatrical styles, effectively grasping the audience and conveying the tragedy and scale of the story.
Having completely reconstructed and reorchestrated the score, rewritten incidental music, and produced the music production elements of the show, Isaac Hayward's musical direction is faultless. Expertly conducting a 15 piece orchestra (featuring Jon English's son Jonathan on guitar) and a 28 strong chorus, Hayward has produced magnificent sounding work.
This production is an impressive presentation of a spectacular rock musical with a cast of accomplished performers that all involved should be immensely proud of.
PARIS: A Rock Odyssey is playing a limited season at Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre.