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BWW Review: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GREATEST HITS VOL 1 at Studio Underground

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No show is safe from satire in this fast paced parody tribute.

BWW Review: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GREATEST HITS VOL 1 at Studio Underground

Nostalgia and laughter abounded in Forbidden Broadway GREATEST HITS VOL 1, with loving tributes to Broadway's greatest shows and people given a twist that had people singing and laughing.

Director Andrew Dobosz brought together a talented cast for this show. Rachel Monamy has an impressive list of awards and credits, Peter Cumins is back in Perth after time performing on London's West End, Elethea Sartorelli has performed all over the world, and Callan Kneale is an incredibly talented artist and performer. The show begins with a taste of things to come, with the entire cast introducing the show whilst getting a few early punches in on Broadway musicals and the much-loved shows and people. The audience was in stitches very early on, and the show did nothing to slow that down. No Broadway hit was safe, with Chicago in for some early attention. Rachel Monamy brought extra laughter with a jibe at an ageing Annie, and the audience was then dragged in to a singalong with the full cast taking aim at Sondheim' famously complex lyrics.

Andrew Dobosz mentioned in my interview with him that if someone were to make a best of Broadway playlist, many if not most of the songs in Forbidden Broadway GREATEST HITS would be in there, and he was not wrong. If you can think of a major show, personality, or song from Broadway, you'll find it in here somewhere. As such, there is something for the casual Broadway fan as well as any die-hard Broadway lovers. However, whilst many of the top songs from Broadway (and therefore Forbidden Broadway) have entered popular culture and will be familiar to many, there is also something for anyone who doesn't necessarily love Broadway. Most of the jokes seamlessly set themselves up before going in for the punch line, and no prior knowledge is necessary. As well as that, whilst the performers deliver the humour easily, they are also simply wonderful singers.

BWW Review: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GREATEST HITS VOL 1 at Studio Underground

The show is, undoubtedly, based on humour, and this much is evident from the fact that every song drew laughs. However, the performers are not lampooning their characters. Elethea Sartorelli's voice when playing Liza Minelli is not the caricatured voice many may recognize, but rather the flawless singing voice that Sartorelli used when performing as Liza for the national tour of The Boy From Oz. Peter Cumins channels Mandy Patinkin but still hits the notes perfectly, Callan Kneale's Phantom (after some deliberate false starts) could easily find its way to stage, and Rachel Monamy's ageing Annie is still a wonderful singer. Indeed, whilst it is rare to find a genuinely humourous show that also showcases simply wonderful singing voices, Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits does it easily. Rather than seeking cheap laughs with exaggerated vocals, the cast sing so well one just about wants to see them in the real shows.

The show is fast paced and high energy. Pianist Sammy McSweeney has perfect timing and rapport with each of the artists and serves as the perfect accompaniment. The many costumes that appear throughout the show are the work of Callan Kneale, and he could easily be a leading performer or designer, so to see him kick goals in both areas is a treat. Allan Blachford's skills choreographing a diverse range of performances come to the fore in the show as the performers flow between scenes, characters, and even musicals. Director Andrew Dobosz spoke of bringing together a group of friends, and it is clear that the five performers on stage are indeed friends, but he's also managed to bring together five talented performers to put on a brilliant show.

BWW Review: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GREATEST HITS VOL 1 at Studio Underground
The show is notable for impressive costumes as much as it
is for impressive performances

Whether you're looking for solid laughs or simply wonderful singing, and whether you're a seasoned Broadway fanatic or a musical theatre novice, you are sure to get many hearty laughs and the opportunity to see five talented performers strut their stuff in Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits.

Forbidden Broadway Greatest Hits Vol 1 is at Studio Underground at The State Theatre Centre until November 20, including a matinee and evening performance on Saturday. Tickets and more information from The State Theatre Trust.

Images thanks to Christian Ingram (Deprimo Photography)


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