BWW REVIEW: THE LYIN' QUEEN Is The Latest Fabulous Adults-Only Pantomime From The Genius Minds Of Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott.
Friday 29th November 2019, 7:30pm, Playhouse Sydney Opera House
Trevor Ashley (Writer, Director and Performer) and Phil Scott (Writer and Performer) have created another brilliant pantomime strictly for grown ups with THE LYIN' QUEEN. Drawing on television, movie and musical theatre references, nothing is off limits for their special style of parody, spoof and satire that includes up-to-the-minute references that has audiences howling with laughter.
The premise of THE LYIN' QUEEN is that former Home and Away star Gaye Wray (Trevor Ashley) has been unsuccessful in finding fame in Los Angeles and is lured back to Australia to be the face of Doctor Richard Rabbitborough's (Phil Scott) new theme park that he is opening on a mysterious island off the Sunshine Coast. The blonde bombshell is joined on the island of Isle'a'Fisher by the leggy blonde botanist Doctor Flora Fern (Shannon Dooley), a buff social media influencer and outdoor adventurer Garrison Fjord (Brendan Irving) and they soon discover Doctor Rabbitborough and his dutiful assistant Doctor Ebony White (Elenoa Rokobaro) have been repopulating and replanting the island with long extinct Dinosaurs and "Thoracic" era vegetation along with other oversized biological experiments.
The bright world of Hollywood sunbeds and bikini clad servants makes way for the gigantic asparagus like jungle which hilariously 'emerges' as yet another part of the fabulous physicality of the performance. Angie White's costuming is brilliant, from the stunning gowns that transform Gaye Wray into a classic Golden Age of Hollywood diva to a uniquely Australian version of Julie Taymor's Lion King the Musical entrance parade and the inventive take on Witch doctor Rafiki with Graffiti's (Rokobaro) costume of discarded icons of Australian consumerism including a headdress of rubber kitchen gloves.
As with traditional pantomime, THE LYIN' QUEEN has a charming degree of unpredictability to the work, from props failing at inopportune moments to the cast getting swept up in fits of giggles with Ashley breaking character and the fourth wall to share his thought on the mishaps. While the cast are incredibly talented with strong musical theatre backgrounds, they have ensured they have not polished off the rough edges of this work to ensure it retains the freedom for the comic actors to play, improvise and make use of up to the minute current events. The vocals are strong, particularly Rokobaro and the choreography by Cameron Mitchell captures the musical theatre schtick and also plays on Dooley's background as an 80's inspired aerobics instructor. The addition of circus straps and silks also allow Irving to show of some aerial skills and the body doubling is hilarious. Hopefully the sound issues that hampered hearing some of Ashley and Scott's cleverly crafted lyrics will be ironed out when the show transfers to Eternity Playhouse.
THE LYIN' QUEEN is a brilliant night of grown up fun for anyone who is willing to suspend any idea of good taste as Ashley and Scott test those boundaries and break them with boundless energy. Filled with a wide range of retakes of popular music and musical theatre standards, a good dose of glamour, glitter and scantily clad man-candy, this is a deliciously camp Christmastime treat.
While the Sydney Opera House season has finished, THE LYIN' QUEEN has a second season at Eternity Playhouse starting 10 December 2019.