22
Sep
12

The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks

Noosa Arts Theatre

September 20th – October 6th

Reviewed by Joe Jurisevic

It’s easy to be drawn in to the theatre by large scale spectaculars staged at major entertainment venues. Bright lights, multi piece orchestras, awesome sets and stagecraft that wow the eye and  a costume budget in the tens or hundreds of thousands. But with it comes large crowds, nose bleed seats and the need for binoculars just to get a glimpse of the action on stage.

Grand productions of The Fantasticks have been presented over the years, and simply have not worked. Perhaps that is the secret to why “The beauty of the Fantasticks is in the sheer simplicity under which it is presented… MINIMAL set, lighting and a cast of just 8 people. The live musical orchestrations are also simple, a piano and a harp. The Fantasticks was written to be performed in intimate surroundings, encouraging audiences to fill in the spaces by creating their own imagery using their imagination.” That may explain the appeal of a the World’s Longest Running Musical, which has been performed off-Broadway with only a small break in productions since 1960.

I first saw The Fantasticks in exactly that setting – Brisbane Arts theatre in 1995. I was immediately drawn in by the intimate atmosphere of this compact venue. And so it is with Ian Mackellar’s production currently showing at Noosa Arts Theatre. The intimacy of the space makes it the perfect venue to see this well cast production that deserves an audience.

It is a shame that even many theatre going regulars are unfamiliar with this show, but from the opening number audiences will not need Try to Remember too hard to find a familiarity that they will be drawn to. The story is a simple love story of neighbouring boy and girl whose love knows no bounds. Kept apart (or is that drawn together by their fathers?), their love blossoms in the romantic moonlight. But what happens when the moonlight fades and we are left to review in the cold light of day? That is where The Fantasticks will keep you spellbound.

McKellar’s production is true to the simplicity that is the feature of this musical. Sam Coward as the Narrator and El Gallo treats us a mix of vocals and comedy that makes one ask why we don’t see more of him on stage these days. Rachel Halverson and Callum Hamacek connect and captivate as the young lovers, with Rachel’s vocals a highlight. Ian Mackellar and John Woodlock compliment each other perfectly as the father’s of the children. Stephen Moore’s comic genius is a highlight until the very end and is well supported by new comer to Noosa Arts’ stage in Mal Favager. Carly Partridge’s role as the mute is, some may quip, possibly her most challenging, in a role that cleverly manages the stagecraft of the production.

The Fantasticks is a refreshing piece of musical theatre and comedy that audiences will readily warm to and will enjoyed by all ages. My 12 year old son loved it. Ideal family entertainment over the coming holidays or just a great fun night out.

Charity Fundraising night for Katie Rose Cottage

September 27th at 7.30pm

 

Book online or call (07) 5449 9343

 

The Fantasticks

Stephen Moore, Carly Partridge, Rachel Halverson

 

 

 

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