25
Oct
13

Connect Four – a new musical

 

Connect Four

Alanya Bridge

Metro Arts The Studio

24 October – 26  October 2013

 

Reviewed by Meredith Walker

 

Connect Four

 

Featuring

 

Lara Boyle
Wade Colbran-Thomas
Matt Crowley
Judy Hainsworth
Nick Hollamby
Julie McCoy
Erika Naddei
Ethan Samuel Jones
 

From the beginning, Connect Four is an interesting experience. The stage is stuffed with photo frames, and picture frames sit up against the walls of the stalls. It is only once the show begins that it is apparent…many of the frames are empty, perhaps as metaphors of the essential ‘any man’ nature of the interwoven stories about to be presented.

 

And there are many stories to be shared in this new musical by Alanya Bridge; each of its 16 characters is harbouring a secret.

 

Under the direction of Emily Gilhome (title of show, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal), the narrative is deliberately fragmented into four, but connected in terms of its characters’ commonality as they deal with the love and loss of everyday life.

 

The idea that we are all connected in some way is reassuring. Indeed, connection is the most cherished thing anybody can have. And a musical is the perfect platform from which to examine this. Musicals have a way of expressing emotion to which audiences can relate. The musical compositions allow us to soar with the singers, lifting us to a new height of experience. And this is what epitomises Connect Four, for it is very much a show of light and shade, as it crescendos towards a memorable ensemble finale Here We Are.

 

The talented cast does an admirable job in conveying the show’s perky to poignant moments. Connect Four asks a lot of them and they are committed to giving their all. Of particular note is the work of Matt Crowley, who, it is hard to believe, only made his stage debut early this year as Gabe Goodman in Oscar Theatre Company’s Next to Normal. His on-stage charisma and powerful vocals alone make for a memorable theatre experience.

 

As a new musical by a local composer, featuring eight local performers, there is much to be celebrated about Connect Four. Its exploration of the simultaneous humour and tragedy of contemporary human interactions engenders audience affinity and as such, it is an experience to be cherished. This one will come around again so if you won’t get to it before it closes on Saturday, be sure to watch for its return.

 

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