Inspired by the short story by Nikolai Gogol, the Costi family have reinvented the tale, added a jazz soundtrack and given audiences a wonderfully absurd look at Nikolai’s dream: staying warm and staying stylish, while gaining the respect of peers. Of course this is a gross simplification of the Russian story which has many different interpretations, depending on your politics.
The life of the pitiful Nikolai (Akaky in the original) is heart wrenching stuff, his battles never ending. When he agrees to buy a new coat from the extortionate tailor Petrovich, his awkwardness seems destined to be a thing of the past, as the coat is so spectacular it infuses sad sack Nikolai with a certain charm. After debuting the coat he becomes suddenly popular with his co-workers, the coat is such a success.
Wu plays the Russian’s abject misery to perfection, but it is when he gets his new coat that he really shines, and turns the occasion into a Project Runway triumph.
A superbly timed play with an incredible cast who bring the skaz (oral) style into sharp relief, Overcoat The Musical was quirky in the extreme, and as much of a triumph for the family Costi as the coat was for Nikolai.
The Overcoat is on until 1 December, for more information and tickets see: https://belvoir.com.au/25a/the-overcoat/
Featuring: Laura Bunting, Kate Cheel, Aaron Tsindos and Charles Wu
Band: Sarah Evans, Josh Willard and Tate Sheridan