‘I smile, I dress well, I look good’ – Mr Black to Queenie when she asks him what he does.
Mr Black is a raffish smoothie who does indeed look great, but smells like trouble, so when he arrives on the arm of Queenie’s frenemy Kate, we know things are about to go pear-shaped in a most spectacular way at Queenie’s party.
Queenie (Georgina Walker) and her lover Burrs (Matthew Hyde) have decided to throw the party of a lifetime, Mr Black (Andre Drysdale) arrives when it is full swing. His presence would have been scarcely noted if not for the fact that he is Kate’s (Katelin Koprivec) arm candy. Queenie and Kate are besties, but not without their jealousies. Most of the guests are too absorbed with their gin (and other substances) to pay any attention to Black, but Queenie is intrigued by him.
The setting is New York and it is the era of the flapper, when dames were dames and cocaine was easier to get than a good, stiff drink. The party consists of the couple’s show biz friends and acquaintances and begins to resemble the last days of Caligula as the night wears on.
Georgina Walker as Queenie is drawn to Black, but is busted by the jealous Burrs. Walker is fantastic as Queenie, her ethereal style a contrast to her bawdy guests. Other highlights for me were Andre Drysdale as Mr Black, he is suitably suave and charming, also notable was Victoria Zerbst as Delores. Zerbst plays the fading star with gusto, she is big on self promotion at all costs. Hot-headed Burrs was played by Matthew Hyde, he swiftly turns from affable host to jealous lover and is not to be messed with, Hyde infuses Burrs with that much menace.
SheShakespeare stalwart Prudence Holloway was without her guitar but it turns out she had no need of it with Conrad and the band on music detail. As Madelaine she looked suitably androgynous and she is smitten with brunette cutie Sally. Madelaine belted out three separate numbers with passion, turns out Holloway is not just cracking good at Shakespeare.
Yes, there were problems with the show. Most of them were sound related due to sometimes dodgy mics. Once these glitches are fixed, the show will be even better. Choreography by Madison Lee was dizzying but fantastic, a major feat with twenty cast members crowding the stage. The five chorines (Sophie Perkins, Rosalie Neumair, Victoria Luxton, Matilda Moran and Jordan Warner) did not appear to put a foot out of step, they were an energetic blur of kicking legs from start to finish. Not even the dodgy sound could damper the mood, by the end, I was definitely in the mood for a gin.
The Wild Party is presented by Little Triangle and on until 24 November, for more information and tickets see: https://www.seymourcentre.com/events/event/the-wild-party/
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C Wolfe
Creative Team: Alexander Andrews (director), Conrad Hamill (musical director), Rose McClelland (producer), Alex Mau (pianist), Madison Lee (choreography), Christopher Starnowski (stage manager).
Featuring: Georgina Walker, Matthew Hyde, Andre Drysdale, Katelin Koprivec, Jack Dawson, Victoria Zerbst, Michael Boulus, Samuel Skulthorp, Tayla Jarret, Olivier Rahmé, Emily Hart, Zach Selmes, Simon Ward, Prudence Holloway, Madeline Wighton, Victoria Luxton, Matilda Moran, Sophie Perkins, Jordan Warren and Rosalie Neumair.
above image by Clare Hawley