Tension is found everywhere in bare The Musical: between the characters’ – school-age children on the cusp of college – inner lives and societal expectations; between differing meanings of faith and malleability of love; between the story’s near-quaint simplistic beats that hold little dramatic weight and persisting issues of acceptance and suicide. It’s a show of oppositions, attempting to balance old tropes with modern sensibilities – wanting to ‘bury its gays’ and eat it too.
Credit to Finn Alexander playing Jason, who isn’t afraid to embrace Jason’s ugly side, even as it peaks in his final declaration of love to Peter. Adam Di Martino gave an engaging performance as Peter, capturing well – among the stylised moments and musical hijinks – those first proper steps out of childhood.
As the show went on, Hannah McInerney was tremendous as Ivy, her last few songs capturing perfectly the sound of a breaking heart. Stephanie Marion Wood was terrific as Kyra, as was the students’ teacher, Chantelle, played by Vanessa Menjivar. While some of the ‘kids’ are the heart of the play, Chantelle, is the compass – a role Vanessa performed splendidly.
Director Dean Drieberg has taken a moderate script and, through exceptional performances and staging, lifted it to become something touching, fun, and entertaining.
bare The Musical
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Thursday 22 March 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 15 April 2018
For more information, visit: www.stageart.com.au for details.
Image: Jake Fehily, Quin Kelly, Adam Di Martino and Cast in bare The Musical – photo by Belinda Strodder
Review: David Collins