As theatres across the globe emerge from the darkness of the last fifteen months, it is quite fitting that Spears Entertainment presents The Music of the Night – The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber at Chapel Off Chapel for a limited season.
Featuring songs from fourteen of his shows, this ninety-minute intimate showcase, under the direction of Theresa Borg and musical director Stephen Gray, highlighted many audience favourites coupled with a few rare gems from ALW songbook.
Songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Tell Me on a Sunday, Cats, Song and Dance, Starlight Express, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind, By Jeeves, Love Never Dies and The Wizard of Oz were all featured.
Borg’s exquisite no nonsense direction, ably assisted by Celina Yuen, allowed each of performers to tell a story through song. Gray and his four-piece band, John Clark (drums), Gary Norman (guitars) and Nathan Post (bass) provided the perfect accompaniment, breathing new life into well-known musical arrangements.
Harrie Hogan’s lighting design of richly textured pallettes combined with dramatic side and back lighting enhanced the mood of each song, while Jack Scandrett’s sound was well-balanced and finely-tuned allowing individual and ensemble harmonies to shine.
A show like The Music of the Night all comes down to its cast. Bianca Bruce, Andy Conaghan, Madison Green, Genevieve Kingsford, Cherine Peck, Christopher Scalzo, Caitlin Spears, Tod Strike and Raphael Wong were simply the best. From individual renditions through to full ensemble numbers, the interplay between each-other was warm and genuine – which was not lost on the audience.
A few surprises were thrown in for good measure including Grays musical mash-up of I Don’t Know How To Love Him and Tell me on a Sunday featuring a vocal sextet; and Wong equally at home on the cello before breaking into a richly timbered rendition of The Music of Night – which appropriately opened the show, setting the standard of the stellar talent to come throughout the evening.
Debra Byrne is considered one of Australia’s musical greats and leading ladies of the stage, having performed a number of iconic roles from the musical theatre canon.
In The Music of the Night, the audience were treated to two such numbers, her mesmerising With One Look from Sunset Boulevard, and Memory from Cats. Two distinctly, yet exquisite performances.
Later, Byrne joining the cast for the finale in No Matter What (Whistle Down The Wind) – a fitting end to an exceptional evening of song.
The Music of the Night – The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Thursday 13 May 2021
Season continues to 16 May 2021
For more information, visit: www.spearsentertainment.com.au for details.
Images: The Cast of The Music of the Night (1 & 2) / Debra Byrne – all photos by Ben Fon
Review: Rohan Shearn