By Sam Barson
Have you ever felt like technology was taking over too much of your life? Perhaps you couldn’t get out of bed without scrolling through Facebook or you found yourself cancelling too many social events to cram in those extra few episodes on Netflix?
What if technology was stealing the girl of your dreams?
This is exactly what happens to Miles, the protagonist of Drew Lane’s original musical, Electric Dreams.
Electric Dreams is based on Rusty Lemonade’s 1984 movie musical of the same name. It tells the story of Miles and his wild love triangle with the sweet girl-next-door, Madeleine, and his new computer, Edgar.
This complex and confusing romance plays out amongst the most delightful collection of 80’s showtunes, all originally written by the creator and writer of the show, Drew Lane.
Lane has achieved something spectacular with this show, allowing the audience to feel like each musical number is another favourite song of theirs from the 80’s, but at the same time injecting them with such exciting and fresh originality. If only the soundtrack was coming to Spotify!
The cast who brought Lane’s songs and words to life were nothing short of impressive. They really brought home the concept of “no weak link”. Tom Green as leading man Miles was perfectly bumbly, awkward and nerdy. But the moments he impressed most was when he took serious dominance of the stage with bravado and poise as he begun to take back control of his life with a series of punchy and heartfelt ballads. His love interest, Madeleine, was played beautifully by Madeleine Featherby. With the help of Lane’s writing she completely kicked the all foo familiar girl-next-door cliches aside. She was strong and confident and had the most captivating voice to match. Angela Scundi and Stephen Mahy were the ultimate scene stealers as Millie and Miles’, both exuding immense amounts of charm and charisma in every moment they entered. The number they shared about succumbing to seduction was the highlight of the show.
Special mention must be made to Owen James who voiced Miles’ computer, Edgar. James was never physically seen as Edgar, and so the amount of comedy and pathos he was able to bring to the show from behind the curtains was so incredibly impressive.
The ensemble was strongly rounded out by Sophie Loughran, Zak Brown, Anthony Scundi, Courtney Smyth and Aidan Niarros.
Every single cast member was so unique to the next, all expressing such different energies and approaches to their characters. Director Roman Berry expertly utilised this diverse cast and ensured none of them were wasted in any single moment of the musical. If only all casts could be this engaging, multi-faceted and equal footed.
Despite how brilliant the cast was, it can’t be denied that the true standouts of the show was Lachie McFarlane‘s set and lighting design. The combination of simple and mobile set pieces on the floor, mixed with the most clever of lighting and multimedia displays behind the action was pure brilliance. Having the title of the show flashing in neon lights above everything was a special touch also.
Music Theatre Melbourne’s Electric Dreams is just the ultimate good time. It’s catchy show tunes and memorable characters made for one of the funnest nights I’ve had at the theatre all year.
Electric Dreams is playing at Gasworks Arts Park from 20-24th November. Tickets can be purchased online at www.gasworks.org.au or by calling the box office on 03 8606 4299.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.