Review by Nicole Sirtes
What a privilege it was to jump on board and be part of the incandescent evening that was the opening night of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Hayes Theatre Sydney. This little theatre is easily one of my favourites and this show is a perfect reminder as to why.
I’ll begin by saying nowhere in the world would you find a cast of a higher standard with the standout being Georgina Hopson playing Lorelei Lee who is simply captivating. Her jaw dropping performance of Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend had the audience cheering on its feet with her incredible range, talent and super star power. The wonder that is this 10 minute performance is, is worth the price of the ticket alone. We are lucky to have this caliber of talent available to us to enjoy and marvel at. Georgina Hopson is a name that all should know - she deserves to be on Broadway - what an outstanding talent!
Together with Emily Havea playing Dorothy Shaw, these ladies make for a terrific duo, leading this cast and show along a two hour ride of sheer camp fun, laughter and joy, the pace of which does not let up and cements again what the Hayes does well - showcase raw musical theatre talent without the hype. Havea too is a fantastic talent and continues to prove the diversity of her skill - it seems she can take on any character in any style of show!
I was at first a little flummoxed by Thomas Kantor’s characterisation of Gus Edmond Jr which was a little over played, but this character really came into its own later in the show as Kantor became more confident in his performance.
A special mention to the musical director Victoria Falconer, who shines throughout and brings in the second half with some terrifically fun audience interaction that had us all bonding, laughing and cheering. Falconer continues to surprise and delight Sydney audiences with her unique approach to MDing - she makes the music come to life. A truly special talent.
Each performer makes his or her own mark with fabulous singing that was captivating even with older style numbers. The choreography by Sally Dashwood is well done, with the prize going to Leah Lim who plays dual roles in the show but absolutely slays it with her dance solo in the second half.
Dan Potra's set is clever with the band set out visibly on stage above the action, adding a further dimension to the experience. The Hayes is one of the most wonderfully transformative spaces in Sydney and it is a delight every time to see how the world will emerge on this small Elizabeth Bay based stage. Potra has much to be proud of. So too does the band - made up of Nathan Barraclough, Victoria Falconer, Amanda Jenkins, Abi McCunn and Jarrad Payne, they are excellent.
Richard Carroll directs and yes, he has done it again. Simply, his work is consistently excellent.
This show is utterly joyous with talent, heart, energy, humour and passion. The opening night audience loved it with a passion and I think this fabulous vibe will continue throughout the run. Go and see it - it really hits the mark.
Image Credit: John Mccrae