By Charlotte Robertson
Reprise Theatre Company’s inaugural production Tales of Foveaux is a charming and delightful cabaret with an array of magical musical moments. The production features an ensemble of ex-students and alumni from the Australian Institute of Music’s Bachelor of Music (Music Theatre) course. It creatively paints a picture of determined young performers’ special journeys, dreaming big in such a harsh industry, through their own self devised work and a variety of well chosen songs.
I Will Be Me by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond was a great opening number with highly impressive vocals – I knew that I was in for a treat! The ensemble sat around when others were performing in a formation which looked as though they were in an audition waiting room, interacting with each other and reacting to those who took centre stage. This staging helped evoke a sense of togetherness and a shared experience in the Sydney music theatre landscape, ensuring that transitions were smooth and seemingly effortless. However, it should be noted that each performer offers their own unique insight through original self devised and group devised pieces which string together and introduce the songs with ease. They are powerful in exploring the poignant personal stories of the cast, their experiences at AIM and endeavours in the industry. The content of the show brilliantly grapples with ideas of hope, passion, identity, competition, nerves, sacrifice, rejection, unfair beauty standards and performing as a form of escape. It was clear that musical theatre comrades in the audience found it relatable and undoubtedly relevant.
Tales of Foveaux pays homage to famous musicals in a clever and amusing way, my favourite example being when Cassandra Leigh Maguire, Zach Selmes and Jake Tyler appropriated Stephen Sondheim’s Franklin Shephard, Inc. (from Merrily We Roll Along) into an Australian political context. This was definitely a highlight for me as they all had excellent comedic timing and Selmes commanded the stage with exquisite tenacity.
Kayla French’s choreography is simple yet effective particularly in They Just Keep Moving The Line from Smash. 12 Bad Auditions, written by Andrew Byrne, was a hoot and an audience favourite as it mockingly sheds light on the brutal reality of the musical theatre industry ironically in the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas. Standout songs include Finishing the Hat from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George which was beautifully performed by Jake Tyler and Levi Burrows’ strong rendition of Wondering from Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County. Elizabeth Evans should be praised on her performance throughout for she has an impeccable voice and her dancing was commendable and memorable. Cassandra Leigh Maguire and Jasmine Sands competently graced us with their compelling stage presence and stunning vocals.
Maddison Maie Epthorp’s directorial debut is taut and admirable. It is evident that she has put her heart and soul into this production. Well done to music director Zach Goldfinch as the band skillfully performed with enchanting flair.
The vibrancy and energy from the cast captivated the audience for most of the performance although it slightly diminished towards the end unfortunately. Nevertheless, Reprise Theatre Company’s Tales of Foveaux wonderfully illustrates the importance of always rallying in support of young and talented emerging artists and storytellers, paving their way in the arts.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.