‘Colourful soda pop-like’ musical has fizz

ALISON, THE MUSICAL, with Sara Finestone and Reynold King. Directed by Linda-Louise Swain. (Pearson High School, tonight at 7pm and tomorrow at 2pm and 7pm)

Reviewed by Brett Adkins

EXUBERANCE, energy and flair are the trademarks of this bouncy show which provides a large, youthful troupe with a great vehicle to show off emerging talents.

It may seem strange that an 80-strong cast of 2013 teens would slide so comfortably into an era which most of their parents probably barely remember because they were too young – the Swinging Sixties – but they embrace it for all it’s worth. And what’s more, make it look quite credible.

This fizzy and colourful soda pop-like musical by Darryl Chute is a great choice for a large ensemble with plenty of breezy, easy-on-the-ear tunes, romance gone awry, humour, and, most importantly, plenty of pace in the form of the early freestyle dancing styles which became the signature of the time.

Director Linda-Louise Swain has ensured that this iconic period with all its free love expressions conveyed through fashion, hairstyles and ’60s vernacular and pop culture, is evoked on stage – particularly by excellent costuming.

Sara Finestone – as hairdresser Alison (one of two actresses in the role as there are two casts) – gives just the right touch of dizzy dilemma and determination to the character who has dreams of fame and fortune in the entertainment world.

She is backed up with uniformly solid performances from the leads – love interest Reynold King as Jeff, a delightful Bongo Peteni as Jane, Mikaela Oosthuizen as Rachael – using her comedic lines to great effect – and Pumela Sizani as Wendy, who demonstrates a terrific stage presence.

Dani Roberts is excellent as the fortune teller Nadine – especially in the rib-tickling It’s All in the Ball number – while Daniel Black as Phil and Sarah-Jessica Rose as the nightclub entertainer show off impressive vocal abilities.

Indeed, apart from a forgivable off-key note here and there, the singing standard is to be commended.

The song list is an eclectic mix of love ballads and foot-stomping dance numbers which are framed by the free-flow choreography of Jerry Fortuin and the talents of a highly accomplished band under the direction of Petrus Meyer.

A great musical theatre outing – especially if you’re feeling in a nicely retro mood!

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