Based on Stephen King’s horror novel and 1976 film, Carrie The Musical has made its blood-soaked Brisbane debut, presented by Wax Lyrical Productions and the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Comparing it to the other twisted teenage revenge musical adaptation, which recently opened at QPAC, Heathers The Musical (which was also brilliant by the way); Carrie The Musical is even more dark and horrific. There’s not even black comedy to lighten the mood of this intense theatrical experience. The horror coming of age story explores teenage bullying, powerfully mixed with fundamentalist religion.The Broadway musical adaptation by Academy Award winning team Dean Pitchford (Footloose, Fame), Michael Gore (Fame), and original writer Lawrence D. Cohen, the musical has had a checkered past and flopped when it first debuted 27 years ago. It opened on Broadway in 1988, and famously closed after five performances.
Directed and superbly cast by Zoë Tuffin, her vision has done much to make this once shunned musical, an insanely impressive rendering.
In the title role, Sophie Perkins was phenomenal. From her submissive, angst ridden physical choices to her impassioned solos, supported by strong vocals, she embodied Carrie with an incredible depth. She deserved every bit of the standing ovation I partook in.
Georgina Hopson as Sue Snell and Alex Woodward as Tommy Ross, played the cool kids with a conscience exquisitely well. Their chemistry was palpable and easy to watch.
Tori Bailey as super-bitch Chris Hergensen was on-point, as was Chloe-Rose Taylor as the caring teacher Miss Gardner.
Jacqui Devereux as Carrie’s mother gave an intense, convincing performance, with her rich vocals filling the room. She was a truly terrifying woman, inflicting both emotional and physical abuse on the child she ‘loves’ in the name of religion. A comment on the dysfunction that fundamentalist religion can cause, this abusive relationship between the two was disturbing to watch.
In fact, the vocals of the entire ensemble (largely Griffith University Musical Theatre graduates), were impressively assaulting. Their energy and talent matched the intense score and style of the production.
The set design was effectively simple for this low budget production. The work of this creative team is testament to the fact that low budget does not have to mean low quality. The musical direction (Dominic Woodhead), lighting (Jason Glenwright), and sound (Ben Murray), were spot-on.
On a more personal note, for a person who can’t sit through a horror film, I was blown away by the talent onstage and was deeply moved by the terror of teenage angst, and spent many moments throughout shedding a tear of empathy for poor Carrie. An unexpected reaction from an audience member perhaps, but having a pre-pubescent niece who experienced bullying in primary school, and is about to start high school this week, the themes are very real and relevant.
Carrie The Musical played at the Visy Theatre in the Brisbane Powerhouse.