The WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) third year musical theatre students last night opened the year with a winner; Xanadu.
Based on the Universal Pictures film by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel and staring Olivia Newton John, this production is Camp Musical Comedy at its best.
Xanadu tells the tale of muse Clio, who descends from Mount Olympus and lands in Venice Beach in order to help stuggling Californian artist Sonny Malone achieve his artistic dream of opening a roller disco! But when Clio, disguised as an Australian roller girl named Kira, falls into forbidden love with the moral Sonny, she risks eternal banishment to the underworld as her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation.
Ben Hall, as Sonny Malone provides some of the comic relief, in his portrayal of the half-witted American artist. Emily Langridge plays Kira and is required to sing, dance and rollerskate around fellow cast members (and sets) for the majority of the show, and does so while still managing to maintain a commanding presence on stage.
Fellow cast members Diana Perini as Melpomene and Robert Mallett as Danny McGuire command attention. Dianna’s version of Evil Woman (complete with backing angel dancers red wings) and her comic timing throughout the performance are dynamite. Robert’s portrayal of the aging Danny – the old man who has missed his chance to create something wonderfully artistic with the love of his life – is convincing and strong.
[pull_left]Xanadu is a fun musical comedy full of outstanding performances, performed by one very talented group of students. Do yourself a favour and book your tickets now, before it’s sold out.[/pull_left]
James Traille, Georgina Walker, Karla Tonkich, Benjamin Gillespie and Kerrie Anne Greenland add hilarity to an already funny production as they ham it up prancing around the stage in high cut ancient toga style costumes playing Kira’s other five sisters.
The set, designed by Sophie Fletcher, is amazing. A revolving stage rotates to reveal the band lead by Musical Director David King , Ronan Chapple on synthesizer, Ethan Darnell on drums and Jason Venebles on Guitar. Sets fly in and out without distracting from the performance and at times add to the comic element of the show. By the end of the show the stage looks like a float from Mardi Gras with over fifty mirror balls, flashing lights and a stage awash with glitter, lycra and colour.
The costumes, designed by Sheridan Elphick, are another highlight in the show. True to the era they also work to add to the comic element. Ancient Greek outfits, be-devilled backing dancers with red feathered wings, puff sleeves, glitter and a rock and roll lead singer, dressed in a silver Frank-n-Furter style outfit, were just a few of the highlights.
There are so many great song and dance numbers in the show choreographed by Jenny Lynnd. It would be difficult to choose a favourite moment, but between the dancing angels, a number with umbrellas and a flashback dance sequence between Kira and a young Danny (Ainsley Melham) do stand out as highlights. And lets not forget the finale with all cast members on roller skates!
Xanadu is a fun musical comedy full of outstanding performances, performed by one very talented group of students. Do yourself a favour and book your tickets now, before it’s sold out.