Toby Moffat (Director)
A foray into a dress rehearsal for the Burton and Garran Hall musical the other day to discover the musical is much like B&G food – homemade, substantial and the result of serious team work.
I arrived to the rehearsals to find the band in good form, the troupe of dancers running into tables and the producer tearing out her hair. B&G’s production of the 1934 musical Anything Goes was a bit chaotic one week out, but surely a hive of activity is definitively a good thing. Watching students scurry about under the pressure of the final week of rehearsals was an enjoyable experience, particularly with my knack for Schadenfreude. The team appear to have all that matters to pull anything off with a degree of success: 1) not enough time and 2) a plan.
Under the leadership of producer Samara Constable and director Toby Moffatt, the production team have managed to cobble together a few achievements. The principle gem in the production”s crown is the band – a good sign for a musical. Consisting of more scientists than musicians, it spins out rousing tunes and ambience under the talented instruction of John Grant.
The signing voice of Alex Norris is truly an asset and an obvious show case for “Anything Goes.” Without her gifted voice, the musical could have been lacklustre. Unfortunately, other cast members are unable to lift themselves to the same standard, however for an amateur production their efforts are impressive. Ultimately, the production’s sound is damn good, which is what everyone wants in a musical.
In terms of dancing, the enthusiasm and zeal of the performers is striking enough, offering a visually appealing affair, but we best not expect the Royal Ballet.
As this is an anniversary year of the Titanic’s sinking, one summary of the plot could be “The Titanic without the Iceberg.“ B&G has a shown great potential. Their adaptation of the shenanigans of a stowaway in love with an engaged heiress on a voyage from New York to London is a must-see for the ANU theatre community, perhaps not for its somewhat predicable plot but certainly for its execution.