Arts Theatre, Wed 5 Oct.
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of SA present a thoroughly polished production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, although this is much later in a season than a reviewer would normally attend, due to cancelled performances following the Adelaide storms, given the professionalism of the cast, crew and production team, this production probably could have been ready weeks ago.
Thoroughly Modern Millie is both an enjoyable show for an audience and performers on stage, with a traditional musical love story, a few hilarious twists, fantastic joyful music and lots of opportunities for big ensemble dance numbers. Set in 1922, it follows small town gal Millie Dillmount from Kansas starting a new life in New York City with plans to find a job and marry her boss. Love will hopefully come later. The comedy comes from Mrs Meers – leader of a secret white slavery operation at Hotel Priscilla where Millie and her single flapper friends are staying.
Alana Shepherdson commanded the role of Millie in this production from the very beginning. She connected with every other character comfortably, shone at the appropriate moments and sung boldly. As Millie’s new rich Californian friend Miss Dorothy, Emily Wood was perfect with a beautiful voice and wonderfully played innocence. All the flapper girls were suitably brash and engaging on stage.
As the love interest Jimmy, Mitchell Smith sung, danced and immersed himself in the role brilliantly, even if he did look fairly young for the role. Pam O’Grady was excellent as the sinister and politically incorrect Mrs Meers and was complemented well by Harry Nguyen and Paulo Nacianceno as Ching Ho and Bun Foo. Adding to the comedy was Samantha Francis as the wonderfully fabulous Muzzy, Nadine Wood as Miss Flannery and Buddy Dawson as Trevor Graydon III, who was hilarious with Emily Wood in Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life.
The big ensemble numbers like Forget About The Boy and The Speed Test were the highlights of the show with compelling choreography from Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti and satisfyingly robust sound from both the orchestra and large chorus. Only In New York seemed to be missing that extra pizzazz that was coming through in the rest of the show though.
The design and execution of the projections, set and costumes were all seamless tonight. A joyous show, delivered in style.
Thoroughly Modern Millie continues at Arts Theatre, at various times, until Sat 8 Oct.
Tickets at gandssa.com.au and 8447 2739 or at BASS. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of David Haddy