No treat for audiences at the Halloween opening night of More Sex Please…We’re Seniors, just a show that is over-long, under-rehearsed and generally free from the charm and wit that make musical theatre the great pleasure that it usually is.
Though it may be full of jokes that are practically older than the characters, John-Michael Howson’s script at least provides a few laughs along the way. Slow though the pacing may be during scenes, action really grinds to a halt during the songs. The score features a smattering of familiar tunes along with composer/arranger Peter Sullivan’s original songs, but they generally all sound the same with the very basic, very slow muzak-lite backing track. (Sullivan adds to the music on piano). While Alana Scanlan’s bare bones choreography is suited to the performers, it is as humourless as the lyrics of the songs.
Pip Mushin’s direction has everyone facing the front and speaking slowly and loudly. This may be a boon for the hearing aid set but does nothing for the regular theatregoer attuned to at least a smidgeon of subtlety and subtext.
Adam Gardnir’s set and costume designs are a clear feature of the production. The large, spacious set looks fresh and appealing, and has several clever breakout zones for additional scenes. Costumes are equally attractive, and help to clearly delineate the characters of the two couples.
Jane Clifton, so terrific recently in Barassi, comes off best here, making the best of the limited material to create a broad character we all recognise. Tracy Harvey plays Tracy Harvey, with a slight attempt to come across a bit older.
Mark Mitchell, who at least lands some physical comedy, starts with a bit of twinkle in his eye but it fades as the evening progresses. Michael Veitch appears to be incapable of even the simplest material.
Any good will remaining towards the generally likeable cast dissipates halfway thorugh act two when the audience are forced to sing and perform the actions to a song about prostate examinations set to the tune of “Hokey Pokey.”
Matthew Quartermaine plays Dogsbody, an unfortunate handyman who covers costume changes with an attempt at some physical comedy, played silent movie style as mime to piano accompaniment.
Pay the extra and see the fabulous farce playing across the road.
Photos: Jeff Busby
Categories: Mini Review