Hayes Theatre, Potts Point.

January 8 to January 11, 2020.

Director Shaun Rennie
Choreographer Cameron Mitchell
Musical Director Chris King

Love, love, loved this!

With just one day’s rehearsals, this was a knockout show. You hardly noticed those nifty little spiral bound A5 scripts. Many of the cast hardly looked at them at all – particularly star of the show Stefanie Caccamo as Irene. What a beautiful, sensitive, spot on performance as the feisty young Irishwoman who dares to dream.

I saw Irene when I was a girl and all the songs came back to me – ‘The World must be bigger than an Avenue’, ‘We’re getting away with it’, ‘I’m always Chasing Rainbows’. Wow! Music by Harry Tierney – I looked him up and must say I’m not really familiar with any of his other musicals. But Irene was and is a beauty! And, as director Shaun Rennie pointed out in his little introduction, it was the longest running Broadway musical of its time (1919). I did miss If Only He Knew that Julie Anthony sang so hauntingly in the original Oz version in 1974…

With the marvellous Nancye Hayes as Irene’s matter-of-fact mother and Mandy Bishop as a riotous Mrs Marshall, the cast shone. The girls from 9th Avenue were fab – Ashleigh Rubenach and Ayesha Madon as Irene’s pals Jane and Helen and the boys worked beautifully as an ensemble: Rob Johnson, Connor Neylon and Axel Duffy. ‘The Great Lover Tango’ with Rob Mallett as the Stuffed Shirt Donald Marshall III was hilarious and I also loved that quirky little ‘The Riviera Rage’.

See this if you can!

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