GET YOUR FREAK ON – A Review by Michael Allen

Devonport Choral Society deliver with new musical Freaky Friday.

It would be easy, maybe even prudent, to produce a family favourite crowd pleaser in the current times. Bums on seats, audiences humming along and all that. DCS and Director, Maree Brodzinski, are to be congratulated on taking a risk with the unfamiliar Freaky Friday. The buzzing atmosphere and spontaneous applause amongst the crowd on Thursday night suggests the Company will be rewarded with the audience they deserve when word of mouth gets around.

The show is based on the various cinematic iterations of the same name. The basic premise of the mother/daughter magical body swap facilitates the ensuing tale of generation gaps, walking in someone else’s shoes, losing loved ones, finding others and the value of family. I laughed (a lot) and came close to tears (a little) which is how I like my theatrical experiences.

I have some reservations about a couple of the musical numbers having a saminess about them and some potentially questionable lyrics. However, most of the songs are cleverly constructed to further plot or character development and are highly entertaining. Likewise the cast were not immune to the occasional vocal or physical stumble and a couple of the character accents were…interesting. These are minor quibbles but it would be disingenuous of me to omit them.

What was delightful to see was the commitment, focus and generosity of an ensemble ranging from the very young (Zeb Peters, making an impressive debut) to the more seasoned performers (names withheld at the request of the actors!) They are superbly led by Alana Lane and Natalie Gaffney playing mother and daughter (Katherine and Ellie Blake). Triple threats doubled! They own the stage, both equally adept in the comic and dramatic moments, beautiful voices and impressive physical actors. They immediately established character and then swiftly presented a believable and sustained transformation…bravo. Billy Hawkins (Mike), Elizabeth Sly (Torrey), Campbell Mayberry (Adam) and Elizabeth Jolly (Savannah) are all terrific in supporting roles.

Brodzinski’s direction is clear and guides the audience’s focus throughout. The choreography by Dana Sallese, ably supported by daughter, Gabriella, is an entertaining blend of funky and funny. Set design (Jennifer Slater and Belinda Gunston) is deceptively simple but highly effective, allowing for smooth scene changes and conveying time and place. An obviously experienced and talented band delivers a near flawless performance under the direction of Petrina Jahnz.

Get your freak on and support this fabulous crew.

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