Darling, you must see it.
In the words of director, Noel Anderson, “An Australian musical is a rare beast, especially one written with original music.” In my opinion, this home grown performance needs a national tour, it is time to let the beast out of Melbourne!
A modern Australian love story: entwined with the elegance of Audrey Hepburn and the stars of her time; contrasted with a humerous Australian girl’s story and set on Melbourne’s Brighton Beach; Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets is divinely funny.
Liz O’Sullivan (Kelly Cupo), the girl from Glenhuntly who works in a shoe store three days a week, is feeling under pressure from her over protective family and when her boyfriend Len (Benjamin James) proposes to her, the voices in Liz’s head become louder and are made clear to her family and she is forced in to therapy.
Liz questions her self, her sexuality, and what she wants. She looks to Audrey in each moment of her life, comparing the success of her idol to herself. Audrey tries to explain to Liz that she just accepted life unconditionally but Liz can’t hear her version of Audrey’s voice in her own head above the rest of the chatter from her family. Eventually, after a hilarious love triangle, many dates with boys and many shoes tried on, she finally finds a pair of soft heels to rest her feet in. “There’s no place like home,” Liz chants as she faces self acceptance.
The Melba Spiegeltent’s mirrors reflect the beauty of the characters as they perform on stage and from the other spaces within the tent; Audrey’s tiara and earrings glitter from the crowd every so often as she coaches Liz, “I believe in pink.” Along side the eight performers are a four-piece band and a choir featuring members of the Grace Notes Singers.
It makes such a positive impact to have a live performance within the musical, the band covers sound affects, mood swings, and a nice upbeat in the funny moments. It is classy and elegant, just like the times of Audrey with the help of brass. The set design, the iconic beach shacks on Brighton Beach, contrast Hollywood’s elegance with Aussie culture represented by Liz’s family and make way for an old school picture of the Australia dream under conflict by historic Hollywood jazz and modern Australian discord (excuse the pun).
This cast holds true musical and acting talent, I admire their dedication to characters, their relaxed and confident stage presence and ability to make eye contact with the audience of the intimate Melba Spiegeltent. The gentlemen held their positions well against the on stage pink glory! Benjamin James who played Len was engaging throughout the entire performance. Kelly Cupo who played Liz really held the stage with demand, a strong actor. I was however, awestruck at Hester Van Der Vyver’s performance, she portrayed Audrey Hepburn with such delicacy, even I began to fantasise about the Hollywood life!
Props were great, catching for the eye and relevant to the show. I particularly liked how Liz’s white shoes were placed heels-up in the beach box towards the end, much like the wicked witch’s red shoes stuck under the house, good riddance to the old and confused Liz!
I believe that this musical is successful because it cleverly and evenly combines the motions of the Australian Dream and Hollywood fame by drawing on the classic films we grew up loving. By placing the Aussie battler in their shoes; it reflects how Hollywood is the canvas we portray our selves on in our mind compared to the down to earth Aussie life. When I was in Los Angeles earlier on this year, our tour guide informed us that Hollywood actors were masterly named stars, because they were too high to reach, much like the original Australian Dream. You must adapt it, darling. Accept life unconditionally.
There are only two more performances left, so slip in to something nice and head down to “Hollywood in Collingwood”, darlings.
Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets was written by Gayelene Carbis based on her original play; Co-written and adapted by Noel Anderson, Geoff Main and Cerise De Gelder; Music & Lyrics Geoff Main, additional lyrics by Cerise De Gelder. Produced by Harlequin Ink Pty Ltd.
Media Contact: Tracy Routledge 0412 223 221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Noel Anderson. Musical Director: John Grant . Set Design: John Wonnacott . Choreographer: Caroline Hawke Costumes: Lauren Ritchie. Cast: Kelly Cupo (Liz), Hester Van Der Vyver (Audrey), Paul Dawber (Dad), Nadia Andary (Mum), Mitch Ralston, (Rod the therapist), James AO (Emad the ex-boyfriend), Caroline Hawke (Caroline, Dad’s new wife), Benjamin James (Len the current boyfriend). Band: The Real Man Band . Choir: Members of the Grace Notes Singers.
Dates: Six performances from 29 October to 7 November Location: Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St Collingwood Tickets: $35 to $55 – group discounts apply Information & bookings: http://www.audreypopmusical.com
Review by Tracie Pascoe-Lark