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August 21, 2017 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

M’Lady — Cassandra Tse

If you’re interested in musicals, comedy, and a bit of gender political fun, I’d encourage you to give M’Lady — A Meninist Musical a whirl.  

In the briefest of summaries, we follow the story of Elliot (played by the beautiful Aimee Smith) who is struggling to win the heart of his fair Freda. G (Jayne Grace), an endearingly clumsy “pick up artist”, aims to transform him into a ladies’ man.

Each of the male archetypes in M’Lady are portrayed in outrageous extremities. Most of the humour lies in the audience’s understanding of these archetypes combined with the script’s clever integration of referential jokes and modern one liners.

The actors were amazing: Aimee Smith with her dynamic singing voice; Jayne Grace’s natural ability for comic timing; and Marysia Collins and Greer Phillips as ensemble characters filled the space with their movement. Freya van Alphen Fyfe seemed so familiar with her character I wouldn’t be surprised if she was Adrian in real life. Real props go to Karen Anslow and her performance of Al and Nemesis. While Anslow’s characters were designed to be larger than life, she managed to steer them to serve the work of the satire, playing less into the farce of the situation while still being genuinely funny.

The set looked extremely cool. A highlight for me was walking in and staring at all these crazy posters. Looking up and seeing the energy drink chandelier gave me an incredible thrill. But as dynamic as the aesthetic was, the overall design did fit well in the space, and set pieces had to be stored side stage in full view of the audience. Because of this the vibrant choreography also suffered, making it seem under rehearsed.

The music itself was incredible and made the production feel professional. A duet between Elliot and Al was a brilliant example of how the music dominated the tone of the show. The lyrics were well written and created an earnest hilarity which matched the script’s impeccable timing. Unfortunately, the actors ought to have been miked I was sitting in the front row and could hardly hear some of the songs and I found I was losing interest in some of these moments.  

But the real star of the show was the script. The dialogue was smooth, natural, and hysterical. The structure was refreshing, breaking the boundaries enough to keep us engaged. What the production tackles is extremely ambitious, and to be able to pull it off with the resources available is a testament to how strong the script itself is. I can easily see this show on both bigger and smaller stages. Red Scare Theatre Company have managed to create a rare thing: a brilliant multidisciplinary musical accessible to all budgets.


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