Come look at the Freaks.
From the moment the ensemble of Side Show step on stage, one cannot help but be 'wowed' by the spectacle of what is being presented in front of them. The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props...Buffalo Bill's head would have exploded if he saw this production.
Side Show tells the tale of Daisy and Violet Hilton - two real life sisters conjoined at the hip who performed in side shows, vaudeville and film through the early 1900s. The musical bears a striking resemblance to the recent film 'The Greatest Showman' but with far less poptastic cookie cutter songwriting. The story begins with the audience being thrust into a gritty freak show that explodes with all kinds of oddities and fascinations, beautifully interpreted by Director Nick Kong and Costume designer Jodi Hope.
Kong has shaped the show in a way that strips away the smoke and mirrors of what really makes these performers 'Freaks', giving the show a raw and gritty edge and a whole lotta heart. When looking at the cast it is difficult to pick out single members because they are presented so strongly as an ensemble; a package deal.
At the head of the show, Rosa McCarty and Amy Larsen play Daisy and Violet Hilton. The two women begin the show as one solid unit. As the show progresses and their wants and desires start to split, the difference between them begins to really 'seperate' them as actresses as well. Both equipped with effortless vocals, these two women are solid protagonists.
Stephen McMahon, Will Hanley and Robert Clarke are perfectly cast as Terry, Buddy and Jake. The three men possess outstanding vocals, give very grounded and convincing interpretations of their characters and my word, can Hanley dance. Patt Ryan dominates his scenes as Sir with his colossal presence, Sarah Kate Hanley gives an unmatched level of caricature in her role as Auntie, and the entire ensemble of 'freaks' showcase what they're made of in the stand-out number of the evening 'The Devil You Know'.
The band - conducted by maestro Daniel Heskett is a tight cohort with a thick sound. The set - designed by Kong and exquisitely painted by Stuart Dodge is the perfect accompaniment to the overall vision of this production. Lighting for the most part is good and sound by LSS (as always) is flawless.
This show really is unlike anything else you're likely to see outside of an actual circus tent, and even then, you won't see anything quite as remarkable as the design of this ensemble. Congratulations to Williamstown Musical Theatre Company and all involved.
Tickets: http://www.wmtc.org.au or 1300 881 545
Friday 9 November at 8pm Saturday 10 November at 8pm Sunday 11 November at 2pm Thursday 15 November at 8pm Friday 16 November at 8pm Saturday 17 November at 5pm
Photo Credit: Gavin D. Andrew