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REVIEW: ‘Broadway Your Way’ by VOX Theatre Arts

I recently had the pleasure of attending "Broadway Your Way" by VOX Theatre Arts at Nosferatu Distillery. It was a delightful and lively evening filled with laughter, impressive vocal performances, and creative character interpretations. Despite a few technical hiccups with the mics (common on any opening night), the cast handled it like pros, never letting it faze them. The theme of the show, "The Roles We'll Never Play," was brought to life with creativity and flair, giving local performers the chance to step into roles they might not typically be cast in. It was a truly memorable evening that highlighted the amazing amateur talent in our community.

Antoni Torrisi's portrayal of William Shakespeare, alongside their cheeky entourage, kicked off the show with the eccentric Hard to Be the Bard. Lisa Alsop brought the house down with her performance of All I Care About is Love; surrounded by her fabulous burlesque girls as she commanded the stage with both her presence and vocal talent. Will Chen infused charm and wit into his renditions of Candy Store and Defying Gravity, putting his unique spin on these fan-favourite numbers. Michael Enright’s powerful vocals in Santa Fe were breathtaking, truly doing justice to this beloved number. Skye Shultz delivered a stirring performance as Rizzo in There Are Worse Things I Could Do, beautifully executing one of my most-loved musical theatre numbers.

Rhys Schwarten's rendition of You'll Be Back was wonderfully unserious with their rich vocals and comical characterisation. Mark Mirhan's performance of Ado Annie's Can't Say No radiated energy and passion, even amidst tough mic challenges. Roselie Chase as Matilda in Quiet was a mesmerising interpretation that captured the innocence and depth of the young character. Clare Thompson’s solo as the gender-bent Chip in My Unfortunate Erection had everyone in stitches - she definitely has a knack for comedy!

The playful and passionate duet Agony by Connie Acevedo Burckhardt and Emma Parkinson was a favourite, with the pair dressed in princess costumes to add a whimsical touch. The energy of Hello from Book of Mormon was infectious, with clever use of everyone’s own favourite books as props. James Hogan's take on Sally Bowles in Don't Tell Mama was a total crowd favourite - with exceptional ensemble work and dynamic choreography to support his portrayal of this famous character. Hannah McNamara and Eloise Newman’s duet Amazing from Muriel’s Wedding was an inspired addition - the volume issues were sorted out by then, so their voices blended stunningly with the music and each other.

The group numbers provided moments of beautiful harmonies and energy, including the Jersey Boys medley and Morning Glow from Pippin. And I can’t forget the electric performance of Cell Block Tango, complete with fabulous costumes, intricate choreography, and intense character portrayals by all. But the final group number, La Vie Boheme, was the perfect way to bring the performance to a satisfying close.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the show was how the performers injected their own personalities into their roles. They threw in some improv and personal touches that kept us entertained and chuckling throughout. The three acts did make the show feel a bit lengthy, but I do understand the desire to give each performer their moment to shine.

Of course, there were some challenges too, but the performers managed to turn obstacles into opportunities for spontaneity and charm. I really enjoyed the fresh and fun song choices, some of which I have never heard performed live before. While there were some songs that are particularly hard to execute and moments where the keys didn't quite match the singers' voices, I think the cast really rose to the occasion and gave it their all. It was clear that they put in a lot of effort to make their characters unique and memorable. I do think that maybe transposing the songs to better suit the performers' vocal ranges could have allowed them to showcase their talents even more effectively. It's important to keep in mind that adrenaline can impact vocal performance, affecting both the lower and higher ends of a singer’s range.

The venue did feel a bit cramped at times, and the sound of food buzzers was a bit of a distraction. Props to the team for working with what they had in terms of acoustics and lighting in this space. The cast, while all super talented, was quite large for the venue, and it would have been nice for them to have a more private space for costume changes. However, being in the cosy setting of Nosferatu Distillery gave the performance a special, up-close charm. The audience certainly loved it, and the signature gin drinks were a hit!

Massive props to VOX Theatre Arts for providing a wonderful platform for aspiring performers to shine. Congratulations on your first production—I had a blast! Here's to many more successful shows in the future!


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