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REVIEW: "Catch Me If You Can" by Beenleigh Theatre Group

Date of Attendance: 6th April 2024


Catch Me If You Can - The Musical, presented by the Beenleigh Theatre Group was an absolute treat from start to finish, showcasing remarkable local talent, engaging storytelling, and vibrant energy that transported the audience to the glamorous world of the 1960s. Based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., this musical follows the journey of a young con artist who successfully poses as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer while eluding the FBI. The musical is a high-energy tale of deception, charm, and ultimately, redemption. One of the remarkable aspects of this production is its ability to stand alone as a joyous theatrical experience, regardless of prior knowledge of the true events or having seen the acclaimed film adaptation. 


Right from the moment of arrival, the immersive experience began with airport-style announcements signalling the imminent start of the show. Once inside, the cast, already in character, interacted with the audience, including stewardesses performing a safety demonstration. The costumes were a standout feature, capturing the essence of the era beautifully. The set and props, extending to the painted floor design, complemented the performances well, while the authentic New York accents added an extra layer of immersion. This attention to detail set a lively and engaging tone from the outset. 


The soundtrack, composed by the talent behind Hairspray, delighted me with highly catchy tunes that captured the spirit of the decade. The opening number, "Live in Living Colour," set the stage ablaze with energy, showcasing the full talent of the cast. The dancers left a lasting impression too, especially in the mesmerising "Pinstripes”, the upbeat "Someone Else's Skin”, the joyous “Family Tree”, and my personal favourite “Jet Set,” which showcased the stewardesses' infectious energy and Barbie-style grins. 


James Bird's portrayal of Frank Abagnale Jr was stellar. With powerful vocals, undeniable charm, and a professional-worthy stage presence, he embodied the youthful yet cunning persona of Frank Jr convincingly. Samantha O'Hare, as Paula Abagnale, brought her character to life with a captivating French accent and a perfect jazzy voice, showcased beautifully in her song "Don't Be a Stranger." Jeremy Hendrick's portrayal of Frank Sr was remarkably natural, complete with the perfect accent and attitude. The standout for me was Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent played by Michael Mills, who offered a fresh interpretation of the role with likeable charm. The supporting characters, including the comedic FBI agents and Brenda's adorable parents, added charm to the production in their roles. The direction by Nicholas Joy was exemplary, ensuring that the audience's attention was captivated throughout both acts. Transitions between scenes were fast-paced and seamless, keeping the energy high without any stagnant moments.


The abundance of duets in the show was a delight, with standout performances including the intoxicated and humorous "Be a Man" between Frank Sr. and Carl, the catchy “Butter Into Cream” between Franks Jr. and Sr., and the touching "Seven Wonders" duet by Brenda and Frank Jr. Leah Harford's performance as Brenda shone with powerful emotions, crystal-clear vocals, and terrific belting capabilities in her solo "Fly, Fly Away." But the standout number for me was, “Don't Break the Rules,” because it was enhanced with lighting used as helicopter searchlights and impeccable choreography. The final solo "Goodbye" was delivered by James Bird with impressive vocal prowess, while the closing duet "Stuck Together" between Carl and Frank Jr. provided a very satisfying conclusion to the show.

 

I personally believe that this high-class production delivers on all fronts—superb performances, captivating choreography, and an unforgettable soundtrack. It's a must-see for anyone seeking a thoroughly enjoyable theatrical experience. The cast and crew have created something truly special, and I left the theatre wishing I could be part this remarkably fun production too!



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