What the Dickens Down Under is a strange kind of show. Beau Theatricals (West Logan Amateur Community Theatre), in their very first production ever, have done their best to deliver on their promise to bring a fun-filled evening of theatre to local residents. Under the watchful eye of director and founding member Gladys Bow the diverse cast, consisting of everyone from seasoned amateurs to first timers, put their hearts into what must have been quite a challenging enterprise.
I have to admit that despite their best efforts their inexperience shows, for What the Dickens Down Under is something of a mixed bag part theatre, part cabaret, and part variety hour, all jumbled together and thrown onto the stage for our viewing pleasure; and there was quite a bit of pleasure to be had, if the response from the full house on opening night was any indication.
The first act consists of some highlights from Oliver, hence the “What The Dickens” part of the title, and is the most theatrical part of the show. With hits such as “Consider Yourself”, “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”, and “OOM-PAH-PAH”, the first act carries itself along quite happily with only a few hints of what is to come, including a very intriguing “Starlight Express” from Oliver’s Guardian Angel.
Guardian Angel? Well may you ask, for this is Oliver with a Twist, which is shown not just in the lighthearted way that the company tackles the material, but with the inclusion of two very camp gendarmes, who arrest everyone and have them sent off to colonial Australia.
As Act Two begins, all sense of theatrical story telling is abandoned and the entertainment kicks up a notch as the cast treats us to a collection of some of Australia’s most loved musical numbers. This is where they really shine, with Wanda Goodair and Gladys Bow treating us to their version of Kylie Minogue as a very gregarious old duo singing “I Should Be So Lucky” an ironic choice considering Kylie’s current circumstances.
Steve Owen delivers a wonderfully mimed “Torn”, and Trish Willing puts her heart on the line in “I am Woman”. Although not all the musical numbers are as good as these, the variety format is certainly the strength of the show and I hope that Beau Theatricals will deliver up even more of this with their next production.
If you live down Logan way and enjoy the amateur experience, then I recommend you drop into Greenbank RSL Sensation Room some time during the next couple of weeks and support your local thespians. Leave your serious hat at the door and you’re bound to have a good time.
Directed by Gladys Bow
Playing until 16th July 2005: Fri-Sat 7.30pm
Running Time: 2 hours thirty minutes including interval