Wild, Western and Wonderul: Desperadoes a rootin’-tootin’ rodeo of fun
From the moment the opening credits roll on Georgiana Molloy Anglican School’s musical production of Desperadoes, audiences know they are in for a hog-killing time — swept up in the magic of the wild west.
Following the wacky tale of a western hold-up at the town’s local milk bar and hotel, this classic Maverick Musical is a great option for schools with immersive theming, plenty of fun characters and popular song choices to get the crowds up and moving, which was most evident at this particular performance.
Directed by Sue Thompson, the story is led by sassy hotel owner Dolores, the character magnificently performed by Lulu Schiller, whose popular establishment is taken over by infamous outlaws the Desperadoes led fearlessly by head honcho Curly, brought to life by Harry Scott.
Curly is accompanied by his band of thieves Kinky and Stinky of whom Nate Melville and Coby Wilson make comedic gold, and Jezebel, played with spunk by Alex Howes, who leads a show-stopping performance of Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like A Woman late in act two — the perfect 11 o’clock number.
Unlikely heroes are found in the town’s oldest members, Clarabel and Jethro, who are sent off to acquire the ransom money. Rhiannon van der Tang gives a notable performance bringing fire and sass to Clarabel and Ben Schaap delights as Jethro, proving his class in the second act in a hilarious twist.
Also a treat is the nothing but sweet sideline romance of Dolores’ daughter Sally-May and local farm boy Adam. Sienna Norton brought out the young-and-in-love naivety of Sally-May in a superb rendition of Going to the Chapel and shared undeniable chemistry with the multi-talented Christian Blair as Adam.
A personal highlight also included a wonderful delivery of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler by Jacob Stephenson, who held the audience in the palm of his hand despite simply being sat on a stool under a single spotlight.
The set in this production can certainly not go without mentioning, expertly designed by Annie Winchcombe and Jason Ringrose. It’s very impressive execution, largely contributing to the audience’s immersion into the world of the production and earning a well-deserved gasp from the audience on its reveal.
The multi-storey design was also appreciated, given the the audience was situated on level cabaret-style seating, with parties bringing their own nibbles creating a more relaxed family-friendly environment.
While the plot certainly is quirky, this production pulls out all the stops and makes for a feel-good night out so make sure to pick up tickets before the show closes on August 20.
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