By Shelley Frame
I had heard a lot of good reports about previous Chatswood Musical Society productions, and Dusty well and truly lived up to my expectations.
Originally written in Australia by John-Michael Howson, David Mitchell and Melvyn Morrow, it is a relatively new musical having only been performed for the first time in 2006. I had only limited knowledge of the plot and was happy to learn quite a bit. This musical is based on the life of Dusty Springfield, The White Queen of Soul. Her songs have inadvertently become woven through our entire subconscious. She is up there with Elvis and the Beatles, we all know the words of the songs, and each have individual memories attached to them, but I had no idea how many of the songs that I had first come across in movies were actually her creation. And without spoilers, I really had no idea that she lived such an amazing life.
Linda Hale debuts with CMS as Dusty , and right from her first song ‘I Only Want to Be with You’ right through to her last, more than 32 in all, her voice stays strong and never falters. With such strength, it was quite amazing to hear it partnered so beautifully with Gabriella Glenn as Mary. Neither over powered the other and both were quite distinct. Gabriella Glenn as the innocent and young Mary was a perfect casting; her presence on stage was that of a child but never lacking, she wandered through the entire musical, for most of it as the alter ego within Dusty.
The energy of the entire cast was quite exhausting for me in the audience. Miriam Ramsey as Reno, proves this, she first entered and bounced and danced her way down the stairs to end in a very intimate duet with Dusty, more than just myself was envious of the way she could move so gracefully and confidently across a stage, and all in heels!
Katherine Wall as Peg and Raymand Cullen as Rodney are at times a comedy relief for what could easily have been a far too intense script that wouldn’t have matched the pop of the music.
Musical Director Davis Lang and Assistant Musical Director Hayden Barltrop, could not be faulted. The band that was partly hidden behind props and backdrops performed unobtrusively and seamlessly, I still have no idea how many of them were back there. This may not seem terribly complementary, but having seen many musical performances overwhelmed by overzealous musicians, it was a relief to be able to appreciate the music, the vocals and the acting as separate parts and how they layered together so well. My only criticism would have to be that Hayden Barltrop’s cameo of Pet Shop Boys lead singer Neil Tennant was far too short and left me wanting to see him perform more. But that’s for another CMS production!
Dusty is being performed at The Zenith Theatre Chatswood
Friday 2nd November 8:00pm
Saturday 3rd November 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday 4th November 5:00pm
Wednesday 7th November 8:00pm
Thursday 8th November 8:00pm
Friday 9th November 8:00pm
Saturday 10th November 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Book Online or call 02 9777 7547
Child Under 16 $25
Fiona Kelly – Director / Co-Choreographer
David Lang – Musical Director
Andrew del Popolo – Co-Choreographer
James Wallis – Assistant Director
Hayden Barltrop – Assistant Musical Director/Repititeur
Laura-Beth Wood – Production Manager