Beautiful, The Carole King Musical
Adelaide Fringe 2020 - Feb 29th - 29th
”“Music theatre is alive and well in Adelaide.”
The ever-entrepreneurial David Gauci has done it again,
with yet another Australian premiere of a new musical….
….this time Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court from rising US cabaret and music theatre stars Kooman and Dimond.
This riotous parody of the fabulous Judge Judy of daytime TV fame is perfect fodder for Gauci and his exceptional cast, with Katie Packer putting the judge’s acid barbs to song.
There are very tuneful contributions by Adam Goodburn as the court clerk Henry and especially Paul Rodda, doing triple duty (and a couple of dozen laps of the theatre) in a number of roles.
The courtroom’s parade of trailer trash, doomsday preppers and other assorted loons are a sideshow in themselves.
Martin Cheney directs a tight three-piece band.
Music theatre is alive and well in Adelaide.Peter BurdonThe Advertiser
”Director/Producer Gauci together with Musical Director Martin Cheney and Choreographer Kerry-Lynne Hauber have realised a brilliant slice of Fringe entertainment.
It would be difficult to find anything to trump this piece performed far from the madding city crowds at the excellent Parks Theatre.
(Car parking is a breeze and local eateries are superb!)
The cast of five were on the same page throughout. The teamwork was seamless in song, dance and knockabout routines. They were equally brilliant and palpably as one with script, movement and music, all of which they worked with consummate skill, clarity of voice, abundant energy and immaculate timing. Both timing and pace were spot on.
To the cast comprising Katie Packer, Adam Goodburn, Paul Rodda, Casmira Hambledon and Joshua Angeles I offer my unreserved congratulations and appreciation for a great night out at a great little theatre. It is impossible to single out any individual performance for extra praise. However I did love “If only you knew”, “My Daddy Hate me” and the reprise “Judge Jackie Justice”. The tango scene was also a favourite, but all of the character transformations and presentations demonstrated the ability of five very skilful actors at the top of their game.
Martin Cheney’s band of three were unobtrusive and provided a perfect underscore. Lighting was well plotted to enhance costume, character and movement. The audience was involved and entertained from start to end. And by “audience” I do mean everybody!
Davine Productions delivers a great night out at a great venue.
Not to be missed!Alan ShepleyTASA
”Book & Lyrics by Christopher Dimond. Music by Michael Kooman. Based on a concept by Van Kaplan. David Gauci & Davine Productions.
A phenomenally talented (and tireless) cast of five performers - backed by a flexible and powerful trio of musicians - go a long way toward making up for a less-than-impressive script, overcoming/transforming so-so material to make Judge Jackie into a largely pleasing musical theatre experience.
This show’s title and advertising images are a tip-off that you’ll be getting a reality-television satire (not the only one available to see at this year’s Adelaide Fringe) – but ‘disorder’ may be the buzzword that sets up expectations which are not fully met by the book/lyrics of Christopher Dimond (augmented by local references – some of them quite amusing - that have clearly been grafted onto this Australian premiere).
The romantic through-line between the two central characters is warm, well-acted, and engaging, but still naggingly conventional, while the string of caricatured couples who end up in the dock and in Jackie’s sights are written with much less wit or edge than one might hope for. ‘Disorder’ is actually something that the script could’ve used use more of; as it stands, the spoofing of targets such as Britney Spears feels curiously dated, and one wants the material to get wilder and wackier instead of sticking to tired tropes about ‘yokels’ and ‘gangstas’.
Fortunately, the expert hand of David Gauci has steered this ship to go full speed ahead (once past its comparatively understated opening), and the undeniable energy level really lifts proceedings to send you home with a solid smile on your face. The music is a major contributor to this, spanning a range of styles from soul and vaudeville to cabaret and waltz, played powerfully by Martin Cheney, Louis Cann, & Mark Ziliotto.
Not only does Katie Packer effectively embody Judge Jackie onstage as a smart, stoic, sympathetic figure who is slowly becoming exhausted and exasperated by her day-to-day existence, but she also makes for a simply sensational poster image!
Adam Goodburn’s dual role demonstrates his abilities – not to mention versatility - in a most amusing and unexpected manner, while Paul Rodda brings his pitch-perfect vocal and comedic skills to a quintessential ‘huckster’.
Casmira Hambledon, playing a colourful collection of characters, once more proves herself as vital and radiant an onstage presence as one could imagine, as well as being technically unassailable and virtuosic in her vocal gifts.
Joshua Angeles is equally impressive in an even dizzier variety of roles. (Louise Watkins deserves special mention for costuming them all so effectively, as does
Kerry-Lynne Hauber for guiding their dance moves.)
While the writer behind Judge Jackie may have left his work open to charges of laziness, a positive verdict can certainly be handed down with regard to the exceptional ensemble put together and polished to perfection by Davine Productions. They collectively make this show into a fun frolic, with the added bonus of a beating emotional heart at its core.Anthony VawserStage Whispers
”I am not a fan of reality TV so the idea of poking fun at this show with ‘real justice’ appealed to me. It’s good to laugh at something silly that takes itself so seriously – and laugh we did.Fran EdwardsGlam Adelaide
David Gauci has assembled a terrific cast for this festival of silliness and they all shone. In the title role of Judge Jackie, Katie Packer strutted, adjudicated and sang her way through some very comic trials. Her trusty bailiff Henry is played superbly by Adam Goodburn (he also gets a chance to dance it up as Jorge de Amore TV star). In the irritating role of Shane the TV executive Paul Rodda gives a brash performance, doing well in this role and as Allister DiCastro, (Jackie’s ex). He also voices The Great Xantos with the aid of the sound desk.
Casmira Hamledon and Joshua Angeles played all the other roles with much enthusiasm. From a couple of couch potatoes and hillbilly doomsday couple to a pair of wannabe gangsters they bring the laughs. Hambledon is good as a young Jackie and a lady in love with a monument, but really shines as teen pop star Britley Spanks! Angeles gives the humour as Britley’s father, a young Allister and a young Jorge but his tour de force is Mama, Henry’s elderly mother complete with song.
The music is the capable hands of Martin Cheney and his band, Louis Cann on Bass and Mark Zilotto on drums. Kerry-Lynn Hauber does wonders with the choreography, even with Rodda and Angeles as back-up dancers, joined from time to time by audience members. Yes, be warned there is audience participation but all in good fun and those included got into the spirit of things.
So go to the Parks Theatre, its only a short drive from town, and enjoy a couple of hours of great entertainment.
”Well, well, well. A modern musical with proper old-fashioned catchy tunes. How utterly refreshing.
The American team of Kooman & Dimond created this chirpy comedic confection to both satirise and celebrate the fine era of reality TV in which we live. Judge Judy in her iron-fisted court has become a television institution, now the highest paid host in TV history. She’s worth $147 million. Her success is based on the way she takes down the trailer trash-types of the US.
In this zany musical having its Australian premiere at The Parks, Judy's counterpart, Judge Jackie, finds herself in trouble with the studio executives who want to up her ratings by adding a love element to her case load. Or maybe celebrity couples.
They send in a brash and overpowering executive who could be straight out of The Producers. Meanwhile her loyal bailiff tries to keep the show on the road while Jackie juggles not only threats to her stardom and her usual succession of stereotypically hapless American lowlifes, but also the ghosts of her past marriages. Add to this plotline a string of catchy songs, a bit of dancing, and some audience participation, and there it is; a very modern and very unpretentious musical comedy about and for the proletariat.
David Gauci’s Davine Productions, which used to be Davine Intervention Productions, has prided itself on a bit of class in its productions and it pulls out all the stops here. It has top performers performing shamelessly to a very high standard.
Katie Packer displays a sensational array of growling grimaces and scowls, sneers, glowers, and frowns as grumpy old Judge Jackie. She also displays accomplishment as a soprano and is a good mover; just like Judge Judy, not. Her wonderful foil is Bailiff Henry who also is the compere of the show. He is played by the distinguished Adam Goodburn, so his characterisation is thoroughly rounded, his connection with the audience excellent, and his singing absolutely gorgeous. Oh, and he’s pretty light on his feet, too. As is Paul Rodda, former competitive dancer and now a stalwart of the musical theatre. He can be depended upon for a good American accent and he was clearly having a lot of fun being the brassy, vulgar TV executive. His Reality TV song was among the high spots of the show.
But the show needs a cast of other characters to keep the court room busy. They are embodied by all-singing and all-dancing Casmira Hambledon and Joshua Angeles paired up as plantiffs and defendants, some goofy, some ghastly, some obtuse, stupid, and even totally crackpot. They bring the house down repeatedly, these two versatile and fearless players, the high comedy of the production. Their doomsday-prepper couple really takes the cake as a slice of unique Americana.
Martin Cheney and his fine three-man band are onstage, the bare bones of the back of the piano somewhat detracting from Gauci’s slick court room set. Louise Watkins’s costumes are a hoot, the lighting’s good but, on opening night, the sound system is deafeningly over-amped and detracts from a lot of the singing, putting some audience members into defensive mode.
Then again, with the constant threat of audience participation, everyone is always on edge. It seems a particularly superfluous element of this show but it is written into the script and there are always one or two audience members who seem to respond to the threat of humiliation. Indeed, on opening night, the added chorus dancer quite upstaged the cast; not the usual outcome and very funny.
It’s a bit of a hoof to The Parks but the theatre is beautiful and the show is schmick enough to make the trip eminently rewarding.Samela HarrisThe Barefoot Review
”The verdict is in. Davine Productions have done it again!
Hats off to company founder David Gauci, who has brought this outrageously funny small theatre musical to South Australian audiences in an Australian Premiere. While the show begins with an announcement asking audience members to ‘go with the flow’ (for a small reward) one may not expect to be so highly involved (commanded out of their seats, hauled up on stage). But it doesn’t take long to realise that this is where some of the most entertaining moments are found. And in a clever ploy for free advertising, celebrity snaps with Judge Jackie herself are just the beginning.
We soon learn that TV ratings for Judge Jackie Justice are falling, so in steps Shane, the TV executive; a cleverly crafted, over-the-top showman who threatens cancellation of the show unless Jackie agrees to build up the antics, celebrity cases and find a kinder stance on love. As Jackie is pressured to reinvent her show the lines begin to crack. There’s a popstar, an eighties ‘life be in it’ family, wannabe gangsters, furry animals and redneck survivalists. To further explain the absurd stories of the plaintiffs and defendants, audience members are called upon to help re-enact memories and fantasies. Catchy tunes, clever lyrics that move the story along, and characters of versatility are around every corner. And throughout there is a strong theme that explores the often insane characteristics of love and relationships.
In true ensemble spirit, five actors play multiple characters. While working together beautifully, each cast member has their moment to shine. Adam Goodburn is strong as the loyal, but insecure and love- sick bailiff, Henry. On opening night, his initial scene suffered from some muffled dialogue but this was quickly corrected. Paul Rodda’s energy as the amazing reality TV executive, Shane, is incredible. He holds the audience in the palm of his hand each time he enters and demonstrates some fabulous vaudeville moves. Judge Jackie (Katie Packer) rules her court room with not quite the stern iron fist of her reality TV namesake, but has some great moments singing up a storm. But highest accolades must go to Casmira Hambledon and Joshua Angeles as they constantly transform into an array of different plaintiffs and defendants. Accents and complete persona changes are smooth and well-maintained. Their chemistry is splendid. Hambledon shines as Luanne and Angeles has some great moments as Mama, Henry’s mother.
Well-staged in the intimate Parks theatre, the courtroom set is the perfect playground for the bizarre and trivial lawsuits. From the slick dancing security guards, to the hip thrusting Jorge de Amor tango, the 90s music video to the final breakdance, Kerry-Lynn Hauber’s choreography is precise and as versatile as the musical numbers. The score features power ballads, rap, vaudeville, 90s teen pop and country inspired love anthems, all fine-tuned under the direction of Martin Cheney. But audiences will leave humming the theme song to Judge Jackie Justice.
Court adjourns on March 2nd so get your tickets and support quality local theatre.Kylie PedlerAdelaide Theatre Guide
Presented by Davine Productions
David Gauci, producer/director, has gained an impressive reputation and many awards for his company’s cutting-edge modern music theatre. After 25 years writing/directing his own shows and touring in musicals, Gauci has won or been nominated for many Fringe awards and received critical acclaim. Davine Productions is celebrating its tenth Fringe with this Adelaide premiere of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. A talented cast of 22 will showcase some of South Australia’s top musical talent.
“Mr Gauci and his ensemble’s works have been produced and performed with such a high standard of excellence in all areas” Tony Knight, Stage Whispers.
“David Gauci’s production company has a strong pedigree for putting on high-quality musicals not seen before in Adelaide.” Nathan Quadrio, Glam Adelaide.