Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: (Toronto) The Marvelous Wonderettes

Poster art

Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream
These Wonderettes truly are Marvelous!
by Stuart Munro

It’s 1958, and you’re in for a treat – The Marvelous Wonderettes are here to sing for your Senior Prom! Four lovely ladies grace the stage of the Lower Ossington Theatre’s cabaret space and transport the audience back in time to celebrate the girl groups of the 50s and 60s. The plot is thin, but that’s not really the point. The evening is light, entertaining, and filled with wonderful music.

The success of a show like this hangs on the vocal talents of the cast assembled, and the LOT couldn’t have found four more charming or talented girls. Carry Quigley, Stacey Joy Long, Rebecca Rodley, and Alexandra Reed all possess stunningly sweet voices. Their harmonies are always pitch perfect, and their chemistry together on stage is delightful. All four girls get their chance in the spotlight, but Stacey Joy Long as Betty Jean and Alexandra Reed as Suzy have created fully realized characters that never fade once, and really steal the show.

Director Seanna Kennedy keeps things moving along quickly, and the pace never falters. There’s no choreographer listed, so I’m assuming Ms. Kennedy was responsible for that as well. While her efforts here are a tad less successful, the moves are always performed with energy by the girls. Musical Director Robert Wilkinson deserves a special mention – rarely does one hear harmonies so perfectly performed, without a single note out of place.

It’s too bad the sound design didn’t always highlight the strong vocals. Off the top, at least one mic was more static than anything, and the balance was always a bit off when one girl was soloing against the others. Most of these issues seemed to be resolved by the second half (the 1968 ten-year reunion), but the LOT should really consider investing in a proper sound system in the future.

These few little issues aside, The Marvelous Wonderettes is an excellent night out. Anyone looking for a little nostalgia would be well advised to head on down to the Lower Ossington Theatre before their run is over.

The Marvelous Wonderettes runs to February 10 March 3

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