‘Greenwicks’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by June 8, 2017

‘Greenwicks’ is a modern day comedy musical, written by Perth’s prolific pair, playwright, and corporate lawyer, James Marzec and musical composer and teacher, John McPherson. This show was first presented 9 years ago, but the two writers have changed, updated, and honed many aspects of their production since then. This version is truly professional.

The actors, who are mainly in their early 20s, are part of the Wanneroo Repertory Inc., a section of Limelight Theatre Company.

These dynamic musical performances can be seen at the Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8.00 until the 17th June. There is one matinée on Saturday the 17th June at 2.00 pm.

 

The set designer has positioned the manager’s office, with the fruit and dairy section against the rear wall. Jen Edwards’ props continued with various end-of-aisle stacks on the sides of the stage. The large illuminated sign, the width of the stage, tells us we are in a Greenwicks store. The overall effect is quite impressive and authentic. A lot of work for the construction team of Paul and John McPherson, and Matthew Bell.

The show is stage managed by David Nelson, and with his crew dressed as shop assistants, they swept up and moved goods around ‘invisibly’.

John and James worked with Jacob Anderson and Matthew Bell to create the colourful and exciting lighting design. Kim Elford operated John McPherson’s soundscape.

 

       The Greenwicks’ store had just opened for the day, when the head cashier, Danielle (Michaela Sheehy) hands the manager, Mr Collins (James Marzec) an urgent letter. It is from the miserly supermarket owner, Mr Greenwicks (David Nelson) who is not happy with the turnover figures, and so he is going to visit the store – and perhaps close it.

       Three of the checkout chicks, Amy (Rachael Chamberlain), Beth (Helen Kerr) and Melissa (Tania Morrow) are suffering another day of sexual harassment from the creepy, assistant manager, Kevin (Oliver Bourne). The girls have a plan to stop Kevin’s inappropriateness. Watching the whole affair is pedantic Lawrence (Jacob Anderson); with his clipboard in hand and dreams of promotion, he carries out a time and motion study on his fellow workers.

       The team from fruit and veg, Mike (Jason Pearce), Jan (Aleisha Archer) and Jen (Toni Heymanson) are being bullied by jealous Jude (Zac Bennett-McPhee) who is determined to have ‘adorable’ Malachi ‘Mal’ (Josh Lang) sacked. Thankfully, the staff manager, Rhonda (Amy Glendenning) comes screaming in, demanding that all the chatting stops, as there are customers waiting to be served.

       Later in the morning, a giant walking milk carton arrives. This is Mistress Milky (Laura Thomas) from the local dairy, she is promoting a new range of milk product. Following her around is Cathy the Kale (Kimberly Hill) who is encouraging a healthier diet and lifestyle.

       However, not all in the store ‘family’ is as peaceful and organised as it seems.

 

The chorus of Ian Griffin, Kathleen Del Casale, Mary Del Casale, Claire Harley, Lauren Hulatt, Ash Torrens, Tori Brown, Ashley Scott, Emma Jorgensen and Madeleine Quy are more than simply space-fillers, they all have quality voices and proficient dancing skills.

 

Musical director and conductor, John McPherson, led the Greenwicks’ 11-piece orchestra. It comprised Guitar – Vlad Sturdy, Double bass – Chris Ingram, Drums – Sam Bradbury, Trumpets, and Flugelhorns – Harry Josland and Paul Marion, Trombones – Vanitha Hart and Warren Bracken, Alto sax – Andrea van Graan, Tenor sax – Catherine Warnock and Baritone saxophone – Talitha Dunn. The theatre is very lucky to have a real orchestra pit below the stage, as this allows a more balanced music presentation, without the predominance of piano or drums. The live music was energetic and catchy, with that extra sparkle that is often lacking when some theatres are forced to use the composer’s CDs.

Choreographers Claire Harley and John McPherson had some ingenious and inventive routines. I especially liked the fast-moving, complex sequence when George Clooney – yes the real George ‘heartthrob’ Clooney appeared. The dancers were very well rehearsed, slick and they smiled throughout.

Congratulations to Meg Adrichem-Considine and Loz Haynes for their costumes. Dozens were required, but their work helped give us a genuine supermarket. There was some fun ‘specialist’ makeup by Ian Griffin that brought a smile.

Often, when the writer of a show also directs and acts in his own production it can fall apart. Here, the director, James Marzec has gathered a very strong cast, with beautiful voices (many are professionally trained) and who are equally capable of performing the energetic and demanding dance routines.

This production was a very funny – though a little risqué – with excellent singing and dancing. A top rate show that was loved by the young audience.