Jacq of all Trades, Master of Writing
Secret gang of senior citizen thieves
What a delightful production presented in vaudeville style. Don't ever underestimate the ability of senior citizen's to shake a leg or two. 70 Girls 70 is a musical about a group of senior citizens living in a rundown New York hotel that is about to be sold off to developers. Facing homelessness and defenceless to do anything about it, they await their fate. That is until Ida, who left the hotel months prior, returns. Not only is she dressed to the nines, complete with a mink coat, she invites them all to a lavish dinner to propose an outrageous plan to save them from being turned out on the streets.
Sit up and pay attention. Senior citizens are sneakier than you think. The knitting, bingo and card games are just a cover-up for a more sinister breed of self-made criminals. Of course, these particular ones have their heart in the right place, so do their criminal activities really count as criminal? You'll need to watch and judge for yourselves. Their antics are hilarious.
Ida, played by Anne Ryan, is a delight to watch as the astute leader of the gang. Eunice was hilarious as was the comedy team of Melba and Fritzi. Sadie also made an impression with her larger than life stage presence that rewarded her with plenty of laughs from the audience. As a whole, the cast was delightful and a credit to director Roger McKenzie who not only pulled off a challenging production but his attention to detail with set changes was to be admired. We were treated to eight set changes from the Sussex Arms Hotel, The Cornucopia Tea Room, The Broadhurst Theatre, Sadie's Fur Salon, Bloomingdale's Fur Department, The Artic Cold Storage Company, The New York Coliseum and a Chapel. Whilst the behind the scenes set-up was occurring we were being entertained with transitional songs. One of my favourites was Go Visit Your Grandmother. I also have a soft spot for tap dancing routines. I was very impressed by the amazing transformations. There were a few technical issues with sound and lighting, which were minor glitches when you take the scale of the production into consideration.
There's death, a wedding, explosions, police pursuit, renovations, bedroom scenes with the betrothed couple, self-imposed senility, exposure of undergarments, and a couple of wheelchairs to boot. By the thunderous applause given by the audience, both young and not so young, I can say that the production was a hit. You may not witness flawless performances but you'll certainly enjoy a production full of heart and soul. It was obvious that the cast were fuelled by the audience's enthusiasm, as they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience. We were told that the cast age total is 1589. If you're a senior, 70 Girls 70 is sure to give your heart a kick-start and maybe give you inspiration to live a little dangerously. For the rest of you, you'll be inspired that age has no limits except within our minds. I will certainly treasure this experience and encourage you to book tickets with a group of movers and shakers.
Gold Coast Little Theatre may be tricky to find but I encourage you to discover this little gem hidden at the Queens Street end of Scarborough Street, behind the Westpac drive-through bank, and adjacent to the Southport South tram station. Parking is available in front of the theatre. There is wheelchair access and an electronic chair to help those with wobbly knees to manage the stairs. On opening nights you get to enjoy snacks on arrival and supper after the show. There's a bar with an assortment of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks ranging from cheese and biscuits to chocolates and chips.
70 Girls 70 was performed at Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport, QLD
Directed by: Roger McKenzie Musical Director: Mary Walters Assistant Director: Jon Allwood Production Consultant: Hazel Phillips O.A.M
Stage Managers: Andrew Cockroft-Penman & Lee Patterson
Sound & Lighting: Koreena Stacey Nesbitt, Leonnie Jones, Rodrigo Medina Noël, Andrew Borg, Nick Munday.
Set Design: Roger McKenzie & Shane Caddaye
Cast Ida: Anne Ryan Harry: Brett Raguse Eunice: Jann Alcorn Walter: Joel Beskin Gert: Judy Neumann Melba: Marlene Blight Fritzi: Noni Buckland Edwina: Jessica Ng Sadie: Maria Buckler Grandma: Marilyn Culell Mo: Daniel Green Edna: Dawn Warrington Marvin: Joe Feeney Rosie: Laraine Keogh Callahan: Lorraine Redden Phil: Thian Sykes Shoplifter: Bev Gannon Kowalski: Henk Steenhuis Daphne: Diana Dureau