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You'll be Havana good time
The Athenaeum 2 theatre space was transformed into a 1950's Cuban bar for the Australian premiere of Our Man in Havana - an operatic adaptation of the novel and subsequent movie, by Lyric Opera of Melbourne.
You could buy mojitos during the two intervals of this three-hour performance, and even the colourful clothing of the orchestra members added to the ambience.
While the score was impressive and set the tone of the story throughout, I cannot justifiably omit from this review the fact that the vocals were not clearly audible over the music. Even the deepest baritone or the highest soprano could not compete with the power of a 22 piece orchestra without the aid of a microphone.
I don't feel that I can comment on the content of the show as for the most part, the storyline was impossible to follow. Subtle jokes and important plot twists signalled by the accompanying score, went over this audience member's head, as it did with others that I spoke to.
The highlight for me was the performance of Kate Amos in the role of Milly. Amos has a delightful stage presence and stole every scene she entered.
Kate Amos as Milly (sitting), with ensemble cast
A special mention must be made of Martin Thomas Buckingham who stepped into the lead role of Bramble I believe a week before opening night. To learn an entire three-hour opera in a week is a phenomenal effort.
Martin Thomas Buckingham as the lead role of Mr Bramble
I sincerely hope that this technicality is rectified for the remainder of the show's run so that future audiences can fully appreciate the talents of the performers on stage.