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The Merry Widow - Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)

Home > Brisbane > Theatre | Musicals | Comedy | Classical Music
by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
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The story of The Merry Widow (as with most opera/operettas) is not entirely convincing and is also of its time, where women are viewed as tradeable commodities in a "God's police or Damned Whores" world.

The revised lyrics go some way towards modernising it (in a raunchy way) but there is not a lot to be done with a plot where a municipality has a vested interest in ensuring that a widow's $20 million fortune does not leave the state and encourages local suitors to win her favour, and control of said fortune.

Still Hannah (the widow, played by Natalie Christie Peluso) plays her cards well and is clearly no wilting violet. David Hobson as Danilo (her erst-while lover, whose father had forbidden him to marry the then poor Hannah) looks the part and proves himself to be a natural comedian.

Graeme Murphy's influence is clear throughout the production. This saga of dalliance, and "all's well that ends well" win, lose, win romance is extravagantly costumed (several of the leading lady's gowns costing thousands of dollars), and the art deco sets (shared between a number of State Opera companies) are superb. The tableau at the opening of act two earned a wave of spontaneous applause.

The sets are superb – for the scene in Maxim's (a night-club/bordello) a long red staircase materialises out of nowhere, allowing Natalie to do a Liza Minelli/ Marlene Deitrich-style song and dance number.

Murphy has a few surprises in store – like having "respectable" middle to late age men (bemoaning how difficult women are to understand) break out into a high kicking number. There are other even more daring surprises, but I don't want to trigger a spoiler alert.

Expect the unexpected.

The singing was a joy to hear – it's hard to believe that the chorus all have day jobs as well. While I was regretting that we didn't get to see Danielle de Niesse (who was in the Melbourne production), the diminutive Natalie acted, sang and danced her heart out.

This show ticks most of the boxes.

Dance wonderful. Singing great. Staging superb. Sheer fun absolutely.

Politically correct it ain't - but I loved it.

Bookings: or phone 136 246.

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Why? You won't get better
When: 22-30 June
Where: Lyric Theatre QPAC
Cost: $85 - $180
Your Comment
Ahh...a classic
by Gillian Ching (score: 2|346) 382 days ago
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