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The Secret Singer - Review

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by Cassie (subscribe)
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A phenomenal new musical
The Secret Singer
The Secret Singer


With powerful themes and superb characterisation, The Secret Singer offers a phenomenal theatre experience. Written and directed by Joanna Weinberg, this new musical based on a true story has been brought to life beautifully.

The Secret Singer recounts the day that Jenny (played by Kate Mannix) comes to see Emjay (played by Genevieve Lemon) for singing lessons. Jenny has a life-long desire to sing, but having spent her life being undermined by those close to her, Jenny has severe emotional barriers to overcome first. And yet, as she exposes her emotional trauma to Emjay, Emjay too learns to recover from her own struggles. With superbly written charwereers, there was more than a few wet eyes in the house as the story reached its poignant conclusion.

It is not common to have a mature and all female cast in modern theatre productions and often these characters are cast to the side or written two-dimensionally. This is certainly not the case for The Secret Singer and it was a true honour to experience these brilliant actresses interacting with each other. Genevieve is excellent in her role as the strong, supportive and comedic singing teacher Emjay, and effortlessly plays the more sensitive elements of the role. Likewise, Kate is phenomenal as Jenny and manages to portray her weaknesses in a respectful way without stereotyping Jenny's disability. Songs have been wisely written in a way that advances the story but are also enjoyable to listen to. Both actresses sang their songs well.

Costumes were perfectly chosen and enhanced each characters main personality characteristics well. Lighting was also well done, with no errors or mishaps evident. The set has been created in a realistic and versatile way, allowing for optimal character engagement and effortless scene transitions.

The Secret Singer is no doubt a powerful play which does not shy away from uncomfortable topics. And yet, the musical maintains its poise and respect throughout, not just for the characters and the audience, but the people who this story is based on. For those willing to venture outside the established musical scene and experience a new piece, The Secret Singer will offer true rewards.

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Where: Darlinghurst Theatre Company's Eternity Playhouse
Cost: $35-$54
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