This production, shown at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney, was excellent. The Lyric is a modern, minimalist style theatre which is well suited to this type of lighthearted, current era event. It has an ambience quite different to that of the beautiful Capitol Theatre which presents a more traditional music hall approach due to its magnificent internal decoration. Both have their place in the city and both produce fabulous stage shows.
On this occasion I was very taken with the stage sets. The clever use of doors and doorways allowed for a variety of scenarios to be quickly and efficiently put in place. In the picture here the doors (with side panels) are closed with benches in front as per the inside of a classroom. In other scenes the doors were opened from behind and had students pouring through as if leaving the building. A park bench, and the like were placed in the foreground indicating we were now looking at the exterior of the school. Doors were used again as the main prop for a restaurant, courtroom and study, with a totally different set including stairs to give the impression of a sorority house. As the doorways were quite a pivotal onstage presence the remaining chairs, benches and so on only had to be minimal to achieve good visual understanding.
The hairdressing salon was again based on the shop front/doorway idea but was a much more complex structure with washing basins to the side (out of shot unfortunately). The ‘glass’ windows gave the opportunity to view the street behind, passersby, the mailman arriving and so on making the stage appear much larger than it was in reality. With customers coming and going, a reception desk and a beauty bar all included it was probably the most comprehensive of all the stage arrangements.
The most minimal of stage sets was the inside of the jail – but what a backdrop. As can be seen, the stage is bare with the exception of a small raised platform and the entire effect is created by clever artwork on the backdrop. The impression of inmates standing outside cells in the common area is enhanced by the perceptive depth in the space and the dramatic colour scheme. You can clearly visualise night-time in the prison wing with the lights dimmed. I really appreciated this, the angles to create the shape, the colour choices, the detail work of the inner structure, the cell doors open and the way it meshed seamlessly with the floor – and it was so big, spanning the entire stage width. Many, many years ago I helped paint some sets but nothing ever as huge or complex as this.
Overall, a fantastic show, plenty of content, plenty of visual stimulation and excellent sound both from the entertainers and the musicians. At a touch over 2 hours, excluding the 20 minute interval, it was very good value for the price.
Photos – http://legallyblonde.com.au/photos.html