I don’t have an issue with entertainment that is set in the 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s. Or entertainment that is set in an American high school or in the land of Oz. And I don’t have an issue with make-believe characters of fairy-godmothers or lions. But it is about time that we had a quintessential accessible Australian musical that deals with the exact issues that everyone in the audience is working on. And that is exactly what you get with Sexercise, the premier show at St. Kilda’s new Alex Theatre.
This show is centred on a number of relationships of its impressively talented cast. There is the long-suffering couple who have reached the seven year itch. The well passed his use-by-date playboy. The relationship counsellor with a rather interesting relationship history who has turned to internet dating. The doting husband whose life is run by his over-bearing wife. And the down-on-her-luck woman just looking for love.
All these friends’ stories intertwine with each other creating an incredibly entertaining and comedic examination of relationships.
Nicole Melloy (The Rocky Horror Show, Show Boat) and Lyall Brooks (Guys & Dolls, Sunday in the Park with George) lead the cast as the couple who have lost the spark in their relationship and will try anything to get it back. But when their counsellor notes that the two waste their spare time exercising rather than spending it with each other she suggests a rather radical solution to combine both of these facets into . . . you guessed it . . . Sexercise.
Each member of the cast gets their moment to shine in the spotlight and certainly delivers with amazing comic timing and some really moving moments. Fem Belling’s performance is a highlight as she blends a jazz background with rock songs to blow the audience away with her amazing voice in ‘Computer Dating Man’. Lulu McClatchy clearly proves that she is in line to be the next Australian Queen of Comedy through a really cleverly executed moment of audience interaction which turns an unsuspecting audience member into her ex-girlfriend in ‘Want What I Got’. And Cameron MacDonald establishes himself as a true song-and-dance man with a funny and touching rendition of ‘It Might Be Different This Time’.
The story may be a bit of fun playing with relationship clichés, but its greatest advantage is the accessibility. Dealing with everything from online dating and acting your age to spicing up a relationship and the unique Aussie mateship, the show manages to engage and entertain the audience because everyone has experienced at least one of the relationship scenarios being played out on stage. This is increasingly becoming an essential component of new theatre.
A lot of theatre relies on the ability to read into complex stories and take away some inference from the stories of others. But the direction of most other entertainment mediums is quite the opposite. Reality television and everyday dramas are taking over our screens bringing the issues we face in everyday life to life. Popular singers are performing songs that strongly resonate with the feelings of their huge fan bases. This is the musical theatre equivalent, presenting situations we are all experiencing on the stage in front of us and encouraging us to find some comedy in them.
If you are looking for a night of comedy and non-stop laughter (except for Nicole Melloy’s beautifully performed ballad ‘Don’t Need I’m Sorry), then make sure that you check out Sexercise playing now at the Alex Theatre!
VENUE Alex Theatre (former George Cinema)
ADDRESS 135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
DATE From 24 February 2015
TICKETS Ticketek – 132 849 or http://www.ticketek.com.au