Nice Work If You Can Get It: A S’Wonderful Production
The music of George and Ira Gershwin may have been written in the first half of the twentieth century. But The Production Company’s Nice Work If You Can Get It brings them firmly into the twenty-first in their latest s’wonderful production featuring some of Australia’s funniest and talented performers!
Set in New York during the era of prohibition, Nice Work If You Can Get It follows the madcap story of wealthy heir Jimmy Winter and beautiful bootlegger Billie Bendix as they fall in love, navigate through mistaken identities and juggle all sorts of tricky situations with incredible comedic timing. All these antics are set to the well-known songs of George and Ira Gershwin and intertwined with high energy dance numbers often designed to distract certain characters from illegal bootlegged booze!
Rohan Browne (Singin’ in the Rain, Strictly Ballroom the Musical) stars in this production as the insatiable playboy Jimmy Winter who is about to marry his fourth wife. That is, until he meets Billie Bendix – who just happens to be scamming him using his beach-side cottage to store 400 cases of illegal rum – played by Esther Hannaford (King Kong, Hairspray). Rohan is one of The Production Company’s favourite leading men and is it easy to see why in this production. Together with the incredibly talented Esther Hannaford, these two bright Australian stars whisk the audience away on their journey of forbidden love and perform some captivating 1920s-inspired song and dance numbers. ‘S Wonderful is one of the highlights of the show when the pair confesses their devotion for each other.
But it isn’t all love and romance. Comedy rules the stage in this production which features some of the country’s funniest performers; Christie Whelan-Browne (Rocky Horror Show, Shane Warne: The Musical), Gina Riley (Chicago, Kath & Kim), George Kapiniaris (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Plus Monica Swayne (Wicked, West Side Story) and Jensen Overend (Rock of Ages) who play two burgeoning lovers due to a few white lies and some hilarious songs.
Christie Whelan-Browne shines in the role of Eileen Evergreen ‘the finest interpreter of modern dance in the world’. Demonstrating her impeccable comedic timing, she performs the repurposed song Delishious from her bathtub and constantly surprises the audience with increasingly outlandish modern dance throughout the show. However, it is Gina Riley and George Kapiniaris who steal the show with their hilarious renditions of Looking For A Boy – which literally has Gina Riley swinging from the ceiling!
As always, The Production Company has assembled an impressive ensemble which amaze with many incredible dance routines set to a great jazz band featuring members of Orchestra Victoria. This small group of hardworking performers are dancing up storms better than you would see at a lot of the big productions which visit Melbourne and perfectly recreate the 1920s Jazz scene with flair. This group represent a very bright future for Australian musical theatre!
If you are fan of the golden era of musical comedy then you must see this show. Even though it was only written in the last few years, it perfectly replicates the 1920s musicals with madcap comedy, antics abounding and a happy ending. Plus this incredible cast are giving some performances not to be missed.
Nice Work If You Can Get It is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne and must close on August 23rd. Make sure you grab your tickets quickly because they will disappear as quickly as Demon Rum in Prohibition America. Visit artscentremelbourne.com.au for more information.