I Only Want To Be With You – The Production Company’s Dusty
Dusty Springfield may have been the pop icon of the ‘60s, but in her latest turn as Dusty in The Production Company’s Dusty the Musical, Amy Lehpamer earns her place as one of the leading ladies of Australian musical theatre.
Rounding out their 2016 season, The Production Company have brought Dusty the Musical back to the stage for its tenth anniversary with a stellar Australian cast in a stripped back production that allows the cast’s incredible vocal performances to shine against a soundtrack of the pop world’s most iconic music.
Dusty Springfield’s life was by no means normal. From a quick rise to stardom jumping from singing group to singing group, through secret relationships to contractual obligations around segregated audiences, Dusty had a life that was lived in the headlines. All while on the search for that iconic Dusty sound which has lived on in her music. Combine that with her never-ending self-doubt and you are left with a story which is just waiting to be turned into a musical.
Leading this new production as Dusty Springfield is Amy Lehpamer. With a penchant for taking on iconic much-loved roles having just finished a national run as Maria in The Sound of Music, Amy Lehpamer is set the difficult task of embodying the presence and the sound of the pop icon. Yet she manages to personify this legend with ease and grace capturing her mannerisms and specific singing style for the stage. After leading roles in Rock of Ages, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Sound of Music and now Dusty the Musical there is no doubt that Amy Lehpamer has earnt her place as a leading lady of Australian musical theatre. If you are in any doubt, her performances of ‘Dancing in the Street’, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ will quickly have you marvelling in her talent.
Joining Amy throughout her journey is Baylie Carson as the younger embodiment of the star, Mary O’Brien, who is a constant reminder of her self-doubt and lack of confidence in her new identity. Although a relative newcomer to the professional stage, she easily holds her own and delivers a series of memorable performances alongside a cast of seasoned theatre professionals including some incredibly funny comedic relief from Todd McKenney and Virginia Gay who can play their awkward characters like no one else in Australia.
The other stand out performance of the night came from Elenoa Rokobaro as Reno, Dusty’s long-term on-and-off-again love interest. Despite playing a role which earns the wrath of the audience when she breaks it off with the pop icon before having to earn back their love in the second half as she returns to Dusty’s life, Elenoa’s musical performances will blow you away and have you wishing for a new musical to hit the Australian shores where we can hear more of her incredible Motown stylings.
Special shout out to Michael Ralph for some very comedic choreography during ‘My Generation’ as the very straight British back up dancing begins to merge with the more down-and-dirty American style. As the British dancers struggled to pick up the new styles, the audience were in stitches.
With a soundtrack featuring some of the era’s most popular songs and a series of amazing performances – especially by the phenomenal Amy Lehpamer, The Production Company’s Dusty is not to be missed. It is only at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse for a limited season through December 4 before moving to Adelaide, and opening night will not be the only time this show gets a standing ovation. For more information and to book your tickets now, visit www.artscentremelbourne.com.au