Welcome Back Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! It’s so nice to have you back where you belong in the Playhouse as the Production Company’s opening production of their 2017 season. Starring real life husband and wife team, Marina Prior and Grant Piro, Hello, Dolly! kicks off this year’s season in true classical musical style with this iconic and much-loved show.
It only takes a moment to fall in love with Marina Prior’s meddling Dolly Levi. Arranging everything from marriages to dance lessons, Marina is given full rein to steal the show from the very first number ‘I Put My Hand In’ showing audiences why she deserves her title as one of Australia’s go-to leading ladies. The highlight of her performance comes at the end of Act One with the iconic ‘Before the Parade Passes By’. After the entire ensemble has shown off their vocal talents, they leave Marina on stage to one-up them all by herself sending out the first act with Dolly’s impressive solo.
Joining Marina as her (eventual) love interest is her real life husband Grant Piro as Horace Vandergelder. Grant is given a difficult character to play as Horace is not meant to be loved by the audience. He is old-fashioned, controlling, difficult and rather curmudgeonly at the best of times through most of the show, only receiving an opportunity to break down those barriers right at the end when Grant Piro gets the opportunity to display some of his real chemistry for his leading lady and makes you wish that he had been able to show that earlier on if his character wasn’t so perennially stubborn.
Rounding out the leading cast are strong performances from a series of Production Company regulars including Verity Hunt-Ballard and Baylie Carson. As well as welcome new additions to the Production Company family Mike Snell, Jack Van Staveren, Imogen Moore and Alana Tranter who have definitely proven their own against the captivating Marina Prior and will hopefully be taking on larger roles with the Production Company in the future.
But standing out amongst this talented cast are Glenn Hill and Nigel Huckle who appear as Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker respectively. Skiving off from their duties in Horace Vandergelder’s store, these two performers get the opportunity to provide a comedic foil to the straighter characters in the show and especially come into their own when Glenn Hill takes over the stage to profess his love to Ms. Irene Molloy in ‘It Only Takes a Moment’.
As usual, the company has assembled an exquisite orchestra to bring new life into this classic score under the direction of Vanessa Scammell, and use the simple set to its best ability combining different elements of scenery to transport the audience through the action. However, the highlight of the night is the range of costumes by Isaac Lummis and the elaborate hats from Phillip Rhodes. Hello, Dolly! requires a sense of palatial extravagance and this was certainly provided in the designs by these two talented creatives taking pride of place on the stage during ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’ with the cast decked out in a full spectrum of technicolor delight.
Hello, Dolly! is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse until June 11. For more information and to book your tickets now, visit www.artscentremelbourne.com.au