Entertainment Hive 2020

Dusty: The Musical

Adelaide Festival Centre, until January 22

Review by Honey B The strength of Dusty: The Musical lies in the power of the songs and the production’s leading lady, Amy Lehpamer as the iconic Dusty Springfield. Lehpamer proved to be a strong Springfield with just a touch of vulnerability and self-doubt. Her vocals were powerful, passionate and moving and her vocals had a beautiful warm, honeyed tone. The show, which was first performed in 2006, has had a minor re-write to streamline the story through the addition of Baylie Carson as the young Mary O’Brien who acts as Dusty’s conscience. Born Mary O’Brien, the red-headed, tubby, Catholic tomboy from Ealing re-invented herself as Dusty Springfield with her extravagant blonde beehive, panda-eyes and her unique sound. The interweaving of Carson’s young “Dusty’’ throughout the whole show adds weight to the thin script and also adds an extra insight into the mind-set of the 1960s pop star. Adelaide’s Carson was fantastic as the young Mary O’Brien and she often went note-for-note with Lehpamer. Less developed was the relationship between Dusty and her dresser and best friend Peg (Virginia Gay) and her gay wig-keeper Rodney (Todd McKenney). Both characters are two-dimensional and McKenney told a few too many cheesy gay one-liners. One of the stand-out performances of the night was between Lehpamer and Chloe Zuel as Dusty’s soul-singing lesbian partner Reno. The pair performed a beautifully stripped back version of The Look of Love which was just mesmerising. Also worthy of a mention was the spectacular nod to the Pet Shop Boys’ duet with Dusty, What Have I Done to Deserve This? The two-levelled stage included a large mirrored closet and a nine-piece live band on the second level. The vivid dance numbers, colourful costuming and energetic ensemble performances truly brought this stage to life. The opening night crowd thrilled to hit-after-hit including I Only Want to Be With You, , I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, Wishin’ and Hopin’ and Son of a Preacher Man. What a way to see out 2016 with such a brilliantly vivid, entertaining show.
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