Review: The Lyin’ Queen at the Studio (Sydney Opera House)
Wednesday 1 December
Reviewed by Paul Neeson (Arts Wednesday)
What a gay ol’ romp in the jungle we had at the Studio last night.
The plot? Yes there was one but it didn’t really matter that much. There was too much fun to be had and too many songs to be sung to worry about such details. Oh ok then.
Mad scientist (Todd McKenney) attracts fading soapie star, Gay Wrae from Home and Away (Trevor Ashley) to his deserted island where he is recreating dinosaurs in a topsy turvy theme park, Thoracic Park. Sound familiar? Well it should.
And when we discover there is a giant ape called King Shlong who wants to ravage everyone and every thing on the island, well I think you know what to expect.
From the chaotic minds of Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott, the script is jam packed with allusions to and misquotes from a myriad of celebrities, movies, musicals and reality TV shows.
The support cast (Shauntelle Benjamin, Shannon Dooley and Brendan Irving) were outstanding with great comedic timing, vocal ability and even some clever circus skills from Brendan, which like everything in this production was grist for comedy’s mill. But the show belonged to Ashley and McKenney who propelled the story with more than a wink to the audience and some brilliant self-referencing. At times it seemed the burden of carrying the show leant too heavily on Ashely’s shoulders, so that by the final scene he was overwhelmed by the supportive audience response.
The inflatable sets were funny but difficult and didn’t always want to behave as designed, sometimes ending up as obstructive piles on an overcrowded backstage. But it didn’t really matter as that became part of the joke in the deft hands of Ashley.
One aspect that wasn’t pardonable was the sound mix at the start of the show, with the singers having to shout to be heard over the top of the music. Notable in the program was the lack of a sound designer. In hindsight, a false economy or an unfortunate oversight.
But boy did we have fun. Despite the mandatory face masks, you could hear the smiles on everyone’s faces.
For tickets and more go here.
At time of writing, season runs to December 12.