A knock-out performance from David Campbell and revisiting the musical classics of the 50s and 60s are two of many delights awaiting audiences attending Dream Lover – the Bobby Darin Musical.
Brilliant choreography, colourful costumes and creative staging are other highlights of the jukebox musical playing at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre until March 4.
Dream Lover tells the action-packed life story of Bobby Darin (Campbell), the legendary American singer, songwriter and actor. Diagnosed as a youngster with a weak heart, as a result of rheumatic fever, Darin was expected to die at a young age. But he was a fighter.
Much of the material for this Australian written and produced musical comes from the book “Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee” written by Darin’s son Dodd.
Around 50 songs from the 1950s and 1960s are used in the musical to illustrate Darin’s colourful career and personal life.
We learn of his upbringing in the Bronx, his changing musical styles and the reasons for these changes, his acting career, the major personal events in his life which influenced the many award winning songs he wrote and performed and his interest in politics.
We watch him interact with those who had the greatest influences in his life including his wife, Sandra Dee (Hannah Fredericksen), his mother (Marina Prior, who also plays Sandra Dee’s mother) his sister (Marney McQueen), her partner Charlie ( Rodney Dobson) and his manager Steve Blauner (Martin Crewes). A young Bobby (played excellently on opening night by Hudson Sharp ) provides an insight into his early years.
Campbell’s performance is amazing thanks to his singing, acting and on stage presence. He has great rapport with all the cast members who also perfectly showcase their great singing and acting skills.
An 18-piece band is another highlight of the show. The band is housed in a tiered bandstand which forms a circle around the set. Hundreds of differently coloured light bulbs are located around the bandstands to create moods and locations. The many set and costume changes occur effortlessly and efficiently.
A hard working, colourful and skilled ensemble support many of the show’s biggest numbers including the opening piece, Mack the Knife, replete with a chorus of dancing serial killers. Equally as colourful are several other numbers which highlight Darin’s time in Las Vegas.
It’s this colour together with the choreography, the band, the staging, and of course the performance of the cast, which ensures Dream Lover offers a highly entertaining and, for some, nostalgic night at the theatre.
Dream Lover – the Bobby Darin Musical is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne until March 4. Visit the Dream Lover website for more information.
Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Dream Lover as a guest of the producers.
*Photo credit: Brian Geach
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