Review | ‘A Night of Musical Theatre’ is food for your soul

A Night of Musical Theatre | Connections Nightclub | til Feb 5 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Earlier in the day I’d read an article about the venue for A Night of Musical Theatre – Connections Nightclub – and it was the few lines of newspaper column announcing Connections birth in 1975 that played in my mind as I entered the building to watch this Fringe offering.

The show opened with all six wildly talented artists on stage, belting out Seasons of Love from Rent. The high quality, passionate and local ensemble is made up of Lisa Michelle, Mia Simonette, Therese Cruise, David Gray, Nicolas Cruse and Juan Albanese.

As Seasons of Love rang out I wasn’t initially transported to the AIDS crisis; the backdrop against which Rent, the musical from which the song originates, plays out. Instead I flashed back five and a half years to the Perth memorial gathering, after the devastating events in Orlando. As I listened I looked at the beautiful, young and vibrant people on stage and around me in the audience; I looked up at the mirror balls on the ceiling and at the dance floor beneath my feet and let the lyrics wash over me evoking reverence and love for all the beautiful, young and vibrant folk who’ve come before us.

A Night of Musical Theatre is comfort food for your soul. The songs are familiar and expertly delivered. The performers are dressed to impress but not in costume. The set is simple coloured lights against a black background and yet each different song sets a vastly different scene. This level of skill is not simply about holding a tune, it is about giving life to emotions and conveying them to the audience with full bodied performances, both figuratively and literally. With no set or costumes or choreography to carry the show this pared down, purity of performance was perfection!

My companion for the evening was my son’s new partner, who knew half the cast and all the numbers. They absolutely reside in the centre of the Venn diagram which is the LGBTQIA+ community and musical theatre! From someone who performs in the local musical theatre scene the joy of their reactions, the audible gasps of delight, only enhanced my own enjoyment. The camaraderie between the cast members and an intimate setting with a decent contingent of friends in the audience made for a warm and fuzzy, feel good vibe.

The renditions were heartfelt and sometimes accompanied by personal anecdotes. David Gray partnered with Nicholas Cruse, who shared a snippet of his pre Covid existence, before they powerfully duetted Roxanne. Gray later sang A Little Bit from Crazy, Just Like Me, about coming out as gay and likened the lyrics to his own experiences, this performance powerful in a different way, with gentle strength and self compassion.

The finale was a song from Kinky Boots. My night’s companion had performed in the local production of this musical and their squirming and squeaking as the opening notes rang were drowned out only by the cheer from the audience as iconic, long, red, heeled boots strode across the stage. For me though, my thoughts were with a friend on the other side of the world, who co-wrote the screenplay for the movie the musical is based on. He’s a friend I am most fond of and it’s often struck me how remarkable it truly is to be able to see your thoughts and words go out into the world and develop a life of their own, and give so much meaning to so many.

With everything happening in the world the Fringe Festival offers us a chance to escape, or a chance to come home and whichever end of the spectrum you fancy, you are sure to find something to suit. At the end of the show David Gray exhorted the audience to go out and see everything Fringe has to offer, and I can only echo those sentiments. Over the last few years the arts have truly been a lifeline for us all, despite the blows they have taken as an industry.

For me, A Night Of Musical Theatre was like coming home and being greeted by old friends. There was a lovely feeling of community, and of connection … at Connections.

See A Night of Musical Theatre at Connections Nightclub until Saturday Feb 5. For tickets and more information, head to

Kate Salinger is a proud PFLAG+ Perth Mum, with a once upon a time background in dramatic arts. Kate enjoys writing and photography and active resistance of oppression. 

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