Review | Forbidden Broadway is a laugh out loud bundle of fun

Forbidden Broadway | State Theatre Centre | Until Nov 20 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

A quintessential part of the experience of heading out to see a show in New York is queueing for last minute discount tickets to big Broadway shows. There’s a ticket outlet in Times Square, it’s under those glowing red stairs where Jay Z and Alicia Keyes sang about how the city’s streets will make you feel brand new and the lights will inspire you.

The queue stretches out across Times Square, back down towards 42nd Street, and I’ve shuffled forward in it, snow pelting down in my face, grasping a Venti sized takeaway Starbucks coffee to keep warm – all in the hope of scoring some really cheap tickets to see Mamma Mia, The Lion King or Spiderman – The Musical. 

While you slowly progress in the queue, touts for Off-Broadway shows promote their shows tempting you to leave the queue and sign on to see their work, it’s just a subway ride downtown to see what is always promised as a talented cast and the best show you’ll ever see. It’s a road I’ve never taken, but I’ve only ever been in New York in the dead of winter – so the chances of scoring a ticket to a good show were always pretty high.

Last night, that journey down an untraveled road was fulfilled, because one of the most applauded Off-Broadway shows has been transported to the State Theatre Centre. Watching Forbidden Broadway was like being magically whisked away to the Big Apple for a night of fun and old fashion showbusiness flare.  It was delivered by an exceptionally talented cast that had the audience in fits of laughter.

In the firing line are some of Broadway’s greatest icons and much loved musical. The satirical show pokes fun at everything from it’s stars including Chita Rivera, Liza Minelli, Stephen Sondheim, and Carol Channing. In quick succession the performer cast their eye over iconic musicals taking in everything from Les Misérables, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, Hello Dolly, Annie, Wicked, Rent Hairspray and all your favourite shows.

The cast are flawless in their delivery. Elethea Sartorelli, Peter Cumins, Rachel Monamy and Callan Kneale are extremely talented performers who could easily be on a Broadway stage, and they are all clearly loving poking some fun and deliver outlandish performances. Just to see Elethea Sartorelli’s take on ‘One Note Liza’ is worth the price of the ticket. Accompanying them on piano is Sammy McSweeney, who often appears with the Perth Pride Choir.

You might wonder if you need to an aficionado of musicals to understand this show, but the works they are celebrating are so well known that even if you never seen the particular musical – you probably know it anyway, they are in the zeitgeist.               

The show is only on for a few more night, and it will have you laughing out loud and singing along. It’s like taking a trip to New York, but you only have to go to Northbridge.

Get tickets to Forbidden Broadway from Perth Theatre Trust, and read our interview with Director Andrew Dobosz.  

Graeme Watson, images Christian Ingram, Deprimo Photography.

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