The Q Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
Fri-Sat March 7–22
There is no plot or story as such in Forbidden Broadway. Rather, it’s a sequence of acts, essentially musical, held together by the common thread of a good-natured ribbing of the musical and of musicians and of theatre in general. Broadly known as a cabaret, it’s more in the nature of a musical revue. Everything is fair game here and not even Barbra Streisand is sacred.
Take your favourite show tunes and put them to lyrics altered just enough to be hilarious send-ups and you have yourself an edition of Forbidden Broadway. This particular season at The Q seemed to be a mix of several Forbidden Broadway cabarets and featured an inspired mix of tunes from shows as popular as Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Les Miserables.
Of course, “mix” applies to the mangling of the lyrics as much as to the entire production recipe. The altered songs referred as often as not to singing as to backstage dramas, on-stage rivalries, showbiz rivalries and relationships.
The result is a great deal of fun, with a big, colourful set that somehow reminds you of one or two big-production sets you’ve seen before, dancing that evokes the razzamatazz of big Broadway productions and above all, songs. Songs that takes the little seriousness there is in the theatre musical and twists it into a fresh giggle.
The charm of Forbidden Broadway lies largely in its recognition of the quirks and characteristic mannerisms of the Broadway stars it mocks and in the accuracy of its gentle satirisms and occasional barbs. It was quite something to hear the playful cadenzas so characteristic of Barbra Streisand and the jolly choruses of Rogers and Hammerstein and to see the mannerisms of Lucy Durack, on lines those worthies have never sung and would never contemplate singing in reality.
It was a charmer of a night and I’m sorry if you missed the entire season.