Queanbeyan Players Inc. Presents Kismet
at the Q, Friday June 13.
Thompson Quan Wing’s gorgeous set evoking Ancient Baghdad is the first sight to greet the audience in the Queanbeyan Players production of Kismet. Cleverly combining aesthetics with functionality, the ornate screens and building silhouettes did much to create the exotic atmosphere for the love story. Quan Wing also took the role of the Caliph, demonstrating that he is a man totally immersed in theatre. His vocal range is excellent. While he played his part with warmth, a little more fiery passion would have added conviction to the regal role.
Leigh Wilmington’s lighting design bathed the stage in sympathetic colours, supporting the unfolding action. The feast of pigments and textures in Janetta McRae’s costumes created a rich visual treat, working with the other technical features of the production to transport the audience to another time.
Don Bemrose as The Poet, and hero of the Operetta, gave a strong vocal performance, portraying the underlying philosophical premise that a man may recreate himself to suit the needs of the circumstances in which he finds himself. Transforming from poet to beggar to Amir, Bemrose gave a convincing performance as the delightfully neglectful father of Marsinah – heroine of the show. His rendition of Gesticulate was a highlight where the humour of the lyrics worked well. Overall, it was difficult to hear a lot of the wit in the words, and perhaps use of closer microphones would have assisted the audience to pick up more of the fun.
Rosanna Boyd played Marsinah, and her strong, pure voice equipped her well for the leading role. Her attractive stage presence draws on an embodied understanding of understated humour, and she looked wonderful in her silver gown – every inch the Princess from the Moon Kingdom. The difficult Stranger in Paradise reprise was a tribute to her musicality, her soprano voice leading the way for the harmonisation of the other voices.
I have often enjoyed Paul Jackson’s performances. He has real gift for getting inside the story and acting from within the narrative and his performance as Omar Khayyam was a fine example of this skill.
Stephanie McAlister as Lalume was suitably seductive and gave a lively, engaging performance of Rahadlakum (turkish delight). She interacted well with her suspicious husband, The Wazir of Police, played by Michael Politi. Politi seemed a little constrained in his performance of Was I Wazir? – but I suspect it was more a problem of not being able to hear the words as clearly as I would have liked.
Overall, I think that the performance could have been tighter to strengthen the comic timing and increase the tension between the characters, thus getting maximum value out of the many double entendres. That said, Kismet is a visually delectable, musically charming production.
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