Printable CopyEDGES
Irregular Productions
The Parks Theatre
Until 11 Mar 2018

Review by Jamie Wright

Long before the hugely successful “Dear Evan Hansen” and awards for their songwriting in films like “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman”, Pasek & Paul (presumably Benj and Justin to their friends) wrote “Edges”.

It’s a song cycle, rather than a musical as such – about life as a 20-something and everything that comes with it. Four performers – Millicent Sarre, Casmira Hambledon, Mitchell Smith and Scott Reynolds – play all the characters, and the songs feature everything from a soloist through to all of them together.

Director Ellis Dolan (who also given himself a cameo as the singer in the pre-show entertainment: a bonus for those showing up early) has done a great job of making use of the space, using all parts of it – stage and otherwise. Theatre One at the Parks – a ‘hidden gem’ that’s been the home to a handful of shows this Fringe – is an excellent space, a thrust theatre with the audience in only four rows of raked seats in a semicircle; great for intimacy.

So, while it would be easy to stage this show as little more than a concert, here the foursome move around, change costumes, shift the set around and interact with the audience. They’ve also worked hard to ‘act’ the songs, not just sing them, which heightens the performances – a necessity for a song cycle, since you don’t have the benefit of a narrative to focus on. And this pays off; you feel for the characters in the emotional numbers, and laugh during the humorous ones.

Musical director/pianist Peter Johns, bass guitarist Louis Cann and drummer Max Ziliotto have played together many times – amongst other things they’re the ‘house band’ for the monthly Adelaide musical theatre open mic night, Broadway Sessions – and it shows; they’re excellent throughout, with more than a few of the numbers involving some tricky timing.

There was a touch of the opening night effect on tech – lighting, mics – but these had minimal impact.

Some of the songs are better than others, and after a while there aren’t a lot of surprises. And if you aren’t yourself a 20-something, you might just find yourself wondering if there aren’t more important things to be concerned about. But great performances from a talented and enthusiastic ensemble, the backing of a tight band, great directorial choices and an excellent venue make it worth the effort to check out this outside-the-CBD Fringe option.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)