Printable CopyTHE NEW MOON
SA Light Opera Society (SALOS)
Tower Arts Theatre
Until 25 Apr 2021

Review by John Wells

As the audience settles in, the lights go up on the beaming smile of director Pam Tucker, centre stage. Tucker welcomes us all with infectious delight; her sense of joy that we can all sit in a theatre is infectious. It is this genuine warmth that makes community theatre an important part of Adelaide’s amateur scene.

“The New Moon” is a solid and effective production, with all the hallmarks of community theatre.

This operetta (described as a “romantic musical play”) has a convoluted plot involving an escaped French nobleman on the run from a zealous detective, oppressed indentured servants, down-trodden ex-husbands, a utopian colony and, of course, unrequited love. This somewhat baffling tale takes nearly three hours to resolve itself…

There is a sense of fun, camaraderie and inclusion, which is reflected in the hearty and warm response from the audience. There are some lovely vocal performances and some funny characterisations among the varied cast, as well as excellent musical support from musical director Kate White and her tight band. The principals (in particular Claire Langford, Tom Fraser and Dione Baker) all have beautiful voices and give strong vocal performances. There is some excellent comic acting from Aslan Anderson-Usher, Maria Davis Dione Baker; this trio’s energy and commitment to their characters lift every scene they are in. The costumes are colourful and well-designed (Cyndy Trezise and Pam Tucker) and add a professional sheen to this show.

That said, this is a loose and fairly scrappy show overall, lacking polish and finesse. Tucker’s direction is staid; more energy, more pace and zest, and a better appreciation of the essence of each character would have made this a better show. Too often scenes limp along with little momentum. The acting is often hesitant and the quality of the chorus varies throughout the show.

Your level of enjoyment of this production depends on your preparedness to embrace the pros and cons of grass-roots theatre.