Printable CopyTOMFOOLERY
Loaded Productions
Domain Theatre
Until 22 Jul 2018

Review by Fran Edwards

Being a longtime fan of Tom Lehrer I could not miss a production of his songs. There were four performers – three singers and a pianist – presenting his satire and wicked sense of humour. The theatre at Marion was just the right sort of venue, and Mark Sandon was excellent on the piano giving the tunes all the oomph they needed and matching his pace to the performers delivering the songs.

I still love Tom Lehrer and his songs and it was nice to hear them aired again; they never get tired – that is, until someone tries to unnecessarily update them. It doesn’t work: they were written at a particular time in history, and although many are still relevant they need to be viewed through the lens of the period. Trying to relocate American songs to Australia doesn’t work any better that trying to sing “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” with American references.

The performers tried hard, perhaps too hard. I enjoyed Catherine Campbell’s version of “The Irish Ballad” and parts of “Masochism Tango”, although some of the songs appeared to be in the wrong key for her. Sean Weatherley did well with “The Elements” and “New Math”. Hew Parham lacked bite, which should have been in the sarcasm of “My Home Town” and “Smut”. Often their delivery was lacking and the timing poor.

I am not sure how much of this can be blamed on the director, Nicholas Cannon, but presumably he chose who sang which song. The rendition of those numbers sang as an ensemble were better, but still seemed lacking in energy.

Any other Lehrer fans like me would have enjoyed hearing his wit again but it a shame that any of the audience new to his comedy may have missed out on the full effect.