SA Light Opera Society (SALOS)
Tower Arts Theatre
Until 29 Apr 2018

Review by Doug Phillips

Set in 1845, “Waltzes From Vienna” tells the story of Johan Strauss and his son of the same name, and the tension between the two as the younger Strauss aims to make his mark on Vienna as a composer, just like his very successful father. Johan the second is challenged by his desire to compose, against the disapproval of his accomplished and influential father (with just enough love-interest story-line thrown in)

Christian Evans’ performance as the younger Strauss is solid and complete. His character work is well thought through, and never slips. With a strong and pleasant voice, he’s a pleasure to watch.

Mitzi, played by Claire Langsford however, came close to stealing the show. Her humour is well delivered, and she too is a treat to listen to as she sings.

Other standouts include Brian Godfrey as Strauss senior, who nails the arrogance of the well-known composer; and Lina, played by Katrin Treloar, whose singing was delightful, if not a little soft.

Hats off to Trever Fleming as well, who gave us the character of Dommayer. A solid performance with only momentary lapses of accent to be considered. Christopher Stansfield as Captain Vassili Vronski is quite good too, with moments of humour and a good voice.

Andrew Trestrail also gave a strong performance as Vogl, although he could have used his superb voice louder at times. Ryan Smith’s Leopold was charming and amusing, but could probably have benefited from more confidence, which he should have had because he had nothing to be self-conscious about.

But the audience favourite is Ebeseder, played by Greg Paterson. His portrayal of the neurotic pastry chef and his premonitions is a source of much humour, and he has a great voice to boot.

Danielle Ruggiero-Prior as the Countess Olga Baranskaya was the strongest performance of all though. Her character was precise, her singing impressive, and her presence was commanding. Superbly cast, it was easy to see that Danielle really enjoyed performing the role, and the audience equally enjoyed witnessing her do so.

The orchestra handled the timeless and well-loved classic music with ease, under the direction of Helen Loveday (and Johan Senior and Junior at times). The sets were very minimal, but good use of lighting made up for it. Pam Tuckers direction seems to have taken a back seat to the singing, but all in all a good production, if not a little long.

But the audience deserves a nod for this one too though. Those theatre seats require an extra level of resilience and determination.