Little Town Liars, created and directed by Joshua Hopton-Stewart.
Bats Theatre, until February 15, 8pm.
With all the fanfare of a Hollywood premiere, Bats Theatre has opened its new premises in Dixon St with lighthearted, fun-filled, homegrown high-energy musical Little Town Liars, by Joshua Hopton-Stewart.
The year is 1956 and in a not-so-innocent small country town in the southern state of Louisiana, Jake (Jared Pallesen) and his sister Belinda (Annabel Harris) and their friend Shirley (Ellie Neal) disappear into the woods to share what they think are innocent herbal pills in order to celebrate Shirley's birthday. They don't reappear back home until three days later.
Their excuse to their parents and townsfolk for being away so long is that they were abducted by aliens. The story spreads and they become celebrities. But then the aliens story becomes an excuse to cover all the misdemeanours of the so-called upright law-abiding citizens.
Embezzlement, adultery, drug taking is all the result of the aliens.
But then eventually truth finds out and everything goes back to the way it was but not before the little town of liars has washed all its dirty linen in public.
Witty, bouncy lyrics and catchy tunes, along with taut and crisp dialogue, coupled with excellent period costumes, makes this show an hour of high octane energy that never misses a beat.
It is therefore to the credit of creator Joshua Hopton-Stewart that not only has he created a little gem of a musical but he has directed it with flare and imagination.
There is nothing deep and meaningful about the show, that's not its intention, but rather it is a wonderful send-up of a particular period and style in American history that was seen so vividly on film and television during the 1950s.
And while the heightened, over-the-top style occasionally does become a little manic the large cast all, without exception, contribute much to the success of the show.
They capture the essence of the era with their looks, gestures and pronounced southern accents that gives the whole production a wonderful sense of sickly wholesomeness.
Little Town Liars is a very entertaining show that is not only a great start to the Fringe Festival but also makes for a great opening show in the temporary new Bats Theatre.
- The Dominion Post
Have you read Kiwi author Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries?Related story: What now for Eleanor Catton?