The Detective’s Handbook is like The Music Man meets Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Time Out Sydney)

imageNew and original Australian musicals (especially with original music) are rare. The musical theatre sector is dominated by replica revivals from the US and London. (In the 1950s, performer and choreographer Betty Pounder used to travel to New York and, in self-devised notation, mark down every moment onstage in popular Broadway musicals, so that they could be staged as exact replicas of the Broadway original – now we just have rights agreements and resident directors to do the job at home). These shows are great for producers: they are tried and tested properties that don’t require extensive and expensive workshops, tryouts, and trial and error to be stage ready, and they come with the cultural currency of being ‘direct from Broadway/The West End!’

Not so The Detective’s Handbook. This is a brand new Australian musical, and the second production developed through New Musicals Australia’s submission process to get a staging at the Hayes Theatre (the first was a jukebox musical built on the songs of The Whitlams). Olga Solar (music) and Ian Ferrington (book and lyrics) are in their twenties, and this is their first musical. They wrote the show for the Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble, through which it premiered in 2014. The result is refreshingly original… READ MORE

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