It’s a wonderful musical theatre story, full of songs that capture something ineffable and essential about country Australia. But it’s hard to decide if these are reasons are enough to see New Theatre’s roughshod and strangely lifeless production, directed by Trent Kidd.
While the second act is in much better shape than the first – its funny moments actually land, though the show’s more serious moments still get short shrift – the damage done in Act One can’t really be undone (especially not for the people I saw leaving at interval).
Kidd seems to be fighting a battle against the show’s embrace of the real and recognisable; his actors treat bush slang like it’s an exotic language, and though the lines are written with a natural ease, they feel tortured in the ensemble members’ mouths. There’s no room for cultural cringe in Summer Rain, but it’s everywhere in this production…. READ MORE