Spotlight Theatre, Ashmore
There is something exciting yet nerve-racking about seeing one of your favourite musicals brought to life on a local stage, however with a challenging score and heart wrenching storyline, Spotlight Theatre have achieved yet another fine piece of theatre in Next to Normal.
Effectively directed by young and upcoming director Joshua McCann-Thomson, the simplicity in every aspect of this production, from set design to stage direction, helped the focus to remain on the central theme of mental illness. This triple Tony Award winning rock musical composed by Tom Kitt, with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, tells the story of an emotionally unstable mother and the dysfunctional effects her illness has on her family. In the intimate setting of the Basement at Spotlight Theatre, this top-notch cast brought this touching story to life and ironically showed how much of a ‘ functional family’ they have grown into as a cast.
While it is hard to pinpoint stand out performances of this well-oiled ‘family’, popular Southeast Queensland performer Arlie McCormick convincingly portrayed the struggles and triumphs of a mental patient undergoing dated treatments in the role of Diana (the mother).
With the majority of the story delivered through song, Musical Director Liam Cruz competently led the band, while local performer Ethan Jones made his debut on the creative side as Vocal Director helping the cast to produce stellar vocal harmonies that aptly conveyed the raw emotion of the story.
Expect a few tears, a couple of laughs, and an intricate story that will no doubt pull heavily on your heartstrings.
Next To Normal played the Basement at Spotlight Theatre until the 12 April. Tickets at spotlighttheatre.com.au