We’ve all heard about the dinner and a show night out but what about dinner as a show? Table for Six, Please! brings together some of Australia’s best female musical theatre talent for a celebration of standout leading lady characters from across the decades. From Elphaba to Velma to Muriel and Rhonda, there was bound to be a favourite number for everyone in this line-up.
The evening opened with beloved musical director Lucy Bermingham entering the stage and jumping straight into “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, a perfect opening number to introduce the night’s performers. Geraldine Turner, Chloe Dallimore, Madeleine Jones, Georgina Hopson, and Olivia Vasquez settled themselves down for their custom dinner party, directed by Luke Joslin, for an array of delicious delights.
For the first course, each performer chose a favourite song from a character they’ve played in the past. Hopson stepped up first with “Back to Before” from Ragtime from her role as Mother last year. Vasquez followed with a more recent number from In the Heights before Dallimore wowed with an emphatic performance of “When You Got It, Flaunt It” from the Producers. Jones replaced Bermingham on the piano for Girl’s song “The Hill” from Once and then cast a very Australian tone over the evening with “Amazing” from Muriel’s Wedding, a pure moment between beloved characters Muriel and Rhonda. Turner closed the first course with the classic heart-wrencher “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver! before breaking into a Chicago “Class” duet with Dallimore.
The mains were where things got exciting when each performer was asked to pick a song from the roles they haven’t played yet. Jones knew immediately that her heart is set on playing Jenna in Waitress, offering a heartfelt rendition of the iconic song “She Used to be Mine”. Dallimore showed off her cartwheeling, splits, and high kicks in the tongue-in-cheek “Show Off” from the Drowsy Chaperone. Hopson’s breathless “Journey to the Past” from the stage adaptation of Anastasia won over millennials in the audience from pure nostalgia for the Russian princess’s story.
It wouldn’t be a celebration of women in musical theatre without a mention of Wicked. Vasquez chose Elphaba’s often overlooked song “The Wizard and I” with the stage bathed in green in tribute. Then Hopson joined her on stage for “I Still Believe” from Miss Saigon, a really interesting example of women’s classic duets. The evening came to a tearful but powerful end with “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard, performed expertly by Turner.
As a celebration of women in musical theatre, the program was a wonderful collection of old and new, past and future, for both the audience and the performers. It captured most especially the many complicated ways love is depicted in musical theatre between lovers, best friends, and even strangers. And with the final reprisal of “The Ladies Who Lunch”, it was clear that underneath the night was a profound love of the theatre and all that it brings to us; genuine characters, connection, and simple joy!
Table for Six, Please! was performed and streamed online for Riverside Theatres Digital on November 6th
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