If there’s such a thing as musical theatre serendipity then the Hayes Theatre being the venue for this latest production of the musical, High Fidelity is it. The compact stage and intimate seating is the perfect format for this story of a down at the heel record store owner and his misfit clientele. From an audience perspective, it just felt so right.
High Fidelity is a clever little musical full of unexpected highlights. On paper, the story could seem real thin but with a clever pop rock score and some at times bloody hilarious lyrics that continually develop the plot and the characters for the duration of the show it’s a hoot. From satire dripping power ballads to deep (and deeply funny!) hip-hop, the songs have got it all.
What could easily degenerate into the cornball is saved by the characters themselves who, despite their comedic sensibilities, each have a back story and a depth of character that makes them a pleasure to get to know as the show progresses.
Loved the casting for this production! Toby Frances as Rob handled the emotional range of his sometimes shallow, sometimes vulnerable and sometime obnoxious character with obvious confidence. It did feel at times that he was a little stretched and pitchy at the top of his vocal range. Laura is Rob’s love interest in the show. Teagan Wouters showed her versatility belting out “#5 With A Bullet” with the Top 5 Breakup girls backing her up.
Special mention has to go to the other key males in the cast. Big man, Joe Kosky, as Barry had the audience in the palm of his hand from the get go. From his larger than life performance in the opening number, “The Last Real Record Store” to his Barry White channeling R&B rendition of “Turn The World Off (And Turn You One” he was “on” for the whole show. Can’t wait to see what he does next.
Dash Kruck in the role of shy Dick was cute – yep you read right – he was damn cute. The entire audience audibly sighed at his love struck bashfulness and loved him right back. Combined with a characterful voice that was perfect for his role, Kruck nailed the performance.
Ian was played by Nicholas Christo with energy, awesome comic timing and laugh out loud physicality. Without giving too much away, new age nut Ian is the perfect foil for man child Rob and Nicholas Christo and Toby Frances worked well together to bring these characters alive. Nicholas has a strong voice that he put to good use. The hilarious song, “Ian’s Here” had the audience rolling in the Hayes Theatres tightly packed aisles.
Musical Director Andrew Worboys did a great job interpreting the mostly eighties feel of the score and the set design incorporating the band (band as opposed to orchestra) into Rob’s record store worked well. The songs worked better with a “live” venue feel.
High Fidelity if nothing else, is a great little musical, a hidden gem. The cast all in all is strong, the story is fun, it doesn’t require too much emotional investment for the audience but it does leave a smile on your face. Which just goes to show, very good things come in small packages.
High Fidelity is running at Hayes Theatre, Potts Point until Sunday December 17th.