Musical isn’t where one’s mind first goes when they think of Carrie.
Here brought to life at Marrickville’s Depot Theatre fresh off Riverdale’s tongue in cheek take on the play, the first Stephen King novel adapted to screen reckons heavily in the minds of filmgoers everywhere for good reason. Carrie’s sheltered upbringing, her lack of inclusion at high school and burgeoning telekinetic powers famously lead to some memorably shocking sequences, here staged with some tunes to boot.
Heavier on the melodies than the scares, the few occasions where Carrie’s (Kirralee Elliott) powers result in upheavals in far-flung corners of the set are among the best of the production. Using simple and effective if seldomly deployed theatrics, the big event, that one which will no doubt have King fans reserved in quiet anticipation, is managed very well. Matching clever sound design with some more physically demanding advents, the sequence is a creative highlight.
Interestingly and to the play’s benefit, the team have kept the context of the events largely non-specific. Characteristics of the novel’s setting, famously decades ago, are largely anachronous to the presence of say mobile phones that make a small showing; but one innovation which renders this still very relevant story just that bit more relatable.
The ensemble pieces are among the strongest, with the placement of the stage occasionally causing performers in solo numbers or duets to sing directly away from tranches of the audience. A key later encounter between Carrie and her mother (Michele Landsdown) lacks the intensity, consequence and indeed a necessary illustration of the extent of Carrie’s abilities (only teased in passing throughout) to effectively lay the groundwork for the play’s two ensuing and most shocking sequences.
Elliott is a stand-out as the outcast slowly coming to terms with her abilities, here matched by Rachel Tunaley as Carrie’s least favourite classmate Chris. Headlining ‘The World According to Chris,’ the quality of this number is only bettered by the troupe’s upbeat, exuberant rendition of the much better known “A Night We’ll Never Forget” where the skills of the talented ensemble best shine through.
Kirralee Elliott, Michele Lansdown, Heather Campbell, Matthew Pritchard, Lauren Anne Paul, Matt Laird, Rachel Tunaley, Zach Selmes, Kristy Hooper, Jasmine Sands, Sinead Cristaudo, Jared Pallesen, Nic Savage, Hamish Stenning, Sophie McGregor and Lincoln Elliott
Producer: Lucy Allen
Director: Hayden Tonazzi
Assistant Director/Choreographer: Laura Balboni
Musical Director: Zara Stanton
25 Jul – 4 August, 2018
The Depot Theatre, Marrickville