A quick Google of the 1950s will show you a lot of black and white, but 'Ladies In Black' is a fresh burst of Australian colour, and with music by Tim Finn, there's not much room for error.
The musical, presented by Queensland Theatre, is filled with charm, wit and most importantly a real, raw timelessness. I can see it being carried on for years to come, and being enjoyed by audiences not only in Australia but globally.
The strength of the cast grouped with the catchy tunes and dynamic stage set makes 'Ladies In Black' one of those shows that you sing the songs from for hours afterwards.
When you start to feel for and sympathise with a character in a production, that's when you know they're doing a stellar job at their role. This is most certainly the case for Sarah Morrison who is sweet, innocent, caring and determined as Lesley (aka Lisa). She carries Lesley through the show effortlessly, and it's almost as if she has a bubble around her. The fragility of her voice and the way she approaches other characters makes her simply loveable and a delight to watch.
The music in the show is beautiful. Worth mentioning are: the title track 'Ladies In Black', 'Kissed A Continental' and perhaps the most well-received, 'He's A Bastard'. Each song in the show has its own personality and comes to life both visually and sonically. The revolving stage gives the music a real dynamic quality, as cast members come in and out of view while standing on the rotating floor.
This cohesive scene flow means that small sets and scenes are easily moved too, and there isn't huge props and backdrops to keep up with. Sometimes a show works better when there's less going on on stage, and this can be said for 'Ladies In Black'.
Although it's set in the '50s, 'Ladies In Black' tackles some truly relatable themes and experiences. Some of which include the joys of working in retail, waiting anxiously for exam results and finding your way in life. These can resonate with anyone young and old, so the appeal for the show is far-reaching.
Simon Phillips hits the nail on the head with the direction of this show. It's truly wonderful, charming and upbeat, with a superbly picked cast and the genuine potential to last a lifetime.
'Ladies In Black' plays Queensland Performing Arts Centre until 19 February.