After an enthusiastic preview night earlier this week, Breast Wishes opened last night at The Armidale Playhouse.
Breast Wishes is an Australian play that is full of comedic zing, as you would expect from a script Wendy Harmer collaborated on. It also has very touching and poignant moments, and the Director, Donna Wainohu is to be commended for getting the balance right. If the laughter in the audience is anything to go by this show is definitely one to wash away the stress of the week and have a good night out.
Breast Wishes is an ensemble piece, with a cast of six playing multiple roles to great effect. Each actor is well suited to their roles, and each very much deserved the laughter, giggles, and at some of the more touching moments, the teary eyes in the audience. It’s quite a journey.
Melanie Rumble’s acting chops were impressive, along with her commitment to the role, in what is perhaps the most challenging individual role in the ensemble.
It was pleasing to see Catherine Wright return to the stage after quite a significant break. If you have seen Catherine perform you know that she is an excellent actress with great comic timing. You may recall her from the 2002 production of Les Miserables as Madame Thenadier, a role in which she also shone.
Doug Rumble is exceptional in his roles and an absolute standout as Dr Cleavage. His experience in musical theatre and beautiful voice holds him in good stead in this production. There were certainly some older ladies in the audience swooning over his performance during the intermission.
Hannah Edwards, seemed particularly well suited to the role of Carol. Hannah is studying theatre at the University of New England however this is her first musical.
Grace Saxton is new to the stage having only appeared in the ensemble (and stepsister understudy) in the ADMS production of Into the Woods. She is, however, a delight in her role, and the only way is up as she gets more stage experience.
A favourite character was that of Narelle played by Sarah Meyer. With almost no dialogue to work with she created a character that well and truly held its own.
The music was toe-tapping and the small band led by Will Mackson, also on piano, Callum Dowling on bass, and Jack Cavanagh on drums, really set the mood.
As you would expect from any production choreographed by Tracey James, the choreography is very effective and makes best use of the constraints of the small stage. The choreography is clever and well suited to the performances. Tracey has a real art for choreography and working with actors and singers, often with little to no dance experience, to bring a musical number to life.
The show does have an MA15+ rating due to its themes – and its focus on breasts – however nothing is gratuitous. So, use your judgement.
One final reason to check this show out, an initiative of Donna Wainohu, Stillwater Productions, Breast Wishes is a fundraiser for National Breast Cancer Month. 100% of ticket sales are being donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation!
Breast Wishes is running until September 30. You can book tickets at www.trybooking.com/CKDET
And as we head into Pink Ribbon Month in October, don’t forget to get checked!
Top image: (L-R) Grace Saxton, Doug Rumble and Sarah Meyer (Terry Cooke)
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