If you’ve seen any major production at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) over the past 20 years, then the Curtain Call 20th Birthday Celebration has something for you.
Kicking off on Monday night, the spectacular show swept across the full gamut of major shows put on at the lauded venue, with regulars, alum and a few local stars taking part to contribute to a true celebration of how much MPAC has brought to the region over two decades.
Starting off with an ode to the experience of performance, Curtain Call delved into some of the most famous and loved numbers from the range of international shows MPAC has put on.
Annie, Cabaret, Paint Your Wagon, all shows that at one point or another were serious productions on the biggest world stages, have been taken and once again performed through Mandurah’s skilled and passionate actors over the years.
The show was dedicated to capturing that passion, and as quickly as it ran through the songs, managed to distill so many years of worthwhile theatrics.
Of note was the talent that came out to support the show, past and present members of MPAC. Ali Hill’s handling of I Don’t Know How To Love Him, from Jesus Christ Superstar, was spectacular – while the appearance of Cabaret’s Tomorrow Belongs to Me – in which German boys and men sing their allegiance to the Nazi Party – was handled with the gravity it deserves, and was powerfully moving.
While each performance was handled with the professionalism you’d expect, there was a slight undercurrent of knowing irony, a slight breaking of the fourth wall in which cast and audience shared the knowledge of how important this 20-year milestone is.
Of course, the show wouldn’t be an MPAC milestone without an appearance from everyone’s favourite political thespian, David Templeman.
Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show served as the perfect foil for the long-time champion of arts in the region, it being decidedly unique compared to the other productions on show.
He hadn’t lost any of the skills, either, channeling Neil Diamond – maybe by the way of Paul Simon or James Taylor, slightly – to carry the songs as well as any other professional.
The second act saw the action heat up even more, with songs from Hairspray and Les Miserable showing off the full range of musical and acting ability in the cast.
Seeing more recent shows, like Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, was also a more reinforcing reminder of just how far MPAC – the venue itself, but also the cast, crews, and everyone else involved – has come in the past 20 years. Here’s to 20 more.
Curtain Call runs for a second show tonight, Tuesday August 8, from 7.30pm. Tickets are available on 9550 3900 or through manpac.com.au.