Summer Street at Waterloo East Theatre: ‘light-hearted production that is unapologetically silly.’
Sunbathing in 90s Aussie soap nostalgia, Andrew Norris’ musical has arrived at Waterloo East theatre until the 2nd June. Reminiscing on sunnier television times, Summer Street is a light-hearted production that is unapologetically silly.
Five years after the last episode’s broadcast, four stars from the Australian soap opera ‘Summer Street’ are brought back together for a celebratory live reunion episode. Exempting the show’s biggest star, Steph (Julie Clare), we see how the majority of the actors now live darker lives consequential to their characters’ ridiculous deaths that ended their time on the show. The collection of short sketches throughout the show bare a great reminiscence of the eccentric storylines and artificial performances that were so loved by UK audiences in Home and Away and Neighbours.
A clever twist at the end of the production saves a slightly feeble storyline. The unfortunate consistent mumbling over dodgy Australian accents throughout makes much of the dialogue unclear, although the singing is miles ahead; boasting brilliant harmonies. Yet the songs are a little underwhelming. Perhaps a jukebox score as originally devised several years ago would be more effective and appropriate for this musical.
Imperfected cheesiness throughout the production prevented any attempts of an emotional impact from the sad storylines of the actors’ lives. This also created a cringier, less humorous, style of comedy. Relying on the same gags caused some of the audience to become detached.
Similar to her character’s role, Julie Clare truly carries this musical with her superb voice and overall ‘ripper’ performance with a distinct leading lady flair. Nevertheless, the rest of the cast are marvellous, all committed to strong performances. Sarah-Louise Young’ secondary soap character, Sheila, is genuinely hilarious and provides one of the funniest moments in the show. Simon Snashall wonderfully provides the angry, yet soft, Bruce and Myke Cotton gives his all to rather empty roles.
Thirsty for bouncier songs and choreography, Summer Street is very much dependant on nostalgia, provoking the thought that perhaps this show is stuck in the past. Regardless of its under-developed flaws, this musical is what it advertises; perfect for fans of Aussie soaps looking for a fun piece of theatre.
Summer Street is at the Waterloo East Theatre until the 2nd June, 2019.
Photograph credit: Simon Snashall.