What a delightful production presented in vaudeville style. Don’t ever underestimate the ability of senior citizen’s to shake a leg or two. 70 Girls 70 is a musical about a group of senior citizens living in a run down New York hotel that is about to be sold off to developers. Facing homelessness and defenceless to do anything about it, they await their fate. That is until Ida, who left the hotel months prior, returns. Not only is she dressed to the nines, complete with a mink coat, she invites them all to a lavish dinner to propose an outrageous plan to save them from being turned out on the streets.
Sit up and pay attention. Senior citizen’s are sneakier than you think. The knitting, bingo and card games are just a cover-up for a more sinister breed of self-made criminals. Of course, these particular ones have their heart in the right place, so do their criminal activities really count as criminal? You’ll need to watch and judge for yourselves. Their antics are hilarious.
Ida, played by Anne Ryan, is a delight to watch as the astute leader of the gang. Eunice was hilarious as was the comedy team of Melba and Fritzi. Sadie also made an impression with her larger than life stage presence that rewarded her with plenty of laughs from the audience. As a whole, the cast was delightful and a credit to director Roger McKenzie who not only pulled off a challenging production but his attention to detail with set changes was to be admired. We were treated to eight set changes from the Sussex Arms Hotel, The Cornucopia Tea Room, The Broadhurst Theatre, Sadie’s Fur Salon, Bloomingdale’s Fur Department, The Artic Cold Storage Company, The New York Coliseum and a Chapel. Whilst the behind the scenes set-up was occurring we were being entertained with transitional songs. One of my favourites was Go Visit Your Grandmother. I also have a soft spot for tap dancing routines. I was very impressed by the amazing transformations. There were a few technical issues with sound and lighting, which were minor glitches when you take the scale of the production into consideration.
There’s death, a wedding, explosions, police pursuit, renovations, bedroom scenes with the betrothed couple, self-imposed senility, exposure of undergarments, and a couple of wheelchairs to boot. By the thunderous applause given by the audience, both young and not so young, I can say that the production was a hit. You may not witness flawless performances but you’ll certainly enjoy a production full of heart and soul. It was obvious that the cast were fuelled by the audience’s enthusiasm, as they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience. We were told that the cast age total is 1589. If you’re a senior, 70 Girls 70 is sure to give your heart a kick-start and maybe give you inspiration to live a little dangerously. For the rest of you, you’ll be inspired that age has no limits except within our minds. I will certainly treasure this experience and encourage you to book tickets with a group of movers and shakers.
Review originally published on WeekendNotes
70 Girls 70 was performed at Gold Coast Little Theatre, Southport, QLD
Directed by: Roger McKenzie
Musical Director: Mary Walters
Assistant Director: Jon Allwood
Production Consultant: Hazel Phillips O.A.M
Stage Managers: Andrew Cockroft-Penman & Lee Patterson
Sound & Lighting: Koreena Stacey Nesbitt, Leonnie Jones, Rodrigo Medina Noël, Andrew Borg, Nick Munday.
Set Design: Roger McKenzie & Shane Caddaye
Ida: Anne Ryan
Harry: Brett Raguse
Eunice: Jann Alcorn
Walter: Joel Beskin
Gert: Judy Neumann
Melba: Marlene Blight
Fritzi: Noni Buckland
Edwina: Jessica Ng
Sadie: Maria Buckler
Grandma: Marilyn Culell
Mo: Daniel Green
Edna: Dawn Warrington
Marvin: Joe Feeney
Rosie: Laraine Keogh
Callahan: Lorraine Redden
Phil: Thian Sykes
Shoplifter: Bev Gannon
Kowalski: Henk Steenhuis
Daphne: Diana Dureau
Reviewed on 1st of July 2017 by Jacquelin Melilli