Emma Conley: The Light and Shade of “The Wild Party”

Posted on August 2, 2013


My name is Emma and I am . . . not fond of musicals. However, a trip to the Revolt Artspace in Kensington to see Four Letter Word Theatre’s production of The Wild Party made me reconsider everything I’ve previously thought about the musical genre and I can honestly say I had a really great night at the theatre!


Rosa McCarty as Queenie and James Cutler as Burrs in Four Letter Word Theatre’s “The Wild Party”.

Set in the decadent gin-fuelled nightlife of 1928 Manhattan where “everybody wants to be a blonde or do a blonde”, The Wild Party offers us a dazzling glimpse into the world of 1920s vaudeville and the intriguing characters who inhabited the social scene surrounding the stage.

The show is performed by a stellar cast who rushed through the audience while engaging in cat-calling and sensual numbers involving poles. The cast is led by the phenomenal James Cutler (Burrs) and seductive Rosa McCarty (Queenie). Although the majority of the second half is delivered in song, outstanding performances by Cutler, Alana Kiely (Kate) and Maree Barnett (Dolores) make the experience thoroughly electrifying. Barnett’s ability to maintain Dolores’ accent and charm throughout her musical numbers is testament to her skill and professionalism.

Let the debauchery ensue!

Let the debauchery ensue!

Furthermore, the sheer talent of the incredible orchestra coupled with the subtle brilliance of Giancarlo Salamanca (Goldberg) and Renee Pope-Munro (Sally) is harmonious. Pope-Munro’s enchanting voice transports us to another era. The clever pairing of Sam Dariol and James Worsnop as Oscar and Phil has you relishing the lighter side of a production which deals with dark themes.

While there were some issues with the lighting, which can probably be attributed to opening night jitters, it is the music, performances, and stunning costumes by Kim Ritchie which gives the show such integrity. Containing domestic violence, drug use, appropriate blackface (didn’t think I’d EVER say that), sexuality in all its glorious shapes and forms, dancing, booze and show-stopping numbers (“Queenie Wazza Blonde”, “Best Friend”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Gin”, “Wild”, and “Need”) this is one show you do not want to miss!

Emma Conley is You’re Dripping Egg’s newest contributor. You can read more from YDE on Melbourne theatre here.

Posted in: Theatre