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Little Women stands test of time


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Little Women is a timeless literary classic written by Louisa May Alcott which follows the lives, loves and tribulations of fours sisters growing up during the American Civil War. Little Women, The Broadway Musical is an adaptation of the novel and takes a fresh approach to the narrative with live orchestral music, singing, dancing and spirit.

The Therry Dramatic Society opened its production of the latter at Adelaide’s Arts Theatre last night to an almost sell-out crowd. Little Women is a great story enjoyed across generations, and this musical adaptation remains true to the original characters and narrative.

Jo, played by Catherine Hancock, is a young, willful, headstrong woman who is finding her voice as a writer. Hancock’s performance is genuine and believable as she attempts to navigate a life outside the norm in a society where girls are expected to be docile, ladylike and submissive for potential wealthy husbands. Older sister Meg is played by Rebecca Raymond, with Emily Schwab as Amy and Millicent Sarre as Beth.

The musical is a beautiful piece which explores the rich nuances of family, sisterly love and change. Perhaps I’m being nostalgic about the “good old days”, but this tightknit and loving family is a world away from what we experience today. Instead of mobiles and tablets, the sisters write, draw, sing and play the piano. Life seems decongested, allowing the girls to exist for each other. In this heartfelt story, the characters are very much anchored in their hearts.

This musical is the closest you’ll get to Broadway in Adelaide, complete with a big band and uplifting theatrical experience. Moments of great humour are easily interwoven with the trials and tribulations of each sister.

The piece is ultimately well-produced, directed and performed, if a little too long. The costumes and set design reflect the basic simplicity of the era, with the well-orchestrated sets effectively transitioning the scenes. The score is moving and powerful, but at times too loud, overpowering more delicate dialogue.

If you are interested in musicals, Little Women, The Broadway Musical will not disappoint. For those who love the book but are unsure of the genre, there may be initial resistance to the change of form, but the music and performances are convincing and it impossible not to care for this family.

Little Women, The Broadway Musical is playing at The Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide. June 6-8 June at 8pm; June 11-15 June at 8pm; matinees both Saturdays at 2pm.


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