Fringe Review: Miss Westralia triumphs
Among the plethora of Fringe options from near and far this February was this local gem. Hidden away in a jam- packed guide - as well as literally, in the hard to find King’s Lair beneath His Majesty’s Theatre on Hay Street - Miss Westralia was an original musical comedy showcasing the talent and history of our state.
Co-creators Amelia Burke, Noemie Huttner-Koros and Madeline Clouston have fashioned a modern musical from historical source material. Miss Westralia tells the story of Beryl Mills (Madeleine Clouston), the first winner of the Miss Australia pageant who - as part of her duties - travels to the United States of America. It soon becomes very clear that Beryl has a mind of her own, and will not be used as the tool of media mogul Mr Frank Packer (yes, of those Packers).
Amelia Burke and Noemie Huttner-Koros take on multiple roles in this clever comedy. Burke’s comedic talents shine in a memorable turn as Beryl’s frustrated mother and wife taking her chance in big city dazzling America is hilarious.
John Mondelo does a stellar job on the keyboard, and gets the most laughs of the evening with his dual role as pageant organiser Mr Packer.
The humour is mostly of the gently satirical sort, using changing attitudes to make points about
today’s society. The use of the minimal onstage props endlessly inventive, as suitcases seamlessly become everything from cars to podiums and (in one memorable number set at sea) vomit bags.
The best is saved for last as Beryl battles it out with her past and future selves in an inventive number that is as visually engaging as it is musically intelligent. Kudos to lyricist and composer Jake Nielson for this one.
We left with a smile on our faces at this nostalgic look at the past, and look forward to hearing more from these talented creatives in the future.