The University Dramatic Society presents Dom Mckee for MP, a production written and directed by Matthew Nixon, scored by Brock Stannard-Brown & Paris Ceg and choreographed by Noa Gubbay and Nina Willoughby.
From the moment house lights of the Dolphin Theatre went down, we knew we were in for a Musical- note the capital ‘M’. This is by no means a criticism- Dom McKee For MP is an unashamed musical with all the bells and whistles. A jaunty score, some very dramatic lighting and a couple of show tunes to boot, Dom McKee for MP was presented in the perfect medium to bring the audience into 1961 Australia. Set in the fictional country town of Wolobole, population 1,000, the curtain rose on the local pub owned by the titular Dom McKee. We learn that Dom is running for the local MP position against Gloria Connolly, who has held the seat for 12 years. In desperation, he lies and accuses her of ‘slurping stroganoff with Khrushchev.’ From this comment, everyone is pulled into plotting and scheming, from the barman to the heads of the US and Russia.
The set was fairly minimal, but two folding panels were used to great effect in giving us a variety of distinct settings. The ten-piece band at the back of the stage were wonderful, playing an excellent original score, and this was all that was needed to draw us into a hyperbolic caricature of 60’s Australia. Within the first few minutes we had “God Save The Queen,” and rampant communist fears, which were a perfect set-up for the ridiculous plot to come. The vocals were great, however unfortunate technical difficulties were present, making some of the performances too quiet to hear behind the band. The standout vocal performances however, came from Rupert Williamson as the Prime Minister and Harry Pitts as the flamboyant barman-slash-actor.
The show is rife with political intrigue and plotting, whilst remaining light hearted in its use of quintessential Australian touchstones. From Vegemite, to Luna Park and the Great Emu War, the play was filled with nods to Australia both now and then- even a rousing kazoo rendition of Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘Horses’. It poked fun at Russians and Americans in equal part, with the juvenile Australia caught somewhere in the middle, hilariously represented by the Prime Minister and his secretary, played by Nick Warrand. The first act was slightly stronger than the second, with some of the intertwining plots becoming a little muddied in the latter. However, this was delightfully clarified by a show-tune duet between a local MP (played by Imogen Rabbitte) and the media mogul Vicky Smethick (played by Victoria Hooke). This is a representative of the fun silliness that is present from the local pub all the way up to the heads of state.
If you’re like us – people who like a good laugh and love a capital-M-Musical – you can’t go wrong with Dom McKee for MP, showing at the Dolphin Theatre until the 12th of May. Dom McKee has our vote.
Mason Lamotte & Luciano Spadoni
Images Supplied by Home School Drop-Out Productions