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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 12, 2020

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Step Back in Time with Ladies in Black

Step Back in Time with Ladies in Black

| On 22, Nov 2015

The world premiere of Queensland Theatre Company’s Ladies in Black was held at Qpac earlier on in the week to a glowing reception.  Adapted from Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black, this visually stunning production is given character and humour by playwright Carolyn Burns and award-winning director Simon Phillips. With original musical from singer songwriter, Tim Finn, Ladies in Black delivers catchy and unique music numbers that are often only reserved for the stages of Broadway.

Ladies in Black is set in the late 1950s in the prestigious department store – F.G Goodes. It is a coming of age musical about Lisa (Sarah Morrison), a young woman who is anxiously awaiting the results of her leaving exams. She hopes to go to university and become a poet despite her fathers’ disapproval. In the meantime, she begins working in F.G Goodes during the Christmas season.

During the season, she befriends her fellow colleagues in the women’s frock department and realises that the world is slowly beginning to change. There is Patty who is dealing with marital problems, the hopelessly-in-love Fay; and the mysterious and eccentric European Magda who shows Lisa a world of endless possibilities. Relying on each other for support, the women stand by each other to show that they are independent and strong.

Director Simon Phillips and his wife Carolyn Burns have created a classic Australian musical that is sure to stay around for many years to come. Ladies in Black is more than just a musical about a department store, it is a representation of the Australian nation in the 50s. The production doesn’t feature any absurd plots or dramatic deaths but rather tackles issues that many can relate to. With more than 20 original songs, the music is hilariously entertaining and at times, heart-crushingly sad. A song favourite of the night featured the women of the family sitting around the table discussing why men are “bastards” and I can definitely say that it earned a few cheers from the vocal women in the audience.

Ladies in Black 2

Despite the talented performers, all eyes were fixated upon the true star of the night, the wardrobe. The custom-designed dresses were stunning as the leading ladies swayed and twirled across the stage. Ladies in Black represents one of the biggest wardrobe projects for QTC in recent years and I am dying to see what more the ever-growing company has to offer. The set design by Gabriela Tylesova was sophisticated and clever, including a full revolving stage that ensured smooth transitions between scenes.

The on-stage interaction between Lisa and Magda (Christen O’Leary) is a definite strong point of the production. The dialogue effortlessly bounced between the two and provided some of the best laughs of the production. Sarah Morrison was beautifully innocent as the young Lisa and was able to hit all the right notes. QTC favourite O’Leary delivers flawless performance and accent in the role of Magda. She possesses just the right amount of energy and softness to make the character believable. With a strong supporting cast and an outstanding orchestra, Ladies in Black showcased some of the very best of Australia’s performing arts industry.

Ladies in Black provides audiences with a fantastic night out. It is not a heavy-hitting production but it doesn’t need to be. This original musical is a defining turn for QTC and really proves that they are one to watch (as if you didn’t already know that). Throw on a gorgeous frock or a suit, and head to QPAC this November to witness this fierce musical.


What Ladies in Black

Where QPAC

When 14 November – 6 December 2015

How Much $52 – 82

More information To purchase tickets, visit the QPAC website here

Image Credits: QTC