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Reviews/Music/Musical Theatre

School musical on trend

20 January 2020

There’s a ring of authenticity when a 13 year old reviews a school musical by an up and coming youth theatre group. Bethany Stopher shares her insights into Amore Stage Production’s new show.

Review: Amore Stage productions, ‘Oakley & Olivia’ ·
Subiaco Arts Centre, 17 January 2020 ·
Review by Bethany Stopher, Age 13 ·

Oakley & Olivia is an original musical produced by Amoré Stage productions and Bailar Productions. Amoré (whose production Maisie won Best WA Children’s Show at the Fringe Festival in 2019) definitely set their standards high, judging from the quality of ‘Oakley and Olivia!’

The cast were very talented. There were many strong vocalists who did justice to the comical and catchy lyrics. Olivia, the sassy teenage sister, was perfectly portayed in this performance by Evie Madeleine. Oakley was performed by Zachary Gossatti, who captured the annoying little brother vibe perfectly. I was impressed with the child cast, who were all very confident performers. Before the performance, Olivia, Oakley and Dad (Joshua Towns) entertained the audience with their free style improvisation. It was remarkable how quickly they came up with things to say, and it set the tone for the performance. However, some of the incoming audience were reluctant to enter, as they had the impression that the show had already started.  

The story line of Oakley & Olivia (directed, written and composed by Paris Ceglinski) is comical and quirky. I loved the bickering between the siblings and father, and the antics of the cave people had the audience roaring with laughter. I think audiences will appreciate the references to modern day trends. For example, the siblings describe Trump to the olden day school kids as an “orange oompa loompa”, Olivia starts doing a well-known TikTok dance, Oakley teases her about being a VSCO girl (complete with scrunchies, of course), and the grumpy school principle reminisces about taking his horse to the Old Town Road (Lil Nas X’s Billboard hit ). There are other humorous aspects to this musical, including when Sara (Kristen Sibley) the virtual assistant refuses to pronounce Oakley’s name correctly. I have to say, though, I hope that the future is much different to the one depicted when the siblings, along with enthusiastic school student Izzy (Abby Letts), travelled to 2120.

Overall, it was an enjoyable production. I felt the set was a bit too basic, some of the scenes a tad long and there were a few hiccups, such as some sound issues and clumsy scene changes. Nonetheless, I feel confident that these factors will improve over the run of performances. Oakley and Olivia is a great show to watch with all the family and it illustrates the importance of family relationships. Book your tickets from Fringe world now!

Oakley & Olivia continues until Monday 20 January at Subiaco Arts Centre.

Pictured top: Lucy Langford and Peter Jacobs (from another cast) as the siblings Olivia and Oakley, watched by their dad Joshua Towns. Photo supplied.

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Junior Reviewer

At Seesaw we believe that shows designed for children should be reviewed by children. Our junior reviewers write an honest response, in their own words. Their contributions are a vital part of the arts playground.

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