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Dates: 10/11/2004 - 10/12/2004

Location: Stables Theatre/Parramatta Rivverside

Music by Stewart d'Arrietta
Words by Justin Fleming
Book by Stewart d'Arrietta & Justin Fleming

presented by Griffin Theatre Company with Wayne Harrison, Ross Mollison & Robert Kelly

Luciano Satani Simon Burke
Sofia Sharon Millerchip
Other characters Jairo Sanchez Rivera
Keyboards Stewart d'Arrietta
Director Wayne Harrison
Design John Senczuk
Lighting Martin Kinnane
Tango choreographer Jairo Sanchez Rivera
Choreography Tony Bartuccio



Now that gay marriage is less "moral" than the murder of 100,000 Iraqis, the time is ripe for a musical morality play.
Never could it be more apt to blur good and evil in song and dance and pit them against each other in the fierce little cauldron of the Stables.
Luciano Satani, the Devil, is this new local musical's protagonist. Justin Fleming's amusing book and lyrics repeatedly snipe at the coalition of the willing's mendacity as examples of the Devil's earthly success.
Satani is played by Simon Burke with lewd gusto, comic relish and a potent voice. This Devil - more wimp than imp, even as he torments the dead and lures the living into the joys of evil - has a problem. A once-a-millennium dance between Heaven and Hell is approaching, and he must master the tango and find a partner.
Enter Sharon Millerchip as the delectable Sofia, who, in an outrageous plot device, blunders into Hell thinking she is taking an ailing guide-dog to the vet. She, by chance, is a dance instructor from Panania - where else? - with whom Satani is swiftly besotted. He promises to cure the dog if she will teach him to tango. This done - although not ideally for the dog - Sofia agrees to partner Satani at the ball, as long she can make a request of her own.
The single act is studded with 13 songs composed by Stewart D'Arietta, which seems about two too many, given that they tend to be expositional set pieces.
They range from the melodic strength (and lyric truth) of There's a Little Bit of Satan in Us All to the more forgettable Everlasting. Stylistically, they lurk slightly anonymously around soft rock, Latin and ballads, the anonymity exacerbated by the shoestring production only running to the composer's keyboards.
Millerchip is vivacious as the pert but ill-defined Sofia, sometimes singing prettily and always dancing sizzlingly.
Choreography is by Tony Bartuccio, other than the tangos, which are by Jairo Sanchez Rivera (who also plays Satan's little helper and a dancing pizza boy). Comically shambling to begin with, Burke's own dancing makes him a credible foil for the sensational Millerchip by the end.
The show's winning propensity to send itself up makes it difficult for the audience to change emotional gears, however, and take the pivotal dramatic moments seriously.
The director, Wayne Harrison, has maximised his meagre resources, aided by the designer, John Senczuk, and the expert lighting of Martin Kinnane. There is a suitably unholy haste to the overall pace, except where the songs bog it down. Perhaps Harrison could have insisted on more cuts, not just to songs, but to some grating lines and throwaway gags.
Nonetheless the over-arching rampage of fun ensures a mood of forgiveness for minor sins.

     John Shand