Review Scene: A captivating “Thoroughly Modern Mille” opens at the State Theatre

The Melbourne performance of Thoroughly Modern Mille has been brought to us in all its splendor by seasoned professionals The Production Company and will run until 11 August.  Starring the highly acclaimed Marina Prior as Mrs Meers and up and comer Annie Aitken as the title character Millie Dillmount.

Set at the height of the jazz age, the roaring 20’s, Millie Dillmount is a small-town girl who has just arrived in New York City, to pursue her dreams.

Millie’s plans to find a job as a secretary for an eligible bachelor, and then marry him. It doesn’t take long for Millie’s “thoroughly modern” plan to go awry. Her conniving landlady Mrs Meers plots to kidnap Millie’s best friend Dorothy and sell her into slavery. Her wealthy boss Trevor Graydon seems entirely uninterested in her flirtations,  and – worst of all – Jimmy, the man with whom she falls head over heels in love, doesn’t have a penny to his name.

A entertaining musical comedy romance, set against some dramatic and dark story undertones. Marina Prior (Phantom of the Opera) had us enthralled as the conniving Mrs Meers while Annie Aitken excelled in her performance as Mille.  With so many distinctive characters in the show, Millie’s best friend Miss Dorothy played by Claire Lyon and Muzzy Van Hossmere played by Queenie Van De Zandt were a couple of the stand outs. While Keith Brockett and Jonathan Chan delivered great comedic value as Ching Ho and Bun Foo.

The show is visually stunning from start to finish with vibrant costumes by Isaac Lummis and set design by Christina Smith, all meticulously combined with brilliant lighting to create a visually striking overall effect. It is a captivating journey from start to finish with the addition new music by Jeanine Tesori and new lyrics by Dick Scanlan. The orchestra takes pride of place in the centre of the stage and delivers a perfectly executed musical score, directed by Musical Director Peter Casey.

While there may have been a few opening night jitters in the delivery of some of the lines, overall there were stellar performances all round and this show will not disappoint musical theatre lovers.