Contact! The netball musical, by Angus Grant, is everything I didn’t expect from an opera, and that’s what made it so lovable.
I would call myself a musical theatre enthusiast (or, um, geek…), but as I had never seen a live opera, I had no real idea about what it would be like. While heading to the Arts Centre Melbourne on the opening night of Contact! I kept picturing ladies in wigs singing in languages I didn’t understand. However, that is far from what this refreshingly funny and contemporary opera presented to me.
The show follows an under-21 netball team, The Rangers, and their relationships with each other, their coach and to the game they love. The shows sees the girls, as well as their coach and the coach’s son, deal with a team drop out, a new rebellious member and juicy suburban secrets, all while training for the game against their rivals The Sparrows.
I have to say, I was laughing almost the entire way through. The musical makes a lot of comical references to contemporary and local topics, such as social networking, Australian suburbs and the ‘indie’ scene. I especially laughed out loud at the swipe to the Kony phenomenon of “raising awareness” to issues!
The characters were extremely relatable, played terrifically by the well-chosen cast. Although the whole cast were fantastic, the particular members of the cast who, I thought, stood out, were Donna Maree Dunlop (who played the fierce coach Bev), Rebecca Rashleigh (as the adorable Wendy) and Janet Todd (as the rebellious Daisy). Each of these ladies dominated the stage and captivated the audience with their spectacular vocal ability and their enchanting stage presence.
The set and props of this show were very minimal which I think worked well, as the orchestra and vocal talent of the cast member’s really carried the show and shone through. The music written by Grant highlights each member’s vocal strengths, and gosh, when Todd hits those sky high notes, you really do get chills. The choreography, by Julia Sutherland, also worked very well, heavily making references to classic netball drills, which fit in well with the musical’s quirky style.
Contact! left me humming all the way home and reminiscing about high school sporting teams. I would definitely recommend this show to anyone interested in netball, any first time opera goers and pretty much any teenage girl that’s ever been in a sporting team. The show will be showing at the Arts Centre Melbourne until the 29th of April, so get in quick, and “keep your eyes on the ball!”
Click here to purchase tickets.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Currently heading towards the finish line of a Media and Communication degree, Safiye loves to reward herself with her three essentials: fairy tales, fashion and Frank Sinatra. She is also obsessed with all things music, and is lead singer of Melbourne band Vacant Skies. If she’s not singing, you’ll either find her laughing like a hyena, frantically writing ideas in her journal or talking way to fast. Safiye talks so fast sometimes that people struggle to keep up, but she insists she has to, as she has so much to say and so little time.