21 Chump Street takes place at Park Vista Community High School and follows eighteen-year-old Justin Leboy’s (Jake Fehily) life as he falls for Naomi (Olivia Charalambous). Naomi’s actually an undercover cop, trying to teach young people there are “consequences in life”, as sung in numerous songs.
Charalambous’ Naomi is as light-hearted as she is concerned depending on who she’s interacting with. The rest of the ensemble – Nicola Bowman, Stephanie Wood and Kai Mann-Robertson – play students, cops, and cousins and bring a wonderful energy to the stage.
Lauren Edwards as the Narrator keeps the story on track, piecing together the scenes with ease. Unfortunately, Edwards’ microphone had some noticeable issues on opening night, but this isn’t something that would continue through the season.
The relatively simple set was elevated with the use of a live-feed camera to an older television to help really set the era. The six-piece band brought the wonderful Miranda score to life.
This short musical confirms that stories don’t have to be lengthy and garishly large to be impactful. This show lets the audience attach itself to kind Justin, and feel the impact of Naomi’s lesson. Miranda shows his writing finesse with this beauty. Pursued by Bear does it absolute justice.
Pursued by Bear continues to deliver incredible theatre to Melbourne. It’s an exciting day to have a show from one of the world’s hottest names in theatre come to our city.
21 Chump Street is on as part of Pursued by Bear’s double-bill with Ordinary Days and plays at Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel until 18 June 2017.
Photo credit: Fon Photography