Based on the crazy tale of ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’, Lucky Stiff, directed by Neil Gooding, is a lighthearted musical farce that provides good ol’ theatrical fun. The production, presented by Neglected Musicals, propels us into a world of manic characters with wild agendas, swinging from one ridiculous adventure to another. Accompanied by a stellar cast including Lucy Maunder and Luke Joslin, with music directed by Isaac Hayward, Lucky Stiff will be sure not to disappoint.
We spoke with director Neil Gooding about the upcoming production, it’s ludicrous moments, and it’s original background.
What elements have you included from the novel that Lucky Stiff was based on, 'The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo'?
To be honest, I don't know the novel at all. I have known the musical through it's Off-Broadway cast recording for about 10 years, but I have never read the book. I am working off the libretto and music that Flaherty and Ahrens wrote when they adapted the play. So, that is pretty much all that I need to focus on. They have done all of the legwork by including the parts of the book that they thought worked well in the musical, and omitting the bits that they did not think served the musical well. The music and libretto of Lucky Stiff stand up very well in their own right, and to a large extent can be viewed independently of the original source material.
The musical was written in 1988. Have the themes in Lucky Stiff become more contemporary, or maintained their relevance in any way?
Lucky Stiff is not really a show that feels like it was written almost 25 years ago. Even though it was written in the 1980's, it deals with material that in both movies and on stage feels a bit more timeless. Stories about gambling tycoons, accidental shootings, love-struck shoe-salesman, and adventures with dead uncles don't really date – do they?
With that short blurb, it sounds like it's quite thrilling and chaotic adventure that the production takes us on! Without giving away too much, what is your personal favourite moment, scene or song in Lucky Stiff?
I think I probably have two. One is the song ‘Times Like This’ that Lucy Maunder sings beautifully. It is a soft, touching ballad in the midst of all the other funny chaos that takes place in Lucky Stiff. And my other favourite moment is the cause of a lot of that funny chaos, which is Josie Lane channeling her inner crazy French showgirl and belting out the song ‘Speaking French’. In Josie's hands, it is hilarious.
You have quite an impressive cast, many with performance experience in a variety of different genres. How did the cast adapt to the light-hearted farce style of Lucky Stiff?
I have had the joy of working with a lot of this cast in other projects previously. All of them have been chosen because of their comedic skills and great voices. So, they are all lapping up the chance to be silly and ham things up in the show. It is what most of them were born to do!
And finally, what kind of person will love this musical?
Anybody that loves musical theatre will love this show. It does not set out teach important life lessons. It sets out to do one of the most deceptively difficult and under-rated things in theatre – entertain its audience. It is light, funny and slightly off the wall – and is very well constructed. I think most people would struggle to watch it and not find themselves having a great time.
If this sounds like you, come along to see what it’s all about.
Lucky Stiff is showing Monday 29 October at 2pm & 8pm at The Darlinghurst Theatre.
For further info: http://www.neglectedmusicals.com/what-next.html