Devoted has gone through some rough patches (key amongst them the cease and desist they got for performing under the title Grease: A Tragedy), but fortunately for all involved, they persevered to bring one final show to Melbourne.
The Northcote Social Club is a great venue for bands to play in, but for a contemporary musical, it was exceptional. The stage housed a four-piece band, while the audience (some sitting, some standing) were strategically placed around several performance areas.
The musical follows a group of teens on the night of a graduation party. At the beginning of the night, Dan (Zak Pidd) and Sally (Hannah Denison) are happily in love, Nick (Eamonn George) and Raff (Sera Duff) have been having a quiet affair, and the rest are focused on graduating, sex and drugs. However, things are far from perfect, and by the end of the night, heartbreak and death are both in the stars.
It’s an excellent choice for a venue: the action jumps from one spot to another, which means the story never has too long to linger. Having the characters move through the audience also makes them part of it, and it helps that there are some great moments of fourth wall breaking. The only problem is when a scene changes location – sometimes it takes more than a few seconds to catch up, which means the slower among us occasionally missed out on the starts of scenes.
Zak Pidd, Eamonn George and Hannah Denison are fantastic talents, as are the rest of the cast – in particular Sera Duff, who has a fantastic belt. Unfortunately, while the dialogue was spot-on for contemporary Melbourne, the songs were forgettable. While they were great variations on the original Grease numbers, they were ultimately not the most noteworthy part of this musical (although the spotty miking didn’t do them any favours).
All in all, an exciting musical with plenty of promise.