It is thirty years since Mrs. Doubtfire made its cinematic debut, starring Robin Williams. Producer Kevin McCollum took the risk and signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to make the film into a theatrical experience with music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick. The musical takes the original film plot of a divorced voice actor Daniel Hillard disguising himself as a Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire to see his children. In this production, the Hillard family will go through the divorce transition and family tension with glitzy lights, heart-felt ballads, jazzy numbers and chorus lines.
The production starts off with an overture, giving the musical a more traditional homely feel. The audience is then invited into of world of Daniel Hillard portrayed by Gabriel Vick. At first, the musical journey goes through half-baked celebrity impressions and questionable storyline tangents that will raise eyebrows. However, towards the end of the first act, it finds its groove. Gabriel Vick finds his stride with impressions and musicality, especially in looping beats for the number “It's About Time”. The strength of his performance carries on in act two, where he brings a combination of humour and heartfelt moments to the role.
The musical would not have a heartbeat without the other members of the Hillard family. Each one has a shining moment. Miranda Hillard played by Laura Tebbutt produces electricity with her voice during the number “Let Go”, captivating her grief over an unloving relationship. Lydia Hillard (Carla Dixon-Hernandez) wows the audience with her natural stage presence and powerful vocal range during “What The Hell”. The younger Hillards Christopher and Natalie (Max Bishpham and Scarlett Davies) keep the audience awing with their off-the-scale cuteness and impressive vocal skills. The extended family, Frank Hillard and his husband Andre Mayem played by Cameron Blakely and Marcus Collins pioneer with comic timing and commanding stage presence.
The rest of the ensemble display an impressive range of dance numbers including tap, flamenco and jazz, gorgeously arranged by Zane Mark.
Overall, the show is a fun night out for older and younger audiences. Most importantly, it sends the vital message that love can be found outside the traditional family model, which deserves to be celebrated.
Review: Ramsey Baghdadi Photo: Manuel Harlan