FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Miss Westralia | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Tracing the real journey of Miss Beryl Mills, the very first Miss Australia as she travels from Geraldton to New South Wales to the USA, this delightful musical is guaranteed to get your toes tapping!

Miss Westralia charts the real-life success of Beryl (Madeline Clouston) as she sings about her hopes, dreams, confusions and contradictions. With Mr Packer (of newspaper fame) at the piano, and later taking centre-stage, Clouston sings with honesty and vulnerability which endears you to the plucky young girl from Gerro. Noemie Huttner-Koros and Amelia Burke complete the trio and take on multiple roles, most notably Beryl’s mother, Kitty and the reigning Miss USA.

It’s a musical like no other. Gentle, yet fun, the music style is reminiscent of the 1920s but not nostalgic. The humour is subtle and close to the bone – Beryl is extolled for virtues she finds arbitrary in the Miss Australia pageant, she is called a ‘tall poppy’ by her peers but decidedly embraces the moniker, using it to further galvanise herself for the trip. Burke is smashing as the irrepressible Kitty Mills – gripped with power and hedonism in the USA, her facial expressions and sheer unbridled joy at ‘letting go’ is infectious. Huttner-Koros has perfected the American’s frozen smile and jealous attitude but it is the ‘tall poppy’ herself, Clouston who, as the titular character brings a subtle hubris to the show.

Miss Westralia is a powerful show. Clouston’s charming voice may crack a bit every now and then, but this just adds to the down-to-earth vibe of Miss Mills herself. The set is simple, actors weaving in and out of stacked suitcases, the music is sublime – if a little gentle – there are no big showstoppers here, but everything is technically brilliant and impeccably executed. This show highlights the strength of women, the west, and way-down-under, so go and see a little gem of Australia’s history and hear from one our best and brightest – in her own words.

WHEN: 20 – 24 February 2018 | 7:30pm

WHERE: The King’s Lair | His Majesty’s Theatre | Perth

INFO: Tickets $34 – $39 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable PG | WA Artists | THEATRE/MUSICAL



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