Gypsy review: Let them entertain you

OH MOMMA: Elizabeth Allen Magner plays the indomitable Madame Rose. Pictures: Neaton Photography

OH MOMMA: Elizabeth Allen Magner plays the indomitable Madame Rose. Pictures: Neaton Photography

It may have been written in 1959 and set in the days of vaudeville but there's a lot that's familiar about Gypsy, the Blue Mountains Musical Society's latest production.

Loosely based on the memoirs of famous burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, it focuses on her mother Rose, whose name became synonymous with the image of the ultimate stage mother.

With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents Gypsy has been hailed as one of the all-time great American book musicals.

It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage in the 1920s and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.

The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee's sister, the successful actress June Havoc.

With great music, excellent dramatic moments and plenty of laughs the story of Gypsy is larger than life. And the cast do an excellent job of bringing all that energy to the stage in what is a thoroughly entertaining night of theatre.

If you've ever watched an episode of Dance Moms you will recognise the character of Rose, confidently portrayed by Elizabeth Allen Magner.

It's a demanding role in which she barely leaves the stage. Not only does Magner handle it with ease but she brings a warmth and humanity to Rose which helps the audience see her as human, despite the fact she often behaves like a monster.

Alanna McKew and Danielle Roorda are terrific as Rose's hard pressed daughters, trying to live up to Momma's expectations while longing for a life where they live in a house and sleep in the same bed every night. Their duet If Momma Was Married is a lovely, poignant moment that says it all.

Roorda shows some great comedic talent in her role and her sense of timing is excellent.

Also worth a mention are Emma Druett, Jessica Lovelace and Linda Aubrecht as the burlesque dancers. The scene in which they perform the raunchy, hilarious You Gotta Get a Gimmick was a stand-out.

The other undeniably familiar aspect of Gypsy is the music. This show is packed with songs which have become standards. How about Let Me Entertain You, Together (Wherever We Go), Everything's Coming Up Roses and Some People - to name a few.

Add talented children and an ensemble cast who give it their all and you have plenty of great reasons to grab a ticket. Oh, and there's tap dancing too!

  • Gypsy is at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood until Sunday, November 3. Details: bmms.org.au.
SING AND DANCE: The talented cast of children give their all to the performance.

SING AND DANCE: The talented cast of children give their all to the performance.

LOVE LOST: Ben Fairbairn plays Herbie, Rose's long-suffering manager and would-be husband.

LOVE LOST: Ben Fairbairn plays Herbie, Rose's long-suffering manager and would-be husband.