Darlinghurst Theatre Company's production of Kiss of the Spiderwoman; the first ever staging of this musical in Australia. Based on the novel by Manuel Puig the story is of two men (one gay) sharing a cell in a Latin American country who develop an unlikely relationship in a brutal environment through the gay man's love of escapist cinema.
The creators of this musical also were responsible for Cabaret and Chicago; two of the great American musicals but this is a lesser work. It is an ambitious musical for a small company to attempt and the offering is a pared down version with a cast of seven plus four musicians.
The first Act didn't quite work. The music was tuneful but the lyrics lacked wit and the voices of the performers didn't seem appropriate to their characters. The second Act was a complete contrast. The music continued to be tuneful but now the lyrics seemed wittier, the performers' voices stronger, the staging more interesting.
The musicians were splendid throughout except for the moment when the good looking young cellist took to biting his nails during one dramatic non-musical moment. (I know I should have been focusing on the actors rather than watching him at that moment but he was in my line of sight.)