REVIEW: IVY + BEAN THE MUSICAL (Children’s / Theatre)

A musical adaptation of Annie Barrows’ best-selling book series by Scott Elmegreen brings Ivy and Bean’s adventures to life at the The Bakehouse Theatre. It’s a tale of two unlikely friends who discover that if you accepting others’ differences, amazing things can happen!

Ivy_BeanThe Gemini Collective, founded by Sarah Williams and Anthony Butler, produced this lively show featuring six energetic local performers. Sarah Williams’ direction and choreography highlighted the strengths of each performer, and the casting of the two leads was en pointe.

Millicent Sarre’s imaginative Ivy was timid at first and, throughout the show, grew into a spirited and somewhat mischievous girl. Briony Kent as Bean was rambunctious, but ultimately tamed by Ivy’s friendship.

Sarre and Kent complemented one another in colourful performances. Both actresses shone with their balanced harmonies, expressive faces, and their convincing portrayals of seven-year old girls. It was very easy to forget that they weren’t children, committed as they were to their craft.

They were accompanied by four friends, Eric, Sophie, Zuzu, and Leo played by Thomas Brodie Phillips, Nadine Wood, Jemma Allen, and Zak Vasilou respectively. Phillips and Wood cleverly transitioned between being Bean’s mother and father and her seven-year old pals. Allen doubled as Bean’s big sister Nancy thus embodying the antagonist, and doing it well particularly in her tango-esque song and dance with Bean.

The cast of Ivy + Bean. Photo by Sarah Williams

Paul Sinkinson as musical director ensured that the numbers were sung with clarity and the ensemble work was excellent. Good choreography, lighting, and well-balanced sound made for a captivating production.

Barrows has created some wonderful characters whose friendship made me reminisce on my own childhood adventures when my friends invented games and made it snow in Australia by scraping a polystyrene foam board over our heads.

So committed were the performances that for one young audience member the fourth wall was broken with some of his impromptu contributions.

There were many smiles and laughs from the crowd, and Scott Elmegreen’s melodies were stuck in my head long after the show had ended. Overall, this was an outstanding offering from The Gemini Collective that could only be improved next year by featuring live musicians.

Rating ☆☆☆☆☆

Reviewed performance: 3 March 2018
Time: 2.00 pm

Season Closed
Venue: The Bakehouse Theatre

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