The Rocking '60s Musical Soap Opera is part jukebox musical and
part retro revue; it largely succeeds by taking the audience back to
pre-Woodstock times with a hokey, light-hearted celebration of the best
(and occasionally worst) sixties popular music.
SUDS takes place in a friendly, sixties style Laundromat and
spins (ouch!) the story of Cindy (Javia Selina), and her guardian angels,
Dee-Dee (Natalie Schreiber) and Marge (Stephanie Liatopoulos) that help
her to get past a severe bout of the blues. Dee-Dee is a naïve,
well-intentioned “angel-in-training” and Marge is street-wise
with a take-charge spirit.
It happens to be Cindy’s birthday (we don’t get to know
which one), but when the postman (Matt Briard in one of his multiple
roles)calls, instead of delivering greetings, he delivers three items
of bad news, all coincidentally involving a Chevrolet Corvair. I thought
it curious that our heroine, on hearing of the death of her cat and
the imposition of a $10,000 debt, was most affected by the news that
her pen-pal had “signed-off” – but with a goofy revue
like SUDS, we shouldn’t be too analytical.
The show serves up around four dozen songs in just under two hours,
so there isn’t much of a narrative arc or meaningful dialogue.
However, it’s all very well paced with chuckles as well as hits
just keep on coming. Some of the songs fit in to the storyline perfectly,
while others appear shoved in like a clumsy dealer shuffling a well-used
pack of cards. The songs are well sung, and delivered with spirit and
conviction. The Burt Bacharach medley half way through the first act
that features the three girls in close harmony is terrific.
Javia Selina is winsome with a likable vulnerability in the role of
Cindy. Stephanie Liatopoulos is hilarious as the cynical angel Marge
who has a big personality and voice to match, while Natalie Schreiber
is endearing as Dee-Dee. The pair delightfully play off each other’s
diametrically opposed characters. Matt Briard makes the most of his
comedic talents as Johnny Angel.
Leigh Richards Stewart
wisely keeps the choreography simple. Don Briard’s attractive
set of a pink-trimmed Laundromat that comes with a vintage Coca ColaTM
vending machine works well with the show’s energy and candescent
Jeremy Hoffman on Keyboards and synthesizer, plus Steve Taillefer on
guitar, Ed Fabian on bass and Skip Parker on drums provide first rate
all about having fun with radio-friendly songs. The program lists them
all in alphabetical order (personally, I would have preferred a chronological
order). If, like me, you were around in the sixties you’ll feel
like singing along.
2014 John Jane