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Musical is just divine

PUT together two women who were rivals in Sydney’s underworld in the 1920s, add a time-travelling gangland leader from the 1990s, and you have Thunderbelly: The Musical, a colourful new theatre work premiering in Newcastle on March 4.

And if the title reminds you of a television series that looked at various eras in Australia’s criminal world, you’ll find this an enjoyably tongue-in-cheek show.

Thunderbelly was written by Newcastle musician, singer and director Maureen O’Brien as the result of a discussion during the staging of her musical Upstairz Downstairz.

In that work, residents of upstairs apartments in a building envied those who lived downstairs.One of the upper floor people was Tilly, noted as a divine woman with underworld connections.The character was based on Tilly Devine, a colourful figure in Sydney’s crime scene in the 1920s, and actor Grant Bailey suggested that her rivalry with another woman, Kate Leigh, could be the basis of a musical looking with tongue-in-cheek at the way they manipulated the people around them. He also noted that the inclusion of a recent mobster, based on Melbourne’s Carl Williams, who finds himself back in the 1920s wearing tracky-dacks, could add to the fun.Appropriately, Bailey is playing the time traveller, here known as Karl Williams, and Louise Costellois Tilly Devyne. Kathryn Russell is her rival, Kate Leegh.

Tilly runs a business called The Bakery, which is home to Tilly’s Tarts, young women who offer men a tasty experience. And Kate is the Bar Queen, who reigns over Sydney’s booze and gambling action.Other characters include a pair of ambitious tarts, a police officer with money on her mind, a conman who proclaims himself to be a church leader, members of a temperance league, andLush who likes men with fat wallets.

Maureen O’Brien has put together a bright collection of 17 songs from the 1920s and other decades, plus some originals, with the performers supported by a three-member band, led by Ian Mossop.Other actors include Amanda Reitdijk, Karen Hall, John Rolfe, Bronwyn Anderson, John Dickeson, Angie Pratten, Susan Hart, Melinda Latsos, Sharon Allen, Sally Hoyle, Shaun Evans, Cherie McKinnon, Harold Von Finster, Jacqueline Bailey, Gerry Vero and Eric Vero.

Thunderbelly: The Musical:Merewether Uniting Church Hall, 178 Glebe Road, Merewether, from March 4 to 19,performances on Friday8pm, Saturday 8pm, and 2.30pmon March 12 and 19. Tickets: $25 (pre-bought); $30 (door sales); dinner and show $50. Bookings: ticketebo老域名出售备案老域名/thunderbelly. SINISTER: The ensemble cast of Thunderbelly: The Musical present 17 songs from the 1920s and other decades plus some originals.

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