Theatre Review: Lola Montez The Musical

Lola Montez The Musical

Music by Peter Stannard

Lyrics by Peter Benjamin

Director/Writer Stephen Helper

Producer Meredith O’Reilly

Riverside Theatre

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

For one night only (so far), producers Meredith O’Reilly and Stephen Helper revived a sixty-year-old musical about performer Lola Montez who was born Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert in County Sligo, Ireland. Montez built a career as a Spanish dancer and was a mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria who made her Countess of Landsfeld.

Lola Montez performed around the world and arrived in Australia in the mid-1850s. The musical is set in Ballarat in 1856.

An impressive cast was attracted to this production.

Experienced, highly respected performers Peter Cousens, Scott Irwin, Red Symons and Genevieve Lemon excelled as they usually do, and Deborah Krizak commanded the stage as you would expect of the title player.

Genevieve Lemon, who has deservedly been in constant work for thirty years, made the most of Madame Rose, and the stand-out performance came from Caitlin Berry as Montez’s maid. Berry’s comedic flair and timing was memorable.

Paul Mercurio (Strictly Ballroom) choreographed the cast of twelve, and considering that there was a ten-piece orchestra and twenty-six musical numbers, the fact that they only had five days to rehearse made Lola Montez The Musical a theatrical miracle. Was the one-night at Riverside the first of a traveling production or a longer season in Sydney? Watch this space.


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