September brings Theatrical’s Victorian premiere of Freaky Friday: The Musical, with all the action happening at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran. I was lucky to attend opening night and I can’t wait to tell you all about the most wonderful time I had at this energetic and uplifting production!
For those not familiar with Freaky Friday it is based on the beloved 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films (including the 2003 film starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis – which is the one I recall!) Freaky Friday takes a modern spin on the original book, whereby a mother and daughter magically swap bodies for a day and experience a day in the life of each other. Naturally, chaos ensures – especially when each character hasn’t thought about the challenges and social conventions that each take part in over the course of their daily lives.
In the Theatrical production of Freaky Friday, Lyla Digrazia plays Ellie (the daughter) and Stephanie Powell plays Katherine (the mother). Both Lyla and Stephanie were amazing leads – everything from their dancing, staging and interactions with each other (and other characters in each other’s world) had me under their spell. Their vocal talents shone throughout the entire show, and the energetic musical numbers in general were a highlight of the show for me. It’s easy to enjoy (and be swept up in) this musical – so many of the musical numbers had many in the audience tapping their feet, or humming tunes after the show had finished. Combining this with clever set design and exciting choreography makes Freaky Friday simply unmissable.
Director Bronte Regos Thiele has staged this production in the present day, and this was demonstrated largely via the school scenes with Ellie (or featuring Katherine pretending to be Ellie). These reminded me so much of my own school days (especially the trials of gym class!) All the school cliques were there – the geeks, the popular girls, the sporty guys and the dependable friends. Now that I am a (new) mother, I can start to appreciate how much Katherine (the mother) does for her own family and how challenging it is to keep all the tasks going and her family on track. This fun musical approaches situations from both the mother and daughter point of view, from school grades / conduct, interactions with peers / people to impress right through to feelings regarding the death of Katherine’s husband / Ellie’s dad.
Theatrical’s production goes beyond its headline characters to create a vivid storyline that captivates. Adam the school crush (played by Thomas Martin) had some fantastic scenes, and I loved the whimsical nature of Ellie’s younger brother Fletcher (played by Nathaniel Calleja) who added a sprinkling of extra comedy to all his scenes. Not to mention Katherine’s very busy business assistant Torrey (played by Tach Sutton) who hurriedly tries to keep Katherine (and her business) from falling over. I simply loved all the characters and their portrayal in this production!
VERDICT: Freaky Friday is an upbeat, energetic musical featuring relatable content that is easy to enjoy. Come out to the theatre and enjoy this production by Theatrical – you won’t regret it!
Freaky Friday runs at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran until September 18th. Tickets are available here.
Disclaimer: I attended this production as a guest
Extra note: as if this show couldn’t be any more awesome, I wanted to mention that Theatrical is a not for profit and registered charity from Executive Producer Andrew Gyopar. It is an independent musical theatre company with a mission to provide opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups who might not otherwise have access to participate in musical theatre. Granting access to musical theatre and musical theatre experiences is a way to improve social bonds and mental health (both important topics in the current landscape we all live in).