AN AMERICAN IN PARIS @ Crown Theatre gets 10/10

An American in Paris
@ Crown Theatre
Sunday, July 10, 2022


C’est Magnifique!

The Australian Ballet’s first foray into musical theatre is a triumphant success with An American in Paris now showing at Crown Theatre until July 24.

Of course established ballet fans will enjoy anything from the Australian Ballet, but this production is the perfect first ballet to bring a newcomer – fast-paced, fun, and fabulous! Set to jazz and show tunes, it is a high-energy ballet spectacle, full of lifts and quick steps.

Set in post-WWII Paris, American soldier Jerry Mulligan chooses to remain in France and follow his artistic dreams. He quickly befriends fellow soldier and composer Adam, and Frenchman Henri…all of whom fall for the sweet ballerina Lise. 

A Gershwin brothers classic, it features the much loved musical theatre numbers ‘S Wonderful and I’ve Got Rhythm, and You Can’t Take That Away From Me. The song numbers are incredibly fun, particularly the joyful Fidgety Feet, that will make you want to leap about too. “Who could ask for anything more?”

An impressive manoeuvre with the French flag is the first wow moment in a visual masterpiece by set and costume designer Bob Crowley, and Projection Design company 59 Productions who won Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Scenic Design of a Musical. From Jerry’s sketch-book-come-to-life backgrounds, to the extravagant costumes (top hats, tuxedoes, and twirling tulle filled skirts), it has the atmosphere and grandeur of an old time movie. An American in Paris has a huge creative team, with far too many to mention here, except to say the choreographers, designers, and directors should be immensely proud of their creation. 

Cameron Holmes, as the lead Jerry Mulligan, is outstanding and captures the audience’s attention every moment he is onstage. Holmes’ boyish charm is cheeky, mischievous, and so adorable… it is entirely believable that Lise would fall for him (as did half the audience). With looks more reminiscent of Timothee Chalamet than Gene Kelly, he doesn’t strike you as the chiselled jaw charmer typically cast in this G.I. role, yet his youthful exuberance fits so well with the teenage boys who went off to war, and found their first love (as he expresses in I’ve got Beginner’s Luck). His voice is strong in every number, however wait till you see him dance! His ballet is passionate, powerful and perfection, with such height in his grand jete it looks like magic. An absolute star.

Whilst Holmes stole the show, the entire cast is brilliant. It is quite easy to spot the musical theatre trained additions of Ashleigh Rubenach as Ms Davenport, Sam Ward as Henri, and Jonathan Hickey as Adam, with wonderful vocals (and even a cheeky tap number). Sweet Lise, played by Dimity Azoury, is delightful and an outstanding ballerina. Whether they are Parisians on the sidewalk, or shop girls in the Les Galeries LaFayette, the ballet ensemble is dazzling. The cast really embody the ‘joie de vivre’ of Paris and love in every song.

Lovers of traditional ballet should not be nervous about the addition of song numbers. The important storytelling is still all done by the dance and body language while the songs are fun additions.

An American in Paris signals the return of the great touring productions to Perth.

‘S Wonderful, ‘S Marvellous! 


Photos by Darren Thomas

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