Thursday 5 April 7:30pm at Frankston Arts Centre – 110 minutes, including interval
Directed by Denny Lawrence, HIT Production’s Glorious! is set in 1944 New York and focusses on the relationship between Florence Foster Jenkins and her piano accompanist Cosme McMoon.
McMoon, played by highly versatile and engaging actor Joshua Sanders, begins and ends the play with thought-provoking soliloquy, showing the audience just how much his experiences with Jenkins changes him. McMoon starts out as a polite but cynical musician, desperate for Jenkins’ job opportunity in order to keep food on the table. By the end of the show, McMoon has changed to a sincere, loyal friend and colleague who comes to understand and appreciate Jenkins for the qualities that her fans love: her overwhelming generosity, her dear love of music, her flamboyant personality, and her tenacity for performing despite her lack of singing talent.
Diana McLean effortlessly conveys these before-mentioned qualities in her role as Florence Foster Jenkins. McLean cleverly combines slightly off key, pseudo-operatic singing and funny antics with innocent behaviour to give the impression that Jenkins thinks she sounds brilliant. Backed by Sanders’ accomplished singing, piano-playing and hilarious facial contortions and Kaarin Fairfax’s very funny performances of cantankerous housemaid, Maria, and Mrs Verrinder-Gedge, Glorious! had the audience in stitches from start to finish.
When Mrs Verrinder-Gedge cracks the façade created by Jenkins supporters and turns up to the Society Ball to tell Jenkins how bad she really sounds, the generosity and tenacious spirit of Jenkins is validated. Despite the awful things that Mrs Verrinder-Gedge says, Jenkins looks past her mean-spiritedness and gifts her with a bottle of sherry because every Society Ball attendee gets one. The audience gets a glimpse into the complex character of Jenkins, who may indeed know that she isn’t a great singer but is not going to let that stop her from being who she is and doing what she loves. ‘People may say that I can’t sing, but no-one can ever say that I didn’t sing’, says Jenkins, and along the way we see that her indomitable spirit and the loving way she treats others is what matters the most.
Play written by Peter Quilter
Diana McLean – Florence Foster Jenkins
Joshua Sanders – Cosme McMoon
Kaarin Fairfax – Dorothy/Maria/Mrs Verrinder-Gedge
Christine Harris – Producer
Denny Lawrence – Director
Jacob Battista – Set, costume and lighting designer
Sophie Woodward – Set, costume and lighting designer