Hello Dolly! – Theatre Review

There are two images that come to mind when I hear someone using the adjective “delightful”.
1) A person smiling from ear to ear and excitedly explaining what made them smile so much OR

2) A person using the word sarcastically to demonstrate their annoyance with a person, place or thing.

Thankfully for the Royal City Musical Theatre’s production of Hello, Dolly!, it’s most definitely not the latter. The current production starring Colleen Winton and David Adams as her targeted love interest was a joy to watch.

The Broadway musical classic tells the story of Dolly Levi (Winton) a self-proclaimed “meddler”, who asserts that she can solve any of your problems which can include, but are not limited to, marrying off one’s daughter, upholstering one’s furniture or providing dance instructions to artists. Dolly can “arrange for making all arrangements”.

Unfortunately, Dolly is growing weary of securing the happiness of others at the expense of her own and concocts a plan to marry Horace Vandergelder (Adams), the famous Yonkers half-millionaire, even though she’s supposed to be arranging his nuptials to Mrs. Malloy (Caitlin Clugston).

Massey theatre provides the perfect venue to witness director and choreographer Valerie Easton’s colourful and high energy production. Dolly is a busybody and Easton creates an atmosphere that is just as busy as Dolly’s personality.

Numerous dance numbers are not just performed on the main stage but moved out onto the extended semi-circle portion of the stage that gives the audience a larger opulent spectacle than they were prepared for. Both Winton and Adams are seasoned veterans and play their characters with the right amount of humour, charm and slight exaggeration.

The real standout performance was from Caitlin Clugston who, during the first notes of “Ribbons Down My Back”, had me mesmerised by her voice.  It was also fun to watch when members of the audience remembered, or like me, realised that two songs (Put on Your Sunday’s Best, It Only Takes a Moment) were used in the animated film Wall-E. It definitely seemed to help younger members of the audience enjoy the musical a little bit more.

Since it was it was opening night, one can expect a few minor faults like muddled lines, dance-missteps or lighting issues. The only thing that was a little distracting was the cast members seeming to be uncomfortable or unaware of the set design, with quite a few of the actors making (noticeable) bodily contact with the props. That said, all the actors and dancers, coupled with Thornton Wilder’s hilarious script had me smiling happily throughout the entire show. In the truest definition of the word, Hello, Dolly! is delightful.