The cheeky Offbeat Broadway 5 cast —Paul du Toit, Lindy Abromowitz, and Anton Luitingh— may have changed a bit over the years, but much like good wine, they only get better with time. This is proven by their fantastic onstage energy in this much-loved production’s 5th incarnation at Theatre on the Bay.
With Offbeat Broadway 5 – Behaving Badly, the trio brings audiences a comical mix of reality-infused musical-mayhem, all informed by their own highlights and horrors since we last saw them together in Offbeat Broadway 4 in 2011 on the very same (now renovated) stage. Since they first started this journey 19 years ago, they’ve toured, they’ve become parents, they’ve become teachers, they’ve changed hair colour, and more. Life experience has elevated their entertaining style of musical lunacy to next level quirky-comedy under the direction of Alan Committee.
Twisting some words and taking some liberties —they’re behaving badly after all— they take well-loved musical numbers from hits such as Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Chess, and give their selection of tunes their own rib-tickling interpretation. Everything is intentionally hammed up and the cheesier the joke the bigger the laugh. I was in stitches most of the time at the sight and sound of their shenanigans.
Although there are many laughs, this zany cast matches the comical and clever with some old school musical theatrics too; not every musical number is turned into a spoof. There are serious moments beautifully showcasing their talent. Those moments reaffirm why they know so much about musicals (both in the on- and off-stage context). Their careers have seen them take on demanding roles and they still don’t shy away from the opportunity to add great flair to large scale productions. It is exactly because their spotlights generally shine so bright that it’s a treat see them in a stripped down, intimate setting, sharing their favourite and abhorred showtunes with tongue-in-cheek honesty and a few inside jokes too. (Everyone wants to know who the real Phantom actually is!)
Their updated overview of musical history, which to my delight include references to Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton, is beyond impressive and performed with great comedic timing and amazing vocal agility.
If you don’t have the money to fly to London to see Les Mesirables on the West End, don’t fret, the trio has got you (and all the other characters in this mammoth musical) covered. Instead of a plane ticket that will bankrupt you, all you need to do is buy a ticket to see Offbeat Broadway 5 and grab a MyCiTi bus to Camps Bay. Entertainment sorted!
Offbeat Broadway 5 is a lovely experience for musical-lovers who don't take themselves too seriously. While behaving badly, they’re going to push all the buttons with jazz hands as they present audiences with musical nostalgia amped-up with some current affairs references ... it's election time after all.
Luitingh, Abromowitz, and Du Toit’s Offbeat Broadway 5 may take the Mickey out of musicals, but their theatre-loving hearts are definitely in the right place. What they're doing with this production is reminding us that sometimes a show is simply frivolous and fun, and that’s perfectly acceptable and worth the price of a theatre ticket.
You have until 11 May 2019 to catch them at Theatre on the Bay. Book your tickets online through Computicket.