Published on June 3, 2019


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The classic film is now a classic musical!​

If you live in Australia and haven’t heard of Muriel’s Wedding, then you’re terrible… The iconic PJ Hogan film is a classic of Australian cinema, has been cherished for over 20 years and has spawned a number of sayings still widely used in the Australian vernacular today. The complex film is absurd, hilarious and heartbreaking and also littered with a multitude of Australia’s finest actors. Already known for its amazing soundtrack and the inclusion of some of Abba’s greatest hits, it makes so much sense that it should be turned into a smash-hit musical.


With a book by the original writer, PJ Hogan, new music by the extremely talented and recent Eurovision 2019 finalist Kate Miller-Heidke and also Keir Nuttall, this new musical is sure to become a classic. The show is directed by Simon Phillips who also previously directed the screen to stage adaptation of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and is proving he has a knack for such adaptations.


The story is very true to the original with some clever updates to modernise it to fit into a contemporary Australian context. Imagine a world with Porpoise Spit today, where they use mobile phones and social media but are still stuck in early 90’s fashion. Whilst this runs the risk of losing some of the original charm, it has been done in such a considered way that this is not the case. For those familiar with the story, it will bring up a lot of nostalgia and for those new to it, you are sure to fall in love for the first time. The first act will leave you with a permanent grin on your face and sore sides from uncontrollable laughter. Those who have seen the film will know to pack tissues for act 2 with some beautiful performances and moments of pathos that will not leave a single eye dry in the house. All in all, Muriel’s Wedding is truly a feel-good musical for all ages that hooks you in from the first note, a note which unprepared for will lead to a heart attack or a change in underpants. Prepare yourself for the beginning of both acts 1 and 2.


The songs are incredibly catchy, humorous but are also at times beautiful, heartfelt and surprisingly moving. They are also sung in Australian accents, providing a nice contrast to the majority of musicals we see here in Melbourne.


Natalie Abbott stars as the frumpy but loveable Muriel. Her performance is nothing short of breathtaking. Her voice flawless, moving and powerful and her acting completely on point. Stefanie Jones in the role of her sidekick, Rhonda also delivers a strong performance. The entire supporting cast and ensemble are simply sublime. Ewan Lever, Maxwell Simon, Jamie Hadwen and Laura Bunting in the roles of Abba are a stand-out. Not only do they capture the Abba sound brilliantly in their extension of Muriel’s imagination, their energy and use of comedy is a constant driver in the performance. They are also responsible for one of the most chilling moments of the show with a truly beautiful yet haunting rendition of SOS in the second act.


The set is very modern and clever in its design, incorporating a number of wonderful effects with lighting and projection and continually changing by flying things in and out or by rotating on and off with the incredible revolving stage.


Contemporary Australian Musical Theatre is rare and often hard to see on the big stage and we have a responsibility to nurture and support it, especially when it is of such high quality as this production. This is truly a masterpiece musical and a must-see for all theatre-lovers and the like.

The Details

By Michael Kent

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