Ask Audrey Ask Audrey
View:
Review
Review

Who’s Your Baghdaddy

"a very sophisticated piece of work"

Audrey review: If live-streamed musicals can be made this entertaining, then conventionally staged productions had better step up when the lockdown of our theatres ends.

Text size
Text size
Category: Musical
Book Now
Add to favourites

Who’s Your Baghdaddy?

Date: 25 Jun 2020

One of the most technically accomplished and engaging of the recent spate of iso-performances, the musical-satiric Who’s Your Baghdaddy? plays persuasively in the online space.

After all, much of the show’s plot – which delves into the intelligence and strategic thinking that propelled the United States into the invasion of Iraq – revolves around assumptions and decisions made by people working in isolation with different motives, incompatible agendas and in this case, issues with translation.

Credibility and reliability are different things? Who knew?

Written by Marshall Pailet and A.D. Penedo, the show begins with the convening of an AA-style support group for people struggling to come to terms with their role in the creation of the Iraq War.

Among them are CIA analysts Berry and Jerry (Laura Murphy and Adam Rennie), their boss Tyler (Phillip Lowe), analyst Martin (Doug Hansell), a keen young German security agency staffer Richart (Matthew Predny) and “Curveball” (Troy Sussman), an Iraqi asylum seeker claiming first-hand knowledge of a fleet of mobile germ warfare labs mounted on trucks.

The show then transports us to April 2001, back to that idyllic time when the closest thing to tragedy America could point toward was the cancellation of Baywatch. Act II shifts us forward in time just a few months, to September 11 2001 and its aftermath.

Directed by Neil Gooding, this production is staged in a large house with the cast dispersed and isolated, one per room. Each performs straight to camera, with the feeds vision-mixed and streamed live. Visually and sonically, it’s a very sophisticated piece of work, several orders of magnitude more impressive than the Celebrity Squares of a Zoom-streamed production.

Individual frames are juxtaposed and whisked around the screen to create the necessary sense of connection between characters. Props are passed as though from hand to hand. Ensemble numbers are cleverly choreographed on the screen.

The performances are excellent throughout and quickly dissolve any sense of physical separation between the performers. Murphy and Rennie shine hard as the young CIA analysts (their whiter-than-white rap number “Berry and the Bad Boy” is an early highlight) and the wide-eyed Predny is excellent as the ambitious yet utterly out-of-his-depth Richart. Blake Erickson and Katrina Rettalick provide an entertaining pop-up gallery of support roles.

Watched on a big screen, with headphones, it’s easy to be fully immersed. If live-streamed musicals can be made this entertaining, then conventionally staged productions had better step up when the lockdown of our theatres ends.

Content
A Room of One’s Own
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir, Surry Hills, Sydney 10 Sep - 18 Oct 2020

A Room of One’s Own

Anita Hegh stars in this adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1929 classic description of the need for new spaces and a complete redefinition of who owns our storymaking.

Wonnangatta
Add to favourites
TheatreRoslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney 21 Sep - 31 Oct 2020

Wonnangatta

Written by Angus Cerini, Wonnangatta is a darkly lyrical exploration of the Australian landscape - geographic and psychological.

Richard III
Add to favourites
ArchivedStreaming 16 - 18 Oct 2020

Richard III

For its next online project, Streamed Shakespeare turns its eye to an examination of power, ambition, and the lengths people will go to get what they want.

See More

More to see

View All
Breaking Glass
Add to favourites
OperaStreaming 25 Apr - 24 Oct 2020

Breaking Glass

In a quadruple bill of new one-act operas, four Australian women composers share the stories they've always wanted to tell.

From Our House to Yours
Add to favourites
StreamingStreaming 1 Apr - 31 Dec 2020

From Our House to Yours

The Sydney Opera House makes its contribution to the plethora of online content being made available by the world’s major performing arts venues.

OA | TV: Opera Australia on Demand
Add to favourites
OperaStreaming 3 May - 31 Dec 2020

OA | TV: Opera Australia on Demand

Unable to perform live while the country is in COVID-19 lock-down, Opera Australia has created another way to share their performances with opera fans.

Animal Farm
Add to favourites
TheatreNew Theatre, Newtown, Sydney 13 Oct - 7 Nov 2020

Animal Farm

One of the most influential and ground-breaking novels in English literature brought to the stage in a new adaptation by Saro Lusty-Cavallari.

Top