WHEN a little-known stage show dubbed The Sapphires shimmied into Perth two years ago, four Aboriginal songbirds burnt up the stage in a dazzling display with all the promise of a big screen blockbuster musical.
Inspired by the true story of playwright Tony Briggs’ mother and three aunts during the racial upheaval of the ’60s and delivering a spirited score, sparkling costumes and charismatic performances, the showstopper still ranks among the best plays or musicals seen on any stage in Perth, Broadway or the West End.
Originating as an acclaimed production in 2004, that 2010 reprisal introduced a new cast including seasoned songstress Christine Anu and Australian Idol season two winner Casey Donovan, marking the oft-maligned powerhouse vocalist’s return to the spotlight.
Off the back of rave reviews, it secured a stint in London with Donovan the sole lead to secure a spot on tour, only to unsuccessfully audition for the film version.
Deborah Mailman (from the original 2004 production) and Australian Idol season four runner-up Jessica Mauboy are joined here by two young newcomers in Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens as talented sisters Gail, Julie and Cynthia and cousin Kay, whose beautiful harmonies are discovered by soul-loving music manager Dave (Chris O’Dowd).
Directed by feature film debutant Wayne Blair, the cinematic adaptation carries a weight of expectation and delivers on all fronts of the populist musical genre.
performances, but it adaptation carries a weight of expectation and delivers on all fronts of the populist musical genre.
The Sapphires offers an uplifting crowd-pleaser that is sure to become an Aussie classic.
The Sapphires (M)
Directed by: Wayne Blair
Starring: Deborah Mailman, Chris O'Dowd, Jessica Mauboy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Emilia Vranjes.