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City of Angels – Hayes Theatre Co (NSW)

Book by Larry Gelbart and music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and David Zippel. Produced by Joshua Robson Productions

Reviewed by Tessa Miles

Hayes Theatre, Potts Point

Until 23rd July, 2023

4 Stars

- A perfect night out for lovers of musicals and film noir. Pop it on your list! -

City of Angels, the beloved musical by Larry Gelbart and Cy Coleman, comes alive with extraordinary charm and sophistication in its recent production at The Hayes Theatre. The intimate setting of The Hayes provides an ideal backdrop for the show's complex narrative and stunning performances. From start to finish, City of Angels offers a thrilling experience that leaves audiences captivated and enchanted.

Set in the glitz and glam of 1940s Hollywood, the musical follows young novelist Stine (Glenn Hill) as he attempts to adapt his book into a screenplay for movie producer/director Buddy Fidler (Paul Hanlon). The story cleverly weaves together the real world and the film noir-inspired fantasy world, with Stine's scenes played out on stage. Humour, seduction, and mystery intertwine to bring both the imaginary and real worlds to life in clever and thoughtful ways.

The cast of City of Angels at the Hayes Theatre

Photo © Grant Leslie Photography

The creative team skilfully navigates the intricate dual narrative, seamlessly blending the real world with the film noir-inspired fantasy realm. Smart lighting design and quick set changes aid the seamless transitions between the two contrasting environments, further immersing the audience in the story.

Upon entering the theatre, the jazz music emanating from the 7-piece band on stage immediately sets the mood. The stage itself is adorned with window blinds that are framed by old school reel film, and a Hollywood film studio door as the backdrop, all combining to create an authentic and captivating setting within the space.

Two of the cast of City of Angels at the Hayes Theatre

Photo © Grant Leslie Photography

The cast delivers exceptional performances, infusing depth, and charisma into their respective roles. Each actor captures the essence of their characters, skilfully blending the wittiness of the noir genre with the emotional nuances required for the show's poignant moments. Standout performances include Aaron Tsindos as Stone, whose rich voice and charismatic presence captivate the audience, and Paul Hanlon as Buddy Fidler, whose portrayal of the stereotypical Hollywood ego leaves a lasting impression. Penny McNamee shines in the dual roles of CarlaHaywood and Alaura Kingsley, effortlessly embracing the seductive nature and brilliance of each character. Shannon Alyce Quan showcases a strong vocal performance in their dual roles of Oolie and Donna, particularly shining in the duet "What You Don't Know About Women" and the solo "You Can Always Count On Me." Additionally, the Angel City Four ensemble provide stellar support, enhancing scene transitions, and delivering entertaining performances alongside characters such as Jimmy Powers.

It will leave audiences captivated, mesmerised, and impressed

The musical numbers in City of Angels are a true highlight, with Coleman's brilliant score and David Zippel's clever lyrics on full display. The live band, arranged in a big band formation on stage, bring the music to life with precision and energy. From jazzy showstoppers to heartfelt ballads, each song showcases the cast's vocal prowess and ability to convey the complex emotions of the characters. Choreography by Sam Hooper (who also directed), was minimalistic yet perfectly executed, seamlessly complementing the music and the story.

The set design cleverly captures the essence of the film noir aesthetic while making the most of the limited space. The lighting design, with its contrasting tones and strategic placement of shadows, add depth and visual interest, effectively enhancing the overall atmosphere.

For lovers of film noir, old-school Hollywood, and musical theatre, City of Angels at The Hayes Theatre is the perfect night out. It will leave audiences captivated, mesmerised, and impressed by the stellar performances from the cast. The exceptional performances, skilful direction, and impressive band combine to create an engaging and memorable production. If you're seeking an enjoyable night out in Sydney, be sure to make City of Angels on your list!



Director/Choreographer Sam Hooper

Music Director Abi McCunn

Music Director Damon Wade

Assistant Director Julia Robertson

Set Designer Simon Greer

Lighting Designer James Wallis

Costume Designer Esther Zhong

Production Manager Anusha Thomas

Stage Manager Hannah Ribbons

Assistant Stage Manager Hana Barn

Assistant Stage Manager Saffron Little

Casting Consultant Rhys Velasquez

Starring Madeleine Betts, Doron Chester, Chantel Cofie, Sian Crowe, Paul Hanlon, Glenn Hill, Noah Janssen, Katelin Koprivec, Penny McNamee, Mia Morrissey, Conor Neylon, Shannen Alyce Quan, Ethan Rutledge, Marcus Rivera, Aaron Tsindos and Jessica White.


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