Dylan O’Neill reviews the Musical Society’s inaugural show: She Loves Me. Photo credit: Earl Echivarre
The gala night of UCD Musical Society’s presentation of She Loves Me, saw more than 200 people in attendance to see the inaugural show of the 9th session of the society.
Led by musical director Ben Duffy, the orchestra opened with an overture reminiscent of an Eastern European anthem, setting the scene for Mr. Maraczek’s perfumery in 1930s Budapest. The opening number “Good Morning, Good Day” introduced the characters as the loyal, if somewhat disaffected, clerks of the perfumery. The show followed the lives of Mr. Georg Novack, played by Rory Sheehy, and Ms. Amalia Balash, played by Kate Lally, as two perfume clerks who, despite their feuding nature at work, harbour a secret affection for each other as pen pals from a Lonely Hearts ad.
From a shaky chance encounter, both actors played off each other, proving there is a fine line between love and hate throughout the show. Sheehy’s awkward and more cynical portrayal of Georg leading up the first act’s finale was brilliantly contrasted to Lally’s bubbly portrayal of Amalia. From the opening numbers to the final notes of the “Finale”, Sheehy and Lally delivered a superb vocal display to accompany their onstage acting prowess.
From a shaky chance encounter, both actors played off each other, proving there is a fine line between love and hate throughout the show.
Alongside the main leads were the other employees of the perfumery. Ilona Ritter, played by Lauren McMahon, whose unluckiness in love doesn’t hinder McMahon’s vocal command, elegant movements or delivery of her jarring quips to fellow clerk, Mr. Kodaly, played by Gavin Molony. The renowned owner of the perfumery, Mr. Maraczek, played by Marco McVey, offered a complex and moving portrayal of an elderly man trying to reclaim his youth, while also suffering from his wife’s betrayal. With strong vocals and perfect comedic timing, McVey delivered a hilarious rendition of “Days Gone By” in the opening scenes. Malachy Conlan and Eoghan Walsh must also be mentioned for their portrayals of Mr. Sipos and Arpad, respectively. Conlan playing the hysterical yet cunning Mr. Sipos delivered a side-achingly funny “Perspective” of how he survives within the perfumery. Walsh gave a boyish charm to the role of Arpad. From his interest in Ms. Ritter, he develops into a mature, trusted confidante of Mr. Maraczek, and ultimately achieves his goal of becoming clerk.
The extended chorus of characters showed off the hard work and commitment that went into the production of the show.
The extended chorus of characters showed off the hard work and commitment that went into the production of the show. Be it young couples on a romantic date or frantic Christmas shoppers, they delivered near flawless choreographed numbers, devised by choreographer Louise O’Connor, that provided light-hearted moments to accompany the trials of the main characters. Michael Tuohy’s character of the tightly wound waiter and the Christmas chorus really stood out vocally, thanks to the efforts of vocal director Mary McGowan.
Director Jack Carolan’s adaptation of this renowned musical based on the play Parfumerie by Miklós László, was a well-rounded and thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish, and it will have audiences calling again to future Musical Society’s productions.