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Sunday, August 7, 2022

SHOWBIZ: Jagged Little Pill


For starving Melbourne theatregoers, Jagged Little Pill is a terrific way to get our appetites back for live performance.
Inspired by and featuring songs from Alanis Morrissette’s award-winning 1995 album, Diablo Cody’s book brilliantly captures the zeitgeist of our time.
The story revolves around the all-American, perfect Healy family, but, of course, nothing is as it seems.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte plays matriarch Mary Jane Healy struggling to maintain the veneer of a happy family in the grip of her opioid addiction.
Her workaholic husband, Steve (Tim Draxl), hides a secret porn addiction.
Adopted daughter Frankie (Emily Nkomo) is on a mission to change the world, and Nick (Liam Head), the ‘perfect’ son, has just been accepted into Harvard.
When a friend, Bella (Grace Miell), is sexually assaulted at a graduation party, the repercussions tear down Mary-Jane’s house of cards.
Fabulous performances and brilliant staging sustain this almost three-hour show from its opening to its curtain call.
Bassingthwaite is outstanding in a complex role demanding talent she so obviously possesses.
Nkomo as daughter Frankie, demonstrates a prodigious talent and is someone to watch.
Maggie McKenna as Frankie’s best friend (and former lover), Jo, brings the house down with a visceral rendition of You Oughta Know, transporting the audience to the devastating heartbreak of unrequited love.
A well-deserved standing ovation follows.
Throughout the show, the talented ensemble galvanises the action with energised performances.
A new number by Morrisette for the production, Smiling, presented another standout scene.
Ingeniously choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Bassingthwaighte and the ensemble perform the number evoking Mary Jane’s day and then repeat the day in reverse.
Jagged Little Pill is a show not to be missed.
Judging by the second standing ovation of the night, the audience thought so too.
Venue: Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
Performance Times: Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday-Saturday 7.30pm, Matinees Saturday 2pm and Sunday 1pm, Sunday 6pm
Tickets: From $85.00 + booking fee
Bookings: jaggedmusical.com ticketmaster.com.au
Review by Kathryn Keeble