Performers Anthony Warlow as Dr Zhivago and Lucy Maunder on stage after a dress rehearsal of the new musical Dr Zhivago. Photo: AAP.
Performers Anthony Warlow as Dr Zhivago and Lucy Maunder on stage after a dress rehearsal of the new musical Dr Zhivago. Photo: AAP.

Review: Dr Zhivago

THE setting may be dark but there’s only one word for Dr Zhivago - joyous.

That’s what leading man Anthony Warlow said last night after a standing ovation for the musical’s opening performance at QPAC in Brisbane.

The epic romance, adapted from the 1957 novel, features music by Broadway legend Lucy Simon and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers.

Brisbane is the last city of the show’s Australian tour, which started in Sydney with its world premiere and then travelled to Melbourne.

Warlow, leading lady Lucy Maunder (Lara) and Martin Crewes (Pasha Antipov) all lived up to the praise they received in the southern states.

A legend of the Australian stage, Warlow’s voice filled the Lyric Theatre with incredible range and power.

But he is also a giving performer, making sure his duets with Maunder and Taneel Van Zyl show off their voices as well as his own.

Just this week the premiere season earned the show seven Helpmann Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Male and Female Actor in a Musical.

The show builds to a climax in the first half with the touching Now, in the form of a soldier’s love letter, and then again in the second half with On The Edge of Time - both duets between Warlow and Maunder.

The somber musical was also peppered with lighter moments, including Crewes’s rousing, and seemingly knee-breaking, Russian dancing and Bartholomew John’s quips as the scheming Viktor Komarovski.

This is not the type of musical that will have you up on your feet dancing in the aisles but it will command your undivided attention. The story is as captivating now as it was half a century ago. And Anthony Warlow's voice with Lucy Simon's music is a match made in musical theatre heaven.

Dr Zhivago plays the Lyric Theatre at QPAC through July 31. Tickets from $59.90.

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