Ladies in Black @ The Canberra Theatre

28 March 2017

Ladies in Black on stage at the Canberra Theatre represents a perfect slice of 50’s life in a department store where the intimacies and eccentricities of the female staff in the frocks and frippery sections rewind to an era when elegance, style and attention to detail were de rigeur.

It’s a David Jones, Mark Foys, Farmers and Myer melting pot of the big boutiques loved by ladies with tiny waists, pert bosoms in figure shaping corsetry, fabulous confections of fabrics for formal occasions and all facilitated by those ladies in black. Perfectly coiffed, real red fingernails and a slash of Revlon’s Fire and Ice lippy as they sashayed around their domain gossiping and sharing their stories making their customers feel special.

Ladies in Black has become the best new musical for ages and the Queensland Theatre Company picked it up and ran with it to the delight of not just those who remember the time but especially for those who love the nostalgia of yesteryear and a secret hankering for a return to some of the disciplines of dressing.

Adapted from a book by Madeleine St John set in Sydney in the late 50’s, Lisa a young girl who has just completed her Leaving Certificate, gets a summer job at a department store in the cocktail frock department. And among the fabulous ladies in black Lisa gets lots of lessons in life, love, fashion and style. Slowly but surely emerging from the restraints of a 50’s lifestyle with the influence and support of this band of beauties, in a musical that is feel good and fabulous.

It’s a thanks for the memories kind of show in a production that’s slick and smooth, with show stopping music by Tim Finn, characters to love and one for the good old days to be remembered and cherished because you can bet they wont come back again.