GODDESS

★★

UNDERCOOKED AND FAR FROM DIVINE

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
11th March 2013

Musicals are hard to pull off, and musical comedies are even harder. Even on the small screen they’re difficult. Look at ‘Glee’ and ‘Smash’ - don’t confuse popularity for quality. Well, there’s clearly a gap in the market, so who better to help fill it than Mark Lamprell, the man that brought us Babe, causing everyone fall in love with a talking pig and effectively turning the world kosher.

Based on a one-woman play, ‘Goddess’ tells the tale of aspiring songstress Elspeth Dickens (Laura Michelle Kelly), a Pom living in Tasmania thanks to her husband James’ (Ronan Keating) job saving the whales. Slowing going mad due to the isolation, long-distance relationship with her own husband and only having her twin toddlers and a goat as company, James gives Elspeth a webcam to help keep in touch. That’s all well and good - but with James constantly out of range, our heroine creates Sink Songs and invites the whole world to watch as she struggles to be a wife and mother while staying sane, with her own music sung right there at the kitchen sink. Elspeth’s webcasts become a hit, so naturally someone comes along to exploit her. Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski) and her lackey Ralph (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) spot our little songbird and whisk her away to Sydney to become the new face of Goddess computers for women. Newfound fame, people pulling her every which way and being apart from her family takes its toll on Elspeth, inviting temptation and the loss of her identity, sense of self and most maybe even her husband.

SWITCH: GODDESS WORLD PREMIERE RED CARPET

So the ideas and themes of this one aren’t very original, but the concept (sort of) is. We’ve all seen people find 15 minutes of fame and fortune via the internet, but it’s never really been committed to film (‘The Social Network’ doesn’t count). West End star Laura Michelle Kelly is cute and likable as the lead; unfortunately her character is less so. You may empathise with her plight, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily like her for it. Former boy band heartthrob Ronan Keating shows real potential in his acting debut. He’s charming, witty and deliciously sexy, which, lets face it, is what he was cast for. However, it’s Australia’s queen of comedy, Magda Szubanski, who lets us down. Her character is a no-nonsense scary corporate type who delivers few laughs and even less oomph.

What this film was in desperate need of was more time in the development process. The cast is fine, the songs are fine and story in fine, but when making a comedy, a musical - or in this case both - you need a hell of a lot more than just fine. Sentimentality takes over the comedy and outfits made of pink and yellow rubber gloves overshadow everything else.

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