So … you know the blues trio of Vix and The Slick Chix, and Vix’s backstory involving Wiley Reed?
Well …. forgive the pointlessness of doing a theatre review of a show that you’ve missed, but this was the second “outing” of “A Girls Guide To World War” … and if good fortune smile on the troupe that put it on, you may get another chance.
The trio of Vix and the Slick Chix feature promently in this production. Aleathea Monsour (bass in the ‘Chix and in this production) played one of the main charactors – Dr Agnes Bennett – and was musical director and composer, teaming up with her partner Katy Forde who wrote the script and directed. Slick Chix drummer, Nicole Perry, was part of the production’s musicans, as was Vix Sheather who not only was the backing musican for the play, but also the narator and lead singer of some of the numbers.
“A Girls Guide To World War” is a rollicking true story of a group of courageous women who established a mobile army surgical hospital (yes, a M.A.S.H) on the Serbian front lines during World War 1, the only medical unit to come to the aid of Serbia who were trying to retake their homeland. Katy Forde’s script, taken from diaries and archives, presented with poinient themes and large lashings of humour, is engaging throughout. Two other main characters – Dr Lillian Cooper (Susie French) and Miss Josephine Beford (Justine Anderson) are part of Brisbane’s history, helping found the RACQ, the RSPCA and C&K Kindergardens on their return from war. This is a powerful and warm story, written with care.
Similarly the musical numbers carry the the story well: beautiful touching songs amd some foot stomping fun but none out of place. Aleathea Monsour’s score, played by the Slick Chix with Sue Moxon (piano, cello), does everything that’s required. It augments the script well, provides merry moments to lighten the mood, and caries the audience on the more tender numbers.
This is a professional production, with excellent lighting, set and sound designs by Linus Monsour (family to the rescue) and Barry Somers. The production might have humble beginnings with negliable budget and co-opting cast and family into supporting roles such as set creation and costumes, but there are decades of experiance, along with sheer hard work, that makes this produciton shine.
If you see this production return, it is well worth making the effort to see it.