With a fabulous cast, clever use of staging, wonderful script and unforgettable hit songs, Flowerchildren The Mamas and The Papas Story is a musical which will have you experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions!
Directed by Aaron Joyner and starring Matt Hetherington, Dan Humphris, Laura Fitzpatrick and Casey Donovan, Flowerchildren revives the flower power era, telling the turbulent story behind the songs of the iconic ’60s folk rock quartet The Mamas and The Papas.
Opening with The Mamas and The Papa’s most famous hit ‘California Dreaming’ being performed on a TV variety show, the musical focuses on the underlying tensions, and the highs and lows that existed behind the scenes for The Mamas and The Papas.
In essence it tells the stories behind the songs. Think distrust, dangerous passions, complex entanglements and a variety of different drug and alcohol addictions, all coinciding with the group’s spectacular rise to fame. It’s a very well written script with some killer one-liners and just the right amount of humour, drama and pathos. At the core of the show are the emotions and motivations of each of the four main characters, and the impact their decisions have on each other that threaten to tear the group apart.
The cast did an amazing job. The four members of the quartet were a real stand out; each voice aurally delightful, the complex harmonies both stunning and seemingly easy.
Casey Donovan perfectly captures the sass of her character. Her powerful vocals are evocative of the unique voice of Mama Cass, bringing joy and pain to her signature solo hit, Dream A Little Dream Of Me. It is bound to send chills down the spine of anyone listening. Laura Fitzpatrick as Michelle, the unfaithful wife of John Phillips, is able to show all aspects of Michelle’s personality from youthful, playful and flighty, to more mature, sensitive and sincere. Her rendition of Dedicated To The One I Love is particularly sweet and emotive.
The male leads, just like their female counterparts, are equally as talented both in vocals and acting. Dan Humphris as Denny displays a spectacularly bright tenor, and is able to capture the sensitive, love struck, booze addicted nature of his character. Finally, as John Phillips, the talented yet high on drugs song writer, Matt Hetherington is brilliant and compelling. He truly captures his character’s arrogance and confusion with his affecting vocals.
Overall, Flowerchildren is a story which will have members of all generations enjoying the thrilling harmonies and the compelling story behind them. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, humming California Dreaming for days afterwards! The juxtaposition of the classic ’60s hits with the humorous narrating asides and the stunning performances make for an incredible, compelling musical. A solid 8.5 out of 10 stars!