Charlotte Scott, a pleasant singer who was somehow both strong and clueless throughout the show, plays Suzy, a tomboy who rolls into a town I'd describe as sleepy if it wasn't for the central brothel where most of the action takes place. Virge Gilchrist portrays the mistress of said brothel, Fauna, who flicks her birds in and out of a frenzy and takes Suzy under her wing, even though Suzy doesn't see... ahem... "bird" material.
Doc, the charismatic Keiran Brown, falls for Suzy, and spends most of the show working that out, leaving the ensemble to sing songs about their lives from the energetic "A Lopsided Bus" to the cheeky "Sweet Thursday" and "The Happiest House on the Block". The heartwarming love songs were a highlight, Brown's solid talent shining through with "All At Once You Love Her", even if Doc being hung up on Suzy was a little hard to believe. "How Long" was a highlight for me, the only song that was fresh in it's approach as the cast told Doc how this "talking to women" thing is done, spiritedly if unsuccessfully.
There were some odd directorial decisions in the show. A couple of warm moments between the leads were framed by rather distracting ensemble antics: for example, Doc was singing his silly educated heart out to Suzy over their first date dinner at the end of Act One, and to the left were a couple dancing seductively, rather than sat with the other ensemble behind the cleverly rickety set. It was pivotal moment in the characters' romantic arc and the audience certainly didn't need the distraction. It was categorically odd.
Dance numbers sometimes contradicted the action, and there were also a couple of scenes that could have been easily cut – as charming as the rather dim Hazel's "Thinkin'" was, it did nothing for the show and felt filler. (Side note - Nick Martland as Hazel is well worth watching even when he's not speaking for his characteristic subtleties – a great performer)
The set was a beauty, practical for quick changes from the lad's pad in a warehouse (which is gorgeously named Palace Flophouse) to the Doc's lab to the Bear Flag brothel. The cast revel in the set, which they barely leave, vanishing behind the wooden racketed walls to sit and watch the action with the audience, most of the time.
There is a nice chemistry between all of the elements of the show most of the time – the problems lay in the material and the direction. It's brave of the Union to present it, but there must be better scripts lying around begging for a revival surely?