‘BLOOM’ – the musical by Tom Gleisner, can only be described as hilarious & unforgettable. On now at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Tom Gleisner, the renowned Australian comedian, and writer has ventured into the world of musical theatre with his latest production, BLOOM. This hilarious new musical opened at Arts Centre Melbourne on Saturday evening to an uproarious reception from the audience. 

Starring the talented Anne Edmonds in her first-ever singing theatre role, alongside seasoned performers Frankie J. Holden and Evelyn Krape, BLOOM promises an evening filled with laughter, catchy tunes, and unforgettable characters. With music composed by the brilliant Katie Weston, this production is a must-see for all comedy and theatre enthusiasts.

The audience was in stitches throughout the show with its hilarious take on the everyday antics of an aged care residence called PINE GROVE. The musical follows the misadventures of Mrs MacIntyre, the cunning owner of the aged care home, as she resorts to extreme measures to cut costs and enlists unqualified university students to assist in running the facility.

With its cleverly crafted script and catchy tunes, BLOOM offers a fresh and comical perspective on the challenges aged care facilities and their residents face. The audience is introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the residents of PINE GROVE, and the enthusiastic but ill-equipped students tasked with their care.

From the moment the curtains rise, the audience is immediately drawn into the world of PINE GROVE with the incredible set that is so true to the picture we all have in our minds of what an aged care home looks like. The impressive set design recreates an aged care home’s cosy and slightly outdated atmosphere. The attention to detail is extraordinary, with every set’s nook and cranny reflecting the characters’ quirks and idiosyncrasies and surroundings.

At the centre of the story is Mrs MacIntyre, portrayed brilliantly by a seasoned comedic actress whose impeccable timing and delivery had the audience roaring with laughter. Mrs MacIntyre’s relentless pursuit of cost-cutting measures, which often come at the expense of the residents’ well-being, drives the plot forward, creating a series of hilarious and, at times, absurd situations.

The unqualified university students, played by a talented ensemble cast, add an extra layer of humour to the show. Their lack of experience in caring for the elderly leads to comical misunderstandings, outrageous mishaps, and heartfelt moments of connection with the residents. The contrast between their youthful energy and the residents’ more sedate pace of life provides a rich source of comedic material throughout the production.

But BLOOM is not just about laughs. It also touches on deeper themes such as the importance of compassion, understanding, and the value of human connection, especially in the later stages of life. Amidst the laughter, the musical manages to find moments of poignancy that tug at the heartstrings, reminding us of the vulnerability and wisdom that come with age.

The talented cast, led by Gleisner’s sharp direction, brings the script to life with their impeccable comedic timing and superb vocal performances.

Review by Melinda Sullivan