Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Boy from Oz


Yum-cha in Marrickville with Phil, Michael & Eamon. We wander down into a street festival, where a presenter proudly extolls the "multi-diversity" on show. God knows, a single diversity is rarely enough.


Evening at Sydney Entertainment Centre seeing the "stadium" version of The Boy from Oz, with Hugh Jackman's amazing presence filling in for Peter Allen. I met Peter Allen 15yrs ago at the opening night of the Buddy (Holly) musical, not far from the same spot (at Her Majesty's Theatre). A friend invited him to be guest of honour at his Australia Day sausage sizzle at Bondi Beach the next day. I remember enough of his vocal and facial mannerisms to appreciate how well Hugh takes on the role. On Australia Day 1992, a year after that BBQ, Peter staged his final concert and died in San Diego 5 months later.

The show was an amazing spectacle, with especially memorable pieces being Angela Toohey as Liza Minelli in a Fosse-esque song-and-dance, Colleen Hewitt belting out "Don't Cry Out Loud" as Pete's mum, and a choir-enhanced rendition of "I still call Australia home". The last two brought tears to my eyes. Hugh worked the audience, as Peter would have - the conceit being that this is Peter *now* live on stage, retracing his life through through his songs - moving down into the aisles to engage with various punters. Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls takes on Judy Garland ("just like Marilyn Monroe" as I recall seeing her play the lead in the local production of "Blood Brothers").


Afterwards Phil, Michael & I retired to the bar across the road, joined by Jason, Jill and Michael Tyack (musical director for the show). Jill is about to set off for a tour of the Greek Islands (which I've dubbed the Jilliad), in particular following in the footsteps of Gerald and Lawrence Durrell.
Still later, our core trio moved up to Chinatown for a midnight dinner. I tried to recall previous appearances of Murray Bartlett (who played Peter Allen's lover, and is an old acquaintance of mine), one of which was an awful movie about a squid (probably adapted from a Peter Benchley book) and which I tried to summon up as "The Squid's in the Picture" or "The Karate Squid". Needless to say, the conversation sank to sub-oceanic depths as we vied for steadily worse squid-inflected movie and song titles: "Butch Calamari and the Sundance Squid" etc. I'll spare you..

1 comment:

  1. The Beast was a wonderful movie! Poor Murray died a horrible death, crushed fathoms below the surface by a giant squid, leaving that poor redheaded girl forever sobbing!

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