'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

08 March 2013

End Of The Rainbow - Judy Garland

Saturday 2nd March Playhouse Theatre QPAC
The biographical last decline of the phenomenal talent that was Judy Garland written by Peter Quilter and starring Christen O'Leary. Just a short while before her death she appeared at the Talk of the Town in London with her new husband manager (12 years her junior) Mickey Deans (Anthony Standish) and the adoring gay accompanist Anthony (Hayden Spencer). The play originally inspired by the observation of a washed up artist being reluctantly and literally pushed on stage to perform as the old professional he was. So many similarities were seen by others with the Garland story that Peter Quilter (an Englishman) re-wrote it to fit the story of Judy Garlands last days and this version premiered in Australia in 2005 and is hence thought of as an Australian play by and Englishman about an American.
 Christen O'Leary has played Judy Garland before in what has been described as a powerhouse performance in 'The Boy From Oz'. Here for The Queensland Theatre Company she gets to fill a whole show with all the passion of an exaggerated life of fame, talent, strength, love, drugs and alcohol. About a dozen of Garland's songs are delivered with the power and conviction of a trouper as we switch from the anguish to the hysteria to the sadness that was the life of one of the 20th century's truly fabulous icons.
The evening ended with a standing ovation for the awesome performance of the multi award winning actress and divine singer Christen O'Leary. As a friend said to be able to successfully inhabit the role of a person so well known and loved is remarkable.

A great review I wish I had written myself Click here

Holding The Man

Friday 1st March at La Boite Theatre
Directed again by David Berthold 
With the brilliant designs of Tony Award winning Brian Thomson

From the book 'Holding The Man' by Timothy Conigrave about the 15 year love affair between himself and John Caleo until John's death on Australia Day 1992 and Tim's own death in 1994. The book was published in 1995 and won for Tim The UN Human Rights Award for Non Fiction. It becomes one of the top selling books in Australia and has been translated into other languages and is now published by Penguin Classics. In 2006 it was turned into a play by Tommy Murphy and won several awards and is being presented all over the country on repeated occasions and internationally in San Francisco New Zealand and London. On its second presentation in Brisbane with a new cast it has already received rave reviews, standing ovations along with the laughter and tears.
The two wonderful leads were Alec Snow as Tim and Jerome Meyer as John. I recall Alec as a stand out performer in As You Like It last year. This boy has stage presence. Jerome is an instantly sympathetic and adorable actor. The rest of the cast were led by the multi roles of the brilliant veteran Eugene Gilfedder whom I recall first seeing in a play many years ago and so often since. The beautiful newcomer Jai Higgs, stage and screen actress Lauren Jackson and multi-talented Londoner Helen Howard also take on the demands of up to a dozen roles each.

They first met at school in 1972
By 1976 they Fall in Love
Through University and NIDA there are Family and Friends
The Joy and Laughter on the scene.
The Pain and Sadness of HIV/AIDS
The Original Boys

Click to buy the book
A rare old video with Tim Conigrave (the one in his undies at the end)

Driving Miss Daisy - Angela Lansbury

 Thursday 21st February
What an evening! We knew it would be something special  when it began with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones stepping on stage into a spotlight from opposite sides to thunderous applause. Watching legends in action on stage is a lesson in what is great acting. The nuances, the power, the timing and the tiny moments that only a star can deliver, all make you aware why some people have been in the public eye and heart for up to an astonishing seven decades.
The stars in town
Angela Lansbury at an astonishingly sprightly 87 years of age and the equally magnificent  82 year old James Earl Jones. Miss Lansbury has been in my list of favourite actors for so many decades. I recall the early masterpieces from the forties  like The Picture of Dorian Gray and Gaslight and the steady stream of characters she has created over the last 69 years. Of course the wonderful roles and iconic characters created by that voice and presence known as James Earl Jones is something so special that it was a doubly blessed evening. I half expected to see some light sabers in the audience. You know how fanatical some fans can  be.

Lansbury on stage and it all ended in a so well deserved standing ovation.
What an honour for us to be there.
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