Girls score points
DESPITE a show about one of Australia’s sons, it was a clear point to the girls for North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre’s production of The Boy From Oz.
A jukebox musical based on the life of singer-songwriter Peter Allen, The Boy From Oz follows Australia’s answer to Elton John’s trajectory from his home town of Tenterfield, New South Wales, via SouthEast Asia’s cabaret circuit, to America, where he spent most of his career.
With Hugh Jackman in the lead role, the show was the first Australian musical to reach Broadway. But it’s hard to imagine the man who brought us Wolverine – probably the butchest man in the world – in a sequined shirt ( and winning a Tony award for his efforts, no less).
Then again, have you seen the Lipton iced tea ad?
ENERGY: Kevin Wright as Peter Allen
There’s no doubt about Kevin Wright’s Peter Allen, however, who flounced on stage leading two tradies by leashes and screaming jazz h a n d s c a mp. T h i s o v e r - exaggeration initially grated, but despite his phoney piano playing, the audience soon warmed to him.
Vicki Kersh as the alcoholsodden Judy Garland was form i d a b l e , a n d M e r e d i t h Palmer gave a scarily uncanny turn as Liza Minelli, which was actually quite difficult to watch. The backup trio was also larger than life, with voices to match, doing well to bring humour to some recurring problems with the microphones on the night.
The female dancers were a bunch of pocket rockets and Robyn Wong’s fabulous costumes nicely distracted from the sometimes clumsy choreography.
Musical highlights included t h e b a l l a d s Qui e t P l e a s e There’s A Lady On The Stage, I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love and I Honestly Love You, but of course it was the moment the 20kg Australian flag, s wi p e d f r o m P a r l i a me n t House, dropped like a stage curtain and Peter, with help from Kirwan State School, belted out I Still Call Australia Home that the collective heart of the auditorium began to swell.