Long Tan brings back Thun­der

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Tanya MacNaughton

TOM Oliver’s jour­ney with Rolling Thun­der Viet­nam be­gan dur­ing his in­volve­ment in two cre­ative de­vel­op­ments for the show in his home­town of Bris­bane in 2013.

He is now the last man stand­ing from that orig­i­nal group of per­form­ers as the con­cert drama tours Aus­tralia for the sec­ond time to com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Long Tan.

“We did our first na­tional tour in 2014 where I was lucky enough to cre­ate the role of Johnny, a young Aus­tralian man who leaves the farm and goes to war,” Oliver said.

“Writer Bryce Hal­lett had done a se­ries of in­ter­views with Viet­nam vet­er­ans and wives and girl­friends whose part­ners had gone to war.

“He came into the re­hearsal room with a lot of sto­ries and we de­vel­oped the script and sung the songs.

“The end re­sult is a roller­coaster of a ride through the ’60s and ’70s with the songs that de­fined that gen­er­a­tion.”

Oliver, who was in The Voice in 2014, said the pro­duc­tion was the best show he had been in­volved in and the near­est he would come to feel­ing a mil­i­tary con­nec­tion.

“My great grand­dad was in World War I and went to Gal­lipoli,” he said. “My dad was in the Navy and served for many years and my aunty was an en­ter­tainer in Viet­nam for the Aussie and Amer­i­can troops.

“I have so many fam­ily con­nec­tions to my char­ac­ter and it’s kind of the clos­est I’ll ever get, I think, to go­ing to war.”

Oliver said he was pumped to be re­turn­ing to Rolling Thun­der Viet­nam af­ter two years, along­side Wes Carr and Ben Min­gay, feel­ing he had grown a lot over the break.

“I’ve just turned 23; I was 21 then and a lot has hap­pened in my life dur­ing that time,” he said.

“As an ac­tor, I get so much out of the role and get­ting to sing those songs with mu­sic direc­tor Chong Lim and mem­bers of John Farn­ham’s band; you can’t sing those songs with any bet­ter play­ers in the coun­try.

“At the end of the show I get to sing Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter, which is such a buzz.”

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group has 10 dou­ble passes to give away to Rolling Thun­der Viet­nam on Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 17. En­ter at www.com­mu­ni­tynews. com.au be­fore 10am, Mon­day, July 4.

Tom Oliver (cen­tre) has grown a lot since last per­form­ing in the show.

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