THE BOY FROM OZ
the unexpected – that’s what this reviewer did at Playlovers’ production of The Boy From Oz. With only I go to Rio and I Still Call Australia Home (from that Qantas ad) in my conscious Peter Allen repertoire, I had only
the “hype” from co-director and lead actor Ryan Taaffe to go on. Did it live up
to the hype? Absolutely.
The Boy From Oz is a vivacious and wholly entertaining musical biography/tribute to the late, great singer/songwriter Peter Allen. It was the first Australian musical to make it to Broadway.
Born in the outback Australian town of Tenterfield, NSW, in 1944, Allen (played to the hilt by Taaffe) made his entertainment debut at the age of five and went on to become a teenage pop star. While touring Asia, he met Judy Garland (Rachel Monamy) and later became engaged to her daughter, Lisa Minnelli (Elethea Sartorelli).
The show follows his many ups and downs – from winning an Oscar and sell-out performances at Radio City Music Hall in the United States to his marriage break-up, the death of his partner, a Broadway flop and his own battle with illness.
If a role was written for Taaffe, this was it. He had the audience in the palm of his hand with his cheeky charm and skillful delivery of Allen’s songs – he even had more than a few people convinced that it really was him playing the piano.
He was backed up by a professional and highly talented cast, crew and musicians. Standouts included Monamy and Sartorelli, both gifted with strong, commanding voices; Jack Dunne as the young Peter; and the delightful back-up trio of Emma Shaw, Sasha Hilton and Jessica Taylor. Their harmonies were spot on.
The choreography and musical direction was first rate, particularly in the colourful and exuberant I go to Rio number where the dancers moved into the audience, amping up the excitement. Another good move was pulled back the curtains late in the show to reveal the band, which, under the direction of Kate McIntosh (the real pianist), put on an impressive performance.
While this reviewer has singled out some cast members, credit should go to all involved – put simply, this was the best amateur production I have been to. Feedback from the audience post-show was equally positive.
It was a toe-tapping spectacle that had the audience singing along at times and one that really should be considered, even if you, like me, have a limited Allen repertoire.
Hackett Hall is on Draper Street in Floreat, WA. Doors open half an hour prior to curtain – there is complimentary port and sherry on offer.
The show is in its last days at Hackett Hall, Floreat – catch it on November 24, 25 or 26 at 8pm.
Book online at playlovers.org.au, email email@example.com or phone 0415 777 173.
Friday 10th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 11th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 17th May 2013 8pm
Saturda 18th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 24th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 25th May 2013 2pm & 8pm