• 27 Aug 2009 /  Reviews
    I can see my place from here

    'I can see my place from here!'

    Back at home – I live in in the ‘projects’ surrounding Belvoir – life is as per usual. Though one of my pussy cats died. He was a real sweetie and I loved him heaps. But I am getting a new one: instead of Amos & Andy, very soon I will have Amos & Dandy. Lots of photos of domestic bliss anticipated as the new boy sorts out his status with ‘he who has been here from the very beginning’.

    I forgot to tell you, a few weeks back, how I saved our block of flats from burning down. The Vietnamese man on the ground floor enjoys a little tipple and Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 24 Aug 2009 /  Articles

    A colleague sent me this article – which further explains why Barrie Kosky feels more at home in Berlin than here.

    Outrageousness, Herr Director, Is a Tough Act to Follow

    By SALLY McGRANE

    (New York Times, 14 January 2007)

    Frank Castorf's production of Kokain (2004)

    Frank Castorf's 2004 production of Kokain


    WHEN the director Frank Castorf was being considered
    to head Berlin’s second largest state-owned theater in 1991, the cultural powerbroker Ivan Nagel urged the German Senate to take a risk on him and his politically minded troupe, saying, “In three years they will either be dead or famous.” Mr. Castorf got the job, and the following year he opened at the Volksbühne, or People’s Theater, with a series of brash productions. Under his direction, actors ignored huge portions of the classical texts they performed, stripped naked, screamed their lines for the duration of five-hour productions, got drunk onstage, dropped out of character, conducted private fights, tossed paint at their public, saw a third of the audience walk out as they spoke two lines at an excruciatingly slow pace, may or may not have induced a theatergoer to drink urine, threw potato salad, immersed themselves in water, recited newspaper reports of Hitler’s last peacetime birthday party, told bad jokes, called the audience East German sellouts and appeared to but did not kill a mouse. After their first season the prestigious magazine Theaterheute (Theater Today) named the Volksbühne Theater of the Year.

    Mr. Castorf and his troupe were famous.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 23 Aug 2009 /  Reviews
    Peter Carroll and John Gaden

    Peter Carroll (centre) and John Gaden (right) ready to party in The Bacchae - part three of Kosky's The Lost Echo.


    What I have posted on this site so far about Herr Kosky’s Poppea has been a tease, apart from the link to Ms Croggon’s brilliant review. But I do have a little bit of straight talking of my own to do. I held off writing something, not only because I was daunted: but also because I was booked in to meet with La Barrie for a short conversation and I thought it might be good to wait until after that. Some of you know I have been asked to write a Currency Press Platform Paper on the ‘life and times’ of the STC Actors Company – not due out until April next year. And I have decided the way I wanted to do this is talk to as many people who were involved in project as I can and find out what the experience it had been like for them. I am guessing varied responses. So far I have spoken with Benedict Andrews and Robyn Nevin – both of whom were wonderfully open and insightful with their memories and opinions. And now I have the voice Kosky digitalized and ready to be uploaded.

    In my preparation I got a chance to relive The Lost Echo by way of a video recording in the STC archives. Kosky’s work continuously folds back on itself, ideas and images return in Ovid-like permutations on a regular basis. But, I noted, the connections between The Lost Echo and Poppea are particularly striking. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 21 Aug 2009 /  News, Videos

    For those who saw Kosky’s Poppea

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  • 15 Aug 2009 /  Reviews

    I am so nearly back to writing on this site on a regular basis. I think. The psychodrama phase of my healing is as complete as it ever will be; and the chronic pain problems I have been enduring which have kept me away from productive work for weeks now appear to be on fading. I hope. After visits to a range of my healers I was directed to a new acupuncturist! I have been seeing him every second or third day for the past few weeks, and only just the last two nights in a few months have I slept all the way through to dawn. I am not brave enough to declare victory yet, but I am grateful for the peace that has already descended on my body and soul.

    But such a trail of unfinished business. Shows I wanted to see that I have missed; and shows I have seen and am yet to write about. Before I step back into the breeches, I feel a need to add a little more to what I wrote recently about Brendan Cowell’s Ruben Guthrie and Tommy Murphy’s Saturn’s Return. Well, as someone distantly connected to one of these productions has pointed out: I did not say much about the plays. My piece was more about the writers – the guys. It was feedback I half expected because I sensed a niggle of conscience as I put that piece up. The scribble was amusing – a few people have said that. And some friends were pleased to see me back in droll form, enjoying myself. But in my own mind I knew I had only done half the job. It’s one thing to toy with artists as personalities for the sake of some amusing copy. But where were my paragraphs on the work? To say that the new version of Ruben Guthrie is more successful than what I had anticipated; and, in my view, the new Saturn’s Return less successful than I had hoped, is not criticism. It is dinner party conversation. I have thought much over the years about what criticism can and should involve. I have steadfastly taken to the view that it is of less import whether a critic likes a show or not, than it is for them to succinctly outline their reasons why. It’s all about the WHY!

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 12 Aug 2009 /  Other

    Every blog site requires the occasional purge – a good flushing – enjoy this intellectual vacation while I prepare something of my own. Less meaty…??

    U can find anything on the net if you look

    I know toilet humour is meant to be the prevail of pimply teenage boys but I have to admit I found this essay hilarious. I dedicate this posting to Maestro Barrie Kosky who profoundly respects bodily functions and fluids and whose The Coronation of Poppea I encountered last night. If there is anyway you can get to see it – do. It is a masterpiece. Ravishing. The best from the best….

    Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 11 Jun 2009 /  Other

    Not long after I started this ‘e’-gotistical site, after I had been away to Ernabella with the Big hART mob, I sat down one day, dropped my guard, and kinda put some of it down on paper. It was a rare story without photos and I guess it exposed me for the man I was – or wasn’t. And likely never will be.
    It’s 3.30 am on a Fri nite/ Sat am – and there has been a gnawing at me for some weeks that I need to do the same again. It goes against all my training – self censorship. The game a secondary artist like myself plays, expressing himself from behind the mask of other people’s creative work.

    Why don’t I write my own novels, plays, symphonies – people often ask. Well I was doing that when I fell off a cliff in 1979, and funny I thought the impulse would come back one day. But it never has. I have had those creationist feelings rise up inside me many a time – and some I have given love and time to. Sometimes a year or two and hundreds of pages. But they have all died. A library of still-born children. Either, ultimately, I could not face the darkness I discovered inside myself. Or if I tried to lighten up it all just got too evasive and silly.

    I live in the pain of never really being able to express myself directly. And so I figure the next best thing is to encourage others attempting the same. Being a critic, which I think is a disgusting word, is probably the stupidest way to go about such a goal because it can encourage such nay-saying. I know I have hurt many people in the past. These days I try to take a gentler path – looking for work that I can ‘speak up’; and only going to the negative when I feel I cannot possibly, in all conscience, avoid it.

    I started jameswaites.com because it was becoming obvious that the print media was dying all around me/us. Thus far posting my odd and erratic stories has been fun. Though bluurging does encourage haste and superficiality. All my regular readers (I know who the three of you are) understand I took some time off of late to rest and recreate after some unfortunate stuff happened on a train. The funny thing is – it wasn’t the train thing itself that has brought me undone. As one pal reminded me – we all get beat up on a train once or twice in our lives (in some shape or form). That’s life and that’s my attitude too. It was the fact that for a privileged yuppie white guy from the first world, my poor body (and my soul) had already been to through quite lot. As a self-defined as a pick-yourself-up-off-the-mat kinda guy, it was odd a cupla months later to fell back over again. And not get up!

    Violence is a strange phenomenon and it has an unattractive ability of multiplying with itself. So while it was no EXCUSE – it was also horribly predictable that, as a victim, I might lash out myself somewhere down the track. Two very decent people were on the receiving end. One got yelled at, another got slapped. One is not really reconciled, the other – well let’s just say – the wounds are healing. In this second case, the person I slapped, well that person went off and slapped someone else not long after. So you get my point. And you can probably understand now why I am  reading Christos Tsiolkas’s book, The Slap, with such interest at the moment.

    I won’t bore you with the litany of scars marked on my body from a life, willingly and accidentally tossed into the big surf time and time again. I was first given the last rites at six weeks old, and I have been that close again over the years at least three or four times. I am taking about ‘we are about to lose him ‘scenes, not just sore and bloodied from an encounter on a train etc and the like. There’s been plenty of that too. I’ve had a knife put to my throat in an Amsterdam bar, and once got mugged by a junkie when I got lost somewhere round NYC’s lower-east side. I left my last boyfrend a couple of years back after his alcoholism got to such a point he entered the bedroom with an axe. And only just over a year ago he broke into my city apartment and tried to set me alight. To extend the list would be milking for laughs.

    My poor true self has had so many dings and my life narrative so many set backs, the problem with the incident on the train is that a couple of months later, my body and soul simply started to pack it in. I just could not get back up off the mat. All those above incidents and more I will not name converged into Condradian darkness.

    It has been a most fascinating experience to watch, if rather horrible to live through. Waking up in the morning after almost no sleep, days at a time, so lost and confused I have had no idea what my tasks were for the day – much less any sense that I might be able to achieve them. Some of you have been very ind to me. Others I had mistaken as friends have been self-serving and merciless. The Rosencranz and Guildenstern scene in a local coffee shop is one I will not easily forget.

    I have tried every trick in the book to get by to get through – gp, psychiatrist, osteopath, acupuncturist, swimming, walks with friends, party drugs, days in bed, psychopath, reading voluminously, movies by myself, Rage into the early hours, trying to help others worse off. And as any of of you who have been at all close to me through these past few months – it has been mad. Just as I would overcome one setback, I would be faced with another. I have felt like Job.

    Lucky I have some great friends. And what’s interesting about times of trouble are the new people who miraculously appear. It happened when I was in hospital in 1979/80/81 – strangers found me and befriended me – and gave me love. And once repaired and back out in the world – they stepped back into the landscape.
    Again this time several new people have been incredibly kind to me. You know who you are. Now things are getting better at last – they must be if I can bring myself to be this frank – I trust you will remain in the foreground. Because we share professional interests, I think this is possible.

    When times are tough, it does help to think of others.  I have always had time for those homeless men and women who sell The Big Issue. I can think of only two nights in my life when I have not had a cosy bed to go home to somewhere – and that’s only because I’ve lost my keys to the hotel or whatever!  But how is this for tough? One guy who often sells The Big Issue at the Devonshire Street tunnel was looking worse for wear the other morning. He had been caught on the train to Newcastle a few hours earlier by some guards – this long night train is a common place to sleep for a number of homeless – and for whatever reason he had got a flogging. The cops came and charged him. I don’t know the facts, and what he might have said done to have caused offence. But he was definitely badly bruised. He had caught the train that night, rather than take a room, because that day had been his pension day. He had done a bold thing and bought a whole box of Big Issues in advance. Apparently other homeless people sometimes pick on you when you do this job. And this guy’s story was as backed up by an older woman who also sells The Big Issue on the next corner, we were all togetger as we shared a chat. A particular racial group who drink a lot and hang around Central like to come and hit you for your earnings, it turnsout. The day before, when he said no to their demands – they took their drinks and poured them into his box of magazines. His investment wrecked.
    So where are we in the world when the poor start to turn on each other?

    Now he had to appear in court for whacking a train guard in front of a pair of cops. Out of rage – that life is not fair to him. And no it isn’t. How hard does this guy have to try to get back up on his feet? How dare I even being to think I’ve got cause for complaint.

    I say all this – I could say a lot more but I won’t. Because it is taking me longer to get back to writing on this site than I had expected. The wind is still not in my sails. I see plays and really don’t have much to say about them. Sorry about that. Just about everything seems so ‘how’s your father’ and profoundly slight. I hope, in writing this – to declare my hand – such as it is, I may begin to begin to set myself free.

    As I have mentioned, It is not the bashing itself. It is what this experience has triggered in me. My poor body at the age of 54 has jacked up and said – enough is enough.  I look the human race in the eye and find myself, by and large, disgusted. Grossed out. We are wankers – we don’t deserve this planet. And until our artists (including play-makers) have the courage to face this ever-escalating truth, nights at the theatre etc will remain humdrum – barely worthy of their ticket price much less comment.

    I got home from yet another medical appointment at the end of yesterday, to find a bunch if emails lying in wait. One of unexpected interest. The court-case regarding the main offender on the train is over – and the detective in charge (the cops have been really really decent to me through all of this) was able to release some images. Photos taken on the train – on the night. He sent me just one. One is quite enough. I cancelled my night, raided the medicine cupboard, and crashed. Yes I wept. I felt sorry for the world  – even  for the perpetrator – and for myself. I have woke up several times through the night; tossed and turned these past few hours trying to decide if the image is too obscene and melodramatic to post. But another part of me feels an urge to show you what it was like. What it is like.


    I had so wanted to leave this melodrama behind me when I started writing again a few weeks ago. But my timing was off. I am hoping in putting this picture up I can shut the door on….what ….it has no name.
    So much happened that night. I just can’t share it all with you. Maybe one day To Chris who phoned me by chance mid-bashing and heard it all from Brisbane – I am so sorry the drama of it all car-crashed our burgeoning relationship. You were nice. To the person I yelled at a few weeks later, for no good reason other than that I was not my normal self, all I can say again is I am sorry. And maybe when you look at this picture you might contemplate being less unforgiving. To the person I slapped in front of a thousand people – honey we’ve known and loved each other for over twenty years. Thanks for letting us be friends again. And yes, let’s go drink to human frailty.

    To any of you still reading – you mustn’t be very busy. ha ha…..

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  • 21 May 2009 /  Other, Videos
    xx

    Quite seriously, if the rugby league community could simply face up to the fact that ten guys wanking in a room with one unfortunate woman on the floor is basically a homosexual experience, then life would be a lot happier for all involved.

    Courtesy Clive Faro

    The one thing I’ve admired about the NRL Footy Show Sydney has been its lack of prejudice towards homosexuality. Though reasons for this have not been analysed. It was much more welcoming to Ian Roberts coming out than the gay press (who criticised him for being so slow about it!). The Footy Show gang also had a great laff about having a Mardi Gras float dedicated to them. And even Matty Johns himself has referred (on the show he swallowed half a Viagra – the other half was dropped by the Chief) to the idea that there is ‘a little bit of gay in everyone’.

    The sex industry put it hands up this week and said it was more than happy to organise safe sessions of group sex for the players as a way to unwind and relax after a stiff game in pretty much any town where there is a sports oval. The gay community has been partly to blame in setting itself up as an exclusive sect: I think we need to get back to the early liberationist notion of ‘polymorphous perversity’ where sexuality is not seen as a set of defined boxes (only one of which a person is allowed to tick) and more a spectrum of behaviours along which some find a settled spot and others move along depending on the mood they’re in or the company they are keeping.

    Official Merchandise

    Official Merchandise: 'Gods of Football' Calendar. Everybody attached to the game is in on this closet caper.

    It has been fascinating on the gay sex sites since Brokeback and the coming out of Adam Sutton in Australia – many more real life ‘cowboys’ are presenting themselves online. But no footy players per se - though there is a lot of fetishing footy players elsewhere on the net and the broader culture.  If this (just cited) isn’t the gayest site I know – and ALL the subjects are willing participants in their objectification! Come on boys – you’re hurting a lot of women and yourselves at the same time. The bottom line is you just want to fcuk each other….


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  • 15 Mar 2009 /  Reviews

    Okay the time has come to put aside the ugliness of some aspects of the real world and return to the lyricism and beauty, sometimes dark, we often find in good art. I want to write about two events I experienced last week which both stood as high watermarks, in the very least for the creative journeys of the artists involved. For audiences as well, both were very impressive experiences. The first I won’t bang on about for too long, but it was catching up at last with the movie Milk, the cine-biog of 1970s’ San Franscisco activist Harvey Milk. Many of you would have seen the film by now, or certainly would have heard about it. The accolades to Sean Penn are utterly deserved: it is a bold and beautifully nuanced performance that never distracts you from the story being told (a trait of the acting of someone like Al Pacino I greatly dislike). And not surprisingly Gus Van Sant’s sensibilities were entirely suited to embrace the heartfelt politics of this film.

    Dustin Lance Black - screenwriter for Milk

    Dustin Lance Black - Award-winning screenwriter for Milk

    For any of you who watched the Academy Awards there was the astonishing sight and words from the film’s scriptwriter – Dustin Lance Black - a young man born into a Morman family who had taken the same difficult path to freedom himself that is mapped out in the film. After all the ugly images I have been putting up on this site of late here is one of an individual clearly blessed not only with a great talent but tremendous compassion and wisdom for his young years. There is a kindness in his face, quite at the other end of the spectrum from the one to confront me on the Parramatta train.

    Sean Penn Mainlining Harvey Milk

    Sean Penn mainlining Harvey Milk

    In a press interview with the Daily Bruin Black is quoted: “You hear people say, ‘This is my reason for being here. This is my compass.’ For me, that’s ‘Milk.’ I wanted to maybe inspire the younger generation to start becoming activists in a grassroots way. There’s a lot of stuff that still needs changing — not just gay rights.” For those of you unaware, Black was been a major writer on the powerful Morman-culture television series Big Love. He has several other film scripts produced and has directing ambitions as well.


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    MY DARLING PATRICIA - NIGHT GARDEN

    MY DARLING PATRICIA - NIGHT GARDEN

    News

    Closer to home it’s been a ‘gurl thang’, with a most impressive new work from the gorgeous ladies of My Darling Patricia, in a new work titled Night Garden. I caught it on the last night of a premiere Sydney season at Carriageworks. But there is an upcoming Melbourne Season:

    Arts House, Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
    Tickets: Full $25 / Conc $18
    Bookings: artshouse.com.au or 03 9639 0096
    Tuesday 24 – Sunday 29 March

    Catch it if you can!

    To bludge from the troupe’s own website, “My Darling Patricia was founded in 2003 by Clare Britton, Bridget Dolan, Katrina Gill and Halcyon Macleod. The four founders approach theatre from backgrounds in dance, visual arts, circus, puppet making, film and spectacle performance. Taking its name from a faded 48-year-old love-letter found hidden in a discarded vanity set, My Darling Patricia draws inspiration from the epic visuals of Robert Wilson and Romeo Castellucci and the animation of Jan Svankmajer. A previous work drew high praise from no less an innovator than Robert Le Page.

    “Viewed in traverse and using puppetry, film, sculpture and performance, Night Garden is a dark suburban tale that unfolds within the shell of a burned house.”

    Model

    Night Garden - Model

    The story played out focuses on the relationship between a teenage boy (Sam Routledge) and and older women – his mother? – presented on stage at the same time by the company’s current three core members – Halcyon Macleod, Clare Britton and Katrina Gill. Macleod takes a credit for original concept and writing, but all on stage have played their part in the creation of the piece at many levels, as has director/animateur Margaret Cameron: with other credits going to Declan Kelly (sound design), Sam James (film and video), Neil Simpson (lighting design & production management, Chris Ryan (dramaturg & practice consultant). Along with others equally worthy of mention: Tim McGaw and Nick Pledge (set development & set construction), Bryony Anderson (puppet maker), Wandjina (costumes and props), Jade Markham (additional 8mm footage), Cecily Hardy (woman in video). With the overall work produced by Marguerite Pepper Productions and My Darling Patricia. That’s a long list I know, for what, in essence is a small, if intensely multi-layered work: but, for once, it is impossible to unravel separate achievements. I think that is a compliment.

    A Fox Went

    "A Fox went out on a windy night, he prayed to the moon to give him light..."

    I’m not going to make a idiot of myself and try to ‘interpret’ the work. All I can say is that a series of seemingly random images that provoke subconscious agitation slowly gravitate to form a central force-field that speaks to an unhappy marriage in a surburban setting, leaving both wife/mother and child deeply scarred. if not everything is exactly clear, well perhaps that’s part of the work’s appeal because it certainly packs a subliminal punch. As for craftpersonship – every aspect of the production – the puppets, costumes, set, video, etc – all are beautifully made and excellently ‘of a piece’ when brought together to make the whole.

    There was one point in the show when the women is attended to by ambulance officers after she has been brutalised by her husband. “What have you done to yourself?” one of the ambos inquires. In light of recent experiences, I found the line exceedingly droll. Momentarily a single choking laugh, my own, hung in the air.

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  • 04 Feb 2009 /  Reviews

    "The Day The Music Died"

    I remember very clearly ‘the day the music died’
    . We were living on a swampy island called Daru which sits on the PNG-side of Torres Strait. My dad worked at the hospital: a very big hospital for such a tiny town, the reason for that being the fear of a whole lot of casualties if war broke out with Indonesia which was in the business at that time of annexing West Papua. There were even US secret agents hanging around trying to look inconspicuous. Among the highlights of Daru was the trade store with its huge open sacks of sugar and tea (I can still smell them) and crates of hard ‘sailors’ biscuits, as well as rainbow balls – the first lolly I probably ever got to try. These were very hard and took a long time to suck. Mrs Craig ran the store, while her husband was a crocodile hunter. Out the back was a huge warehouse stacked high with hundreds of salted crocodile pelts. The front entrance to the shop was decorated with crocodile skulls – quite a dramatic effect.

    The crocodile can be quite friendly

    Sometimes the Crocodile wins!

    One night Mr Craig took my brother and I out in the boat while he did his catching and killing. I cannot believe we were allowed to go; but I still remember the secret was stillness and utter silence – until the night air exploded with the .303 going off! Bang! Then the tussle to bring this monstrous primeval thing on board. An incredible experience for an eight year old. Other highlights to living in Daru included a visit by Her Majesty the Queen. My mother was the only decent seamstress on the island, so this required a lot of mad peddling away on the Singer, as new frocks had to be ‘run up’  for the District Commisioner’s wife and others further up the dodgy colonial ladder that represented Australian imperialism.

    Not my mother - but close

    All About My Mother - PNG style!

    New hats had been ordered from DJ’s in Sydney months in advance. We were all at the airport on the day, of course, when the dinky two-engine DC3 bounced to a halt. It was raining, as it did most days, but this had not discouraged the important women of Daru whose high heels sank so far into the mud they drew my fascination as they struggled to approach the plane.

    Daru International Airport

    Daru International Airport

    To my utter delight, even at such a young age, Her Majesty descended the stairs of the aircraft in a pair of ‘flatties’ sporting one of those little unfolding clear plastic raincaps on her head that were around in those days. Now this is where the art of memory starts play tricks. Because one of strongest memories I have of living in Daru was going next door one afternoon to visit my classmate, Sheila. She was a very pretty ‘mixed-race’ girl. Her father was a big Canadian. I don’t know what he did for work, but he had a set of weights and a bench press. Her mother was a ‘local’ woman who worked as a nurse at the hospital with my father. I arrived this day to discover Sheila’s mother weeping copiously – and it was because she had just heard that some singer, whom she profoundly loved, had died in a plane crash in America. I was shown the record covers of this bespectacled guy. It struck me as odd, her grief, as clearly she had never met the man. I guess she was my first ‘groupie’ or ‘fan’.

    Full Turnout of PNG Military Defence Forces

    Skies cleared before an impressive show of military force

    The only problem with this memory is that we lived in Daru for two years only – 1963/4. And by then Buddy Holly was already dead several years. The only explanation I can come up with is that news travelled ‘slow’ in those days. Which is true, because turning up on Daru Island around the same time was a new family with two very beautiful daughters. They were tremendously cutting-edge and sophisticated. I particularly loved Jill’s chic black ‘Louise-Brooks’ bob and have wanted one ever since. These girls were so with-it, they had heard of the Beatles. Even though we had no radio on Daru Island (apart from two-way), and consequently had no idea what the Beatles sounded like, these young ladies convinced a group of us that we had to write a fan letter. We did. To this day, we have never received a reply! So yes the Daru mail is slow!

    Which is a very long way round to tell you that a couple of tickets arrived in the mail a few days back for the opening night of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. As in Meatloaf – the Meatloaf Story or Madonna – the Madonna Story. This tribute musical has been doing the rounds for years, and my date reckons we saw it in Sydney about 15 years ago. I have no recall.

    Buddy Holly and the Crickets

    Buddy Holly and the Crickets

    The good news is: it isn’t half bad. So long as you like Buddy Holly music, like Sheila Richardson’s mum. The show is almost entirely stripped of story, to the point that there are only a few grabs of dialogue interspersed between a great swathe of the many popular songs Buddy Holly wrote and recorded in his short career. There are absolutely no ‘names’ to speak of in the cast. Which is quite refreshing. Not that the PR needed any padding when it so happened that opening night fell on the 50th anniversary of Holly’s death – in a plane crash. Even the SMH devoted a full half-page yesterday. The production features a cast from places as far flung as certain New Zealand hamlets, the Gold Coast and Ballarat. But they are spruce and keen; and Scott Cameron as Holly is spookily similar in looks and sound to the original he vividly impersonates. Cameron really digs doing these songs. So, if you are a Buddy Holly fan – not that I imagine any of my readers are – you will likely enjoy this show.

    Simon Bentley (Jerry Alison) & Scott Cameron (Buddy Holly)

    It is also enjoyable to watch the gig grow from a stage inhabited by three wannabe teenage kids to a full-sized climax with about 20 performers. There is good work from Flip Simmonds as Ritchie Valens and Luke Tonkin as The Big Bopper, who turn up in the story toward the end just in time to share in the big musical finale, and some ‘different’ songs, and then get on the plane that goes down in a paddock in fog with three of the biggest names in American music at that time. I also liked the fact that all the performers in this show playing musicians played their own instruments, including Cameron as Holly on guitar – is that the famous ‘tex-mex’ twang I hear? I thought this multi-skilling was pretty nifty as it added cred to the ‘concert’ concept that holds this show together.

    Part way through the evening, thinking upon Holly’s death at only 22, and eighteen months of fame, I did ponder a wild moment way back in the days when Kinsela’s was a fun and successful venue. My dear friend Mark Trevorrow, as Bob Downe? (I don’t know it was a very long time ago) was performing. Could have been Globos. Anyway he was having a bit of fun at the expense of an entertainer of limited talent in those days, called XXYY, who made the odd appearance on television chats shows and the like. All of a sudden someone (photographer Robert Rosen) called from the back of the theatre: “XXYY is a friend of mine and she committed suicide yesterday! This is the sort of thing to put your average comedian off their game. But not Trevorrow. After a moment’s pause he returned to the microphone and quietly enunciated: “Best career move she ever made!” Trevorrow says it is not his original line. I say all credit to him anyway for dredging it up when so vitally needed. It came to me last night because I did wonder how long Buddy Holly would have lasted in the fame game had he lived significantly longer.

    Luke Tonkin (The Big Bopper), Scott Cameron (Buddy Holly) & Flip Simmonds (Ritchie Valens)

    This thought is raised in a letter in the SMH today: “I appreciate the marketing and hype for the Buddy Holly show is in full swing, but can we please lasso this myth once and for all. Holly wrote and performed simple, cute, whitebread songs for white America. Nothing more. Had he survived he would have been washed up by 1965 along with Bobby Vee and Bobby Rydell – then revived by the 1980s to tour with old rockers. To mention him along with Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley is ill-informed…(Howard Charles – Glebe).

    So it was a ‘career move’ that goddam plane crash; with big payola for this show’s producers 50 years later. If Holly is your opium – go enjoy!

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