01 December 2023

Pouring 3

But as for the stage, there's nothing to match the delirious joy of the stage shows with their dancers and lights and singers and harmonies and tongue-in-cheek sentimentality.  It was a short trip but we got in an early 45-minute show called Sweet Soul Music, essentially a big medley of that funky Black US music of the '50s/'60s/'70s, Motown and Stevie Wonder and the like.  Then a final production show on the pen-ultimate night called Encore.  This was opera arias with big voices, big dresses, big harmonies, delirious Mozart soprano arpeggios, the full House orchestra meaning with the two violinists, against a garden backdrop and plenty of lights.  I can love opera for its arias even if its full performances area challenge for me.  I'm not alone in this, of course (it's a specific and, I expect, an increasingly rare love) but everyone loves a big soprano outing and this was a corker and very much enjoyed.  This is an impressive theatre so not left unused.  There were other stage shows that were essentially a solo artist backed by the reading House band.  One was an off-beat country outing called Country days with Patrick McMahon up front.  Patrick returned with collection of Americana on the final night and I was convinced.  Same character performing some classic songs but also with a presentation that spoke of authenticity and understanding.  First up was Dylan Like a rolling stone and then songs with their history and poetry.  I'd highlight the subtle, understated Galveston for its poetry of implied story and offbeat rhymes.  Glen Campbell had seemed so tame that I had never given this song its due respect, but then it's a work of Jimmy Webb.  The other was an interesting and political Helen Reddy retrospective called Invincible: the Helen Reddy story performed, and I think written by Helen Reddy fan and capable singer/performer Nikki Bennett. The songs seemed to relate closely to Helen Reddy's life, so I guessed she must have written them, but no, she was co-composer of just two, but including her classic I am woman.  But regardless, a fascinating look at the life of our Aussie-own world star of '70s feminism (with ne'er a mention of Germaine Greer).  What's not to enjoy there, all classy performance and good humour and indelible hits.  So not a lot of commentary but a long list of pics and names to outline the musical entertainment on a short cruise around Australia's shores.

The House Band comprised Jose Milanes (piano), Scott Kruser (guitar), Phil Manley-Reeve (bass), Gio Rossi (drums) with Harry Nijkamp (trumpet) and an unnamed sax/flute. The production shows were Sweet Soul Music (50s/'60s/'70s) and Encore. The showtimes were Tribute to the Beatles featuring Grace's Secret, Country Days with Patrick McMahon and Invincible : the Helen Reddy story with Nikki Bennett. 

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