It’s a windy Sunday night in Surry Hills. The last few days have been extremely busy with a theatre show, a party and a wedding. Weddings, parties, anything? And in the midst of all this, suddenly there is the realisation I’m well and truly back in Sydney.
This first became obvious to me on On Thursday night Colin and I went to the Sydney Opera House Playhouse to see latest production by Max Gillies, “The Big Con”. When I left Sydney, Opera Bar was a quiet funky little spot… and so Colin and I had agreed to meet there. How things have changed: on Thursday night Opera Bar was a major yuppie haunt. Any why not… it’s such a “Sydney Spot”.
The last time I’d seen anything of this nature by Gillies was when, in the 1980s, he had his bitingly satirical “Gillies Report” on ABC-Tv which lampooned Bob Hawke. Twenty years later, we have another long-serving political leader and so it’s appropriate that Gillies has returned to this earlier form.
What we both really liked about this show was its uncompromising attitude – bordering on viciousness – to the characters parodied. Although the references to such things as Amanda Vanstone’s weight and Allan Jones alleged sexual preferences were, in some ways obvious, they were carried off with the right aplomb. They weren’t being parodied for paraody’s sake: this was to show these essential human characteristics formed the basis for their public character.
The characterisation was also completely spot on. As Bryce Hallett observed in the Sydney Morning Herald, his portrayal of Vanstone was “as vivid and grotesque as that panto dame of Barry Humphries’s invention, and more wicked given that the source of its inspiration is alive and well”. Highlights include the Vanstone’s character’s consumption of a bucket of KFC and Tony Soprano declaring that in the eyes of America, Australia was “the bitch”. The only weakness was his portrayal of Alexander Downer.
We’d both seen Gillie’s co-star, Eddie Perfect, in Hayden Tee’s late night cabaret at the Stable Theatre. While he was good then, he was great in this. His songwriting skills were more than matched by his performance skills. He was also uncompromising.
What a great show!
For the show, we sat beside Leo Schofield who has been in the news this week, in trouble over his controversial re-working of the National Anthem for New Years Eve. When Colin offered his support to Leo – “don’t worry about what they have to say” – he responded by saying it was just “the anti-Clover brigade”, referring to the Daily Telegraph’s current resentment of the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. The other celebrity sitting nearby was Bob Ellis, who spent the intermission reading Gore Vidal (yes, seriously!). Oh yes, I’m back in Sydney.
I also went with my friend Sue to see “We Will Rock You”, the Ben Elton musical based on the songs of 1970s rock group, Queen. The show was entertaining, though fairly forgettable. A week later I have no idea about the plotline!
My work Christmas Party was held on Friday night at the Quarryman’s Hotel in Pyrmont. As with previous years it was a particularly boozy affair.
And then today I went to the wedding of a couple I met this year in Perth, Pamela and Geoff. As Geoff and Pam have been together for thirteen years, it was great to go to a wedding where there was no degree of uncertainty about whether or not the relationship will last.
A tear rolled down my right cheek as one of my favourite bible passages was read.
Love is long suffering,
love is kind,
it is not jealous,
love does not boast,
it is not inflated.
It is not discourteous,
it is not selfish,
it is not irritable,
it does not enumerate the evil.
It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth
It covers all things,
it has faith for all things,
it hopes in all things,
it endures in all things.
Good luck to them both.