Worth Shouting About
Ironically the title song, Shout, in this dazzling somersaulting musical,
is not sung by David Campbell as .Johnny O'Keefe the
It is sung by a drag queen.
Which is a little indication that this is no predictable sugar and
spice musical about Australla's self-proclaimed King of rock and roll
Without dwelling on it, the musical paints a picture of O'Keefe as a man of extremes, driven by a huge ambition (especially to make it overseas) and then inspired by drugs, alcohol and abuse to a career that seesawed from the pits to the peaks.
If O'Keefe was driven by demons, drugs and drink, this musical is driven by the music, the choreography and the siheer talent that explodes on stage.
With a setting of nostalgia- the days of Holdens, the Melbourne Olympics, Cold Duck wine, the stadium performances, Johnny Ray, the Delltones and Col Joye - the show rocks through O'Keefe's life pausing only so often to present us with theatrical and musical highlights.
One fears that no matter what heights JO'Keefe and his band managed to achieve in their day they would never have matched the musicians on stage here at the Capitol Theatre.
And those highlights are so worth waiting for: the beautiful rendering or Ave Maria by Christian Schaeffer, the painfully wrought She Wears My Ring from Patsy Noble playing O'Keefe's mother, and the angst-ridden Crazy deliver delivered with true panache by Tamsin Carroll as his unfortunate first wife.
Brilliant casting all round and some fine moments of theatre all lead us to the climax which, as it should be, is the title song.
But delivered by David Campbell with so much energy and exuberance than it is easy to forget that he is a fine young performer playing a rock and roll legend.
So many things about this show are so polished and adroit - the writers and director R.ichard Wherret have created out of a rather tawdry, life story an excitIng and vibrant occasion.
As musicals go (and many of them should) this is one of the best a sweet and sour story with an outstanding cast and music to dream for let alone rock to.
Johnny O'Keefe and those who knew him should be proud, wherever he
The Sunday Telegraph, 11 March, 2001. Paul Leptit.