Brylcreem, bobbysocks and Adelaide is rocking

THERE was plenty to shout about – and praises to sing as well – when Adelaide's rock'n'rollers dusted off their dancing shoes for last night's opening of the hit musical Shout!

While the night belonged to David Campbell, who stars as the late Australian rock'n'roll rebel Johnny O'Keefe, the Festival Theatre audience was full of many of the real JOK's friends and fans.

Guests were greeted by costumed members of the Adelaide Rock'n'Roll Club, who danced, twisted and twirled in a flurry of bobbysocks and petticoats in the foyer. Club member Phil Davis, 46, of Oaklands Park, even brought along a red 1963 Ford Galaxie originally owned by O'Keefe and parked it on the Festival Centre terrace. "Until 13 years ago, a guy in Queensland had it. A friend of mine bought it and brought it back here," he said.

A life-long fan of O'Keefe and his contemporaries, Mr Davis will attend the show again tonight with friends.

Also in the audience was pianist Alan Hewitt, 61, a former member of The Penny Rockets, which acted as O'Keefe's backing band whenever he performed in Adelaide during the early 1960s.

"It was the first time I'd ever seen someone so charismatic, a real entertainer," Mr Hewitt, of St Peters, said. "The way he could manipulate an audience, win an audience over – it was like a prayer meeting.

"There were a couple of downsides, too – I saw him drunk and all that sort of thing but you kind of forgave him because he lived life on the edge."

After the show, Col Joye introduced the cast to 600 guests at a party in the Festival Centre banquet room, where they danced some more to Adelaide band Andy & The Rock-Its.

by PATRICK McDONALD - 22 June 2001