“What amazing songs, what incredible singers. What a shame that they died so young”.
Writer and director Robyn Archer has plenty to say about The Sound of Falling Stars, a cabaret-style musical and theatrical event she created for actor/singer/musician Cameron Goodall. The fabulous set list, the parallels with her own almost-40-year-old-show A Star Is Torn, the incredible host of voices lovingly celebrated in one evening of artistic joy and monumental loss or the tour de force performance from Goodall are all notable points of discussion. But most of all, it’s about the joy.
“An audience should emerge from this show with joy”, she says of the production, which is set to make its Victorian debut at Arts Centre Melbourne next week.
She insists audiences should leave the theatre “wanting to hear it all over again because the music is great.”
It’s a testament to the great talent she chose to bring the work to life – actor/singer/musician Cameron Goodall. In the course of an evening, he seamlessly shifts through 31 different characters – all of them real (and mostly very well known) artists who helped shape and form the soundtrack for the better part of the 20th century. And all of them died way too young.
“[It’s a] really challenging and amazing show to do”, Goodall said.
“In the show I play about 30 guys all of whom died before their time. From Elvis Presley, Hank Williams through people like Jim Morrison all the way to Kurt Cobain. It’s an incredible show to perform and I’m really looking forward to doing it.”
After playing its debut season at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2017, the production is heading to Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse for a limited number of shows from February 28. Audiences have a rare opportunity to see a master of performance embody Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Bobby Darin, Bon Scott, Jeff Buckley and 25 other popular and beloved voices in an epic and captivating evening of music and theatre celebrating the young and ill fated men whose music is known to many, loved by most and respected by all.
“In the range of guys that are there I think for every audience member, there will be people they will be very familiar with, songs that that they will be very familiar with and some that they won’t. It’s the kind of show where you just have to be a little bit ambitious, a little bit brave and maybe a little bit crazy”, Goodall said.
Director and writer Robyn Archer conceived and developed the show with Goodall in mind nearly 40 years after the development of her own successful one woman show A Star is Torn, which celebrated the lives and music of influential female artists in a similar way (and played a year-long stint on London’s West End, spawned a book, an album and was performed around the world in the 80s). The Sound of Falling Stars has been acclaimed as a “worthy successor” to A Star is Torn and it received rave reviews for its premiere season at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2017.
It boasts a set list to die for – from ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, ‘Sittin’ on The Dock of the Bay’ to ‘Light My Fire’. Goodall’s vocal (and guitar) chops, alongside George Butrumlis on the accordion and Enio Pozzebon on the keyboard breathes new life into some of the most well-known music of the last 70 years.
Goodall, whose performance credits are as varied as the artists in this show, displays incredible vocal versatility in this piece. (But what else would you expect from a man who has not only won an ARIA award, worked as part of Sydney Theatre Company’s permanent ensemble AND stepped onto stage 8 shows a week as the majordomo bird Zazu in Disney’s The Lion King?)
While audience members are sure to take away the joy in the work, it does touch on some deeper issues, including mental health. She asserts that there is an acknowledgement in the work that “this was a whole lot of great talent that could have done so much more and why wasn’t there the help around to be able to do it?”
“I mean, we do significantly see Kurt Cobain at the end kind of saying ‘this is going to keep on happening’. It doesn’t end here, this is going to keep happening. Whether that would ever translate into anyone taking any more care, I’m not sure, because of cause, there is a kind of blood lust in audiences”, she said.
The Sound Of Falling Stars plays from 28 February to 3 March at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Venue: Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
Dates and time: Wednesday 28 February – Saturday 3 March 2018 at 8pm
Tickets: $30 – $69