Australian Music Theatre royalty, Amanda Harrison, graced Brisbane with her presence last week with her cabaret Up Close and Reasonably Personal.
Diva at night, devoted wife and mother during the day, it’s hard to juggle a life on the stage with it’s sense of glam, fandom, and the realities of being a mum with an addiction to Target. Yes, Amanda Harrison had a confession to make at the start of the show… she’s obsessed with Target, and I dare say, right down to the costume she wore for the night.
The night was a relaxed conversation with the repartee penned by James Millar fashioned to interweave some of Harrison’s favourite songs from musicals to 80s rock, classics, and jazz standards. Some of the segues into the songs were at times repetitive, but it didn’t really matter as soon as we heard her sing.
Best known for playing Elphaba in the original Australian production of Wicked, which earned her Green Room, Helpmann, and Sydney Theatre Award nominations, Harrison revealed quite openly and without any dramatics, why she left the show. After two years playing the demanding role, she made the hard decision to leave the show after belting all those “high Z sharps” each night, to rest her voice and focus a little more on her other greatest role, being a mother.
Harrison has also played lead roles in We Will Rock You (winner of Helpmann Award 2004), the world premiere production of An Officer And A Gentleman, and Leader of the Pack (Helpmann and Green Room nominations 2005).
She has also performed internationally in the US and on London’s West End in Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You.
Harrison is now voicing a new children’s animation series for Network Ten called Get Ace. During the cabaret we were treated to a sneak peek of this character, which was a real highlight of the night.
Amanda Harrison’s cabaret Up Close and Reasonably Personal, is a great night for any Harrison fan, but despite hearing that familiar riff which, let’s face it, we all were waiting for Harrison to sing, it never eventuated. We were teased two more times with references to the number… even the accompanist had a go at one stage! (which was actually quite a delightfully funny moment for the show). So spoiler alert: if you’re going to the show just to here Harrison sing the iconic song ‘Defying Gravity’, then you will be disappointed. However, all is not lost as she does treat us with another great song from the show… just not THAT one.
Up Close and Reasonably Personal played for one-night only in Brisbane at the Brisbane Powerhouse on 17 January.
To follow what Amanda is up to next, check out her website: amandaharrison.com.au.