The Australian Outback Spectacular, which just launched its new arena production, High Country – Myths and Legends, exceeded expectations to provide a unique, full sensory experience which should be on the ‘must-do’ list of any tourist and proud Australian.
Having never seen an Australian Outback Spectacular show before, I was pretty excited to see what the extravaganza was all about. The night began as we walked into the venue, serenaded by a man and his guitar sitting around a campfire. Everyone was presented with a straw cowboy hat with a blue or red band (the meaning of the which become apparent during the show) and led through a photo booth for happy snaps before arriving in a large country style barn/bar filled with free canapés, wine, and beer. As we waited to enter the arena for the performance proper, a country band played on the stage and I even managed to sneak a few snaps with some of the horses in the barn.
After some opening night speeches from R.M. Williams and other dignitaries, we entered the huge arena with tiered seating. Each section had a long thin table in front of us to accommodate our outback style 3-course meal (pumpkin soup, juicy thick steak and veggies, and warm apple pie with cream and caramel sauce), which was served throughout the night.
A wall-to-wall projector screen, featuring beautifully picturesque images of the Australian high country and its rugged terrain, sat at the very end of the barn and its images complemented the action.
The loose story arc of the show followed a group of friends venturing up to the high country to visit relatives, compete in the local rodeo and round up the brumbies. Within the greater arc, yarns about the legends and myths of the high country including were introduced episodically.
A true variety show, the stories were told through drama, comedy, song, poetry, precision equestrian riding, crazy stunt riding, and even some circus performances. Stunning footage complemented the scenes with large projected holograms onto what I think was mist – truly awe-inspiring visuals. But the most magical thing of all was that they made it snow in the arena – yes, snow. I don’t know what it is about snow that instantly transports me to a place of child-like wonder and pure joy. Having being brought up in sunny Queensland, it really doesn’t make sense, but I think I’ve seen enough Christmas specials from the US to subconsciously equate snow with Christmas, childhood, magic, and good-hearted family fun where all is good in the world.
The highlight of the production (apart from the snow), was the emotive and well-crafted rendition of the poem Clancy of the Overflow, which mixed poetry, song, and projected footage to tell the story.
Backed by an orchestral score reminiscent of The Man From Snowy River, the epic soundtrack mixed well with popular country music composed and written by Lee Kernaghan, with Christine Anu opening the show in a tribute to country.
Presented by R.M.Williams, High Country – Myths and Legends at the Australian Outback Spectacular is a world class production with stunning visuals, top equestrian and stunt riders, hearty country food, and a wholesome family show that captures the spirit of the Aussie High Country.