Don’t get me wrong, I love political theatre that is controversial and thought provoking but sometimes it is nice to go to the theatre and just be entertained. And after the recent offerings of the big city theatre companies it is nice to be able to sit, enjoy and not worry about having to think up several polite ways to write ‘it kind of stunk’.
As I stood in the foyer waiting for the opening night of The Man in Black, one strange thought did cross my mind and that was how everyone in the foyer looked older than I thought they would. After all, this is Tex Perkins of The Cruel Sea and Beasts of Bourbon. I remember trudging through Sydney in my red Doc Martins with dyed black hair and industrial strength eyeliner (it’s not just for the eyes, you know) to see Tex perform and that was only just yesterday. Right? So as I stood in the foyer of the Playhouse Theatre on my forty-first birthday, it struck me like a lightening bolt. Oh dear god, I’m middle aged
There have been many tours of those I loved from the eighties and nineties and I have been pretty lucky – Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran still looked good and sounded good and were aging like a fine wine rather than a piece of over ripe fruit. I went into the theatre hoping this would be the same
The lights came up, and Tex looked different from the young, svelte dark haired rock dude I loved. He starts to sing ‘I Walk The Line’ and within the first few bars it is clear Tex is different and so much better. He looks good and sounds fantastic with a voice like dark chocolate coloured velvet.
The show is a simple series of monologues delivered by Perkins and Rachael Tidd who speak as narrators and Johnny and June Carter Cash respectively. They speak with ease and communicate comfortably with each other and the audience. Steve Hadley, David Folley, Shane Reilly and Shannon Bourne who together are The Tennessee Four accompany them and the whole package is smooth, slick and fun. Perkin’s voice is perfectly suited to Johnny Cash as is Rachel Tidd as his long time muse – June Carter Cash.
I left feeling beyond good, and realized we are all getting older but watching Tex Perkins on stage made me realize we are also getting better as with age comes the wisdom and nuance needed to perform like this.