I went “over the bridge” AGAIN tonight. And AGAIN it was for a production at The Ensemble Theatre. On Friday night it was a Shakespearean-style drama called, Mary Stuart. Tonight it was a a one-man-show featuring Reg Livermore with a black-comedy edge.
On the way to the show I called in to The Kirribilli Hotel for a quiet glass of wine. There I ran into a long-term ABBA fan, her mother, step-father, and a good friend of hers. Her friend was a big fan of Livermore, who has seen him perform on many, many occasions. While I was was familiar with his work, however, including some of his iconic 70s work, I’d never actually seen him live before.
There were some great lines in this production, no doubt. I particularly rembered the classic, “You know, I almost quite like Melbourne” line (though you might imagine he’d use the same line, about Sydney, when it plays Melbourne).
But I suppose the most disappointing thing about this production is that I never really cared much for the character he plays. The character, a presumably bitter old queen who poisons a group of neighbours who fail to look after his animals while he’s away, is amusing enough. But in this play you never actually get to understand why he’s bitter. You never actually get to understand the humanity of the character.
Sure I understand there can’t be much of a human behind someone who would poison his neighbours, but it would have been nice to have been given at least an insight to go some way towards understanding the character.
But yes, it was pretty funny and I enjoyed it a fair bit. As I say, lots of great one liners. But not much more, unfortunately. What it missed was just a line here or there, which gave you the slightest insight into the humanity of the character he was playing.
I guess that’s what I remember most about the outrageous characters of his past. In the midst of the comedy, the bravado, the viciousness and the humour, there was a living breathing human with a fascinating, compelling story to tell. This character ain’t no Betty…
Of course, I might have missed the point…