Dunstan Playhouse, Thu 18 Jun
You always know exactly what to expect from Eddie Perfect: polished charm and on-pitch professionalism with a light touch of humour. Songs From The Middle – an examination of Perfect’s middle-class upbringing in the Victorian suburb of Mentone – delivers this much yet again. Having escaped to live the bohemian life, and after the birth of his first child he began to reflect on his own childhood and upon returning he finds plenty of material – though the most controversial is a graffiti artist.
It’s somewhat ironic that Perfect creates art out of a place which never inspired him, and that today he’s performing in a staunchly respectable grey suit: gone is the eyeliner and boho uniform, tossed out along with his prejudices about his childhood town. Though the show has been well received by Mentone residents, there’s nothing offensive and really it’s about Perfect’s own journey and growth, and on a wider level reflecting on your own sense of belonging.
There’s humour, and an unexpected twist of poignancy as Perfect sings and piano-plays his way through the set with amazing support from a ten-piece outfit, the majority from the Australian National Academy of Music. In a tight 75 minutes there’s not much time for talking which is a shame given his flashes of wit, but Perfect does bring along the audience for a pleasurable ride as ultimately he makes peace with his past.
And that’s where the story could end. But… the show, much like the suburb, feels that little bit too safe. Somehow I always want him to push harder, to be that bit more raw and connected. While he gives his all to his performances, perversely it still feels like he’s holding something back, almost like he’s still located in the stifling ordinariness of his surroundings. He does say ‘fuck’ twice – but while he’s confident‘n’classy‘n’all I’d still love to see him really let rip with something challenging and engaging.
Maybe I’m being too greedy, but it’s precisely because he’s so capable and accomplished that I’d love to see something a bit more. Maybe, if next time he gave us some songs from the outer, perhaps we could get Pitch Perfect and a bit of Edgy Eddie.
Songs From The Middle continues at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times until Sat 20 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of billiejeanisnotmylover