[UNITED STATES ~ WORLD PREMIERE]
Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Fri 22 Jun.
Performing in Adelaide for the first time, Tony Award winner John Cameron Mitchell, thrilled loyal fans of his cult film and ground-breaking rock musical, Hedwig And The Angry Inch. Written, directed and often staring John Cameron Mitchell in the title role, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is a musical comedy-drama following a fictional rock band fronted by Hedwig, an East-German transgender singer who survived a botched sex change operation, developing a relationship with a younger man who goes on to steal her music. Despite largely positive reviews and awards, the film version did poorly at the box-office, but the stage version has had successful productions around the world, including a revival on Broadway, which won Neil Patrick Harris a Tony Award for his portrayal of Hedwig.
In a world premiere for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, this show is unfortunately still in its workshop stage with Mitchell heavily reliant on a script in front of him and frequent confusion between songs of what is next, which impacts on the energy and flow. His songs were confidently performed, but Mitchell’s voice is often overpowered by his band and backing singer, the extraordinary Amber Martin. His costume was wonderfully over-the-top, and slowly more and more pieces were removed, I assume, to showcase the different layers of Hedwig. Mitchell’s four-piece band, under the musical direction of pianist Andrew Worboys, were tight and ensured a great rock sound.
Loyal fans were probably unfazed by the shows under-rehearsed state, getting all the hit songs performed by this theatre legend. Highlights included Sugar Daddy and Wig In A Box, which included audience sing along, as well as heartfelt songs about his deceased partner’s addiction.
This was a fantastic opportunity for Adelaide to hear John Cameron Mitchell’s firsthand experiences from over two decades of living with Hedwig; hopefully he will return to Adelaide when the show and the script have reached their fullest glory.