[ADELAIDE PREMIERE ~ AUS ~ IF YOU LOVE… TO LAUGH]
Quartet Bar, Adelaide Festival Centre, Fri 14 Jun.
With Logan Watt on piano, Tom Campbell enters singing a serenade of Lost Without You to his prosthetic hand proudly lighted centre stage, his aria comes to an end with a gruff “Not really!” and he chucks it away, to the amusement of the crowd!
Tom introduces us to his missing left hand ‘it’ is gender neutral and is affectionately named Stumpy. His show is not about getting on his high horse or generating sympathy or worse yet – pity, but is all about sharing funny stories of his life growing up and his career as an actor, interspersed with song that may or may not be subliminally about his missing left hand.
Dressed in jeans and black t-shirt with a flannel shirt over top, with a look that reminds me of Tom Gleeson, the voice that comes from within him is an absolute joy to my ears, and at one point a tear to my eye with such emotion put into his performance.
The stories range from when he was born and the reactions from his parents friends and family, from, “Oh, I knew I guy one who had that, he was a cunt,” to, “Oh, I hope he’s not left handed.” Growing up, being the yoghurt monster, and leaving Tasmania to go to the ‘mainland’ at 17 when he got into NIDA. The slow realisation of the concept from others that he wanted to be an actor and being persuaded in 2000 to get a prosthetic hand and the amusing stories stemming from said subject matter, including the chances of getting an ad campaign if he wore it, to 100% failure rate getting the job when he didn’t.
His love of musical theatre led to getting accepted into theatre school in the US and once again, the stories from ballet lessons to musical theatre auditions raise true laugh out loud moments. Tom teaches children and he is a self-proclaimed great one, and the reactions of them is usually accepting with just a few standout exceptions, and the reactions from adults he has clocked in three different responses – pretending to notice something else, grimacing and being upset, and Americans being impressed and giving big tips!!
Tom’s life, like many, has had many ups and downs and he is quite upfront with many of his experiences, and the many advantages he can get away with exploiting Stumpy, especially in the US! The very entertaining finale is Stumpy’s time to shine with a musical medley and rapid costume changes.
An entertaining evening in a small space of the Quartet Bar brings us a glimpse into the life of Tom Campbell, and I for one will be looking for his name in bright lights for the next big Broadway Musical!
Image courtesy of Samantha Turk