Festival Theatre Rehearsal Room, Wed 17 Jun
Steve Sheehan, Adelaide’s much-loved and highly awarded comedian and performer, is renowned for his quirky, offbeat humour and unique points of view and his latest creation shows just how far-out he can be. Funny, very musical and quite mystifying this show is innovative and enjoyable but you could be forgiven for being a bit baffled by it. Knowledge of the story of Tristan and Isolde was needed to understand most of the characters and their related humour but the audience was well informed and enjoyed it immensely. Being led backstage, downstairs and into the rehearsal space under the Festival Theatre added a touch of adventure to the experience and enhanced the atmosphere of the show.
Set in the time-worn and nostalgic dressing room of an ageing and very thirsty opera singer, played by Norma Knight, we were treated to Steve, as Tristan the professional ‘background comedian’ playing famous classical compositions while telling us jokes, and Norma singing fine arias remarkably well, even with her head in the hole of a massage table. Admirable.
The presence of Arapahoe, the miniature horse was both inexplicable and delightful and we would have happily seen more of him though he upstaged everyone just by being there. The horse-headed human character took the befuddlement to even greater depths but had some very funny moments and played the piano quite well for a human-animal hybrid. We gladly went along for this bizarre and very entertaining ride.
My personal favourites were the hilarious opera lyric interpretations, both written and projected and there were some lovely visual touches including an enchanting silhouette shadow effect on the wall during one of the songs.
Whacky and wonderful, this is how opera ought to be!