Peter Allen – the more I see you, the more I want you!
This was my second time at Mathew Hadgraft’s acclaimed musical celebration of Allen’s life, one of Australia’s biggest stars.
Set a very elegant new Perth venue, and directed by Rhylee Nowell of Faff & Sass Productions, Hadgraft rocked the very foundations of His Majesty’s.
He brought the entire audience to their feet in a jubilant giant conga with ‘I Go To Rio’. This is a show where you need to be prepared to get involved and have fun – Hadgraft’s enthusiasm is contagious.
Hadgraft wrote, produced and orchestrated the show. He is a classic triple threat, a born performer with an easy banter, powerful voice and dynamic onstage presence, he sang and danced the entire hour.
Hadgraft embodied the essence of the flamboyant entertainer, singing sixteen of his songs, and sharing the intimate stories behind each of them.
You felt the joy and pain of Allen’s colourful life in exquisite detail, an emotional roller coaster of laughing and crying, the connection was strong.
For me, it was the history of the sweetly poignant ‘I Honestly Love You’ that touched me most, and I will never hear it in the same way again: “If we both were born in another place in time this moment might be ending in a kiss”.
The darker side of Allen’s life, dying of Aids-related cancer at only 48 was included. He was not free to openly be who he really was most of his life (homosexuality was only decriminalised in New South Wales in 1984).
He was not able to marry the man he loved in his lifetime. It 25 years after Allen’s death in 1992 before Australia recognised same-sex marriage.
Allen had more success writing best-selling songs for others, however, ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ is widely acknowledged as our adopted national anthem.
Allen himself embodied the tenacity of the Australian spirit, picking himself up and dusting himself down again each time: “But no matter how far or wide I roam I still call Australia home”.
It never fails to give me goosebumps when I hear it.