Tony Galati the Musical
Tony Galati’s trademark blue singlet, bushy brows and curly mop are instantly recognisable to almost anyone who calls Perth home.
After inspiring the love of a city, not to mention memes and the odd party, Galati and his reasonably-priced potato empire have been cast into the limelight again in a new musical written by Perth-born Dan Debuf with music from Caleb Garfinkel.
The entire show is an homage to an unlikely Perthonality stuffed with local in-jokes and baked with more spud gags than you can poke a fork at.
Thomas Papathanassiou plays the titular Spud King in a retelling of Galati’s decades-long battle against WA’s Potato Marketing Corporation.
In an energised hour of musical theatre directed by Nicole Stinton, toe-tapping highs are skilfully contrasted with moments of introspection as clever scripting and catchy show tunes tell the story of an unlikely cult hero.
Debuf has created a surprisingly emotive tale of ’taters, taking the audience initially back to Sicily to learn about Galati’s family origins before his father Francesco moved the family to Perth “the greatest city on Earth” to seek a better life.
Underlying messages remind the audience that people, like potatoes, should not be thrown away for being “different” to the accepted standard.
Audiences could be forgiven for thinking the real star of this story is the humble potato as Amberly Cull’s portrayal of one on stage is by no means half-baked.
A cast of five led by Papathanassiou and Cull bring to life many more characters, including a few celebrity cameos, using subtle costume cues.
The production is underscored by simple yet effective staging, slick lighting and a tight live band led by Garfinkel.
Tony Galati: The Musical pays tribute to WA’s favourite potato mogul and teaches the audience a thoughtful lesson. There is, after all, “a potato in all of us”.