Reviewed by Regina Su
I grew up to the sound of The Seekers. Although not from the swingin’ sixties, my parents played The Seekers and their glorious harmonies would echo through the house. ‘Georgy Girl, The Musical’ showcases the hits of The Seekers, while weaving a potted biography of their rise to stardom. The musical is more of a tribute to the music and the band, rather than traditional musical theater.
We get closer to Judith Durham (Pippa Grandison) as she navigates the breezy heights of fame and glory at such a young age, and the sacrifices she had to make along the way. The show gives her more focus, so we come to understand how she chose to break from the group and pursue her own interests. What's more, the show helps us understand how she managed to maintain her girl-next-door approach during a time when then London was a buzz with Beatles-mania. The Melbourne folk quartet managed to keep their own aesthetic and their own sound while climbing to the top of the charts. The Seekers were a genuine and authentic Australian band who made it, on talent and perseverance.
The production really gives them justice. It would be hard to boil down a fifty year career into a two hour stage production, but it was a real hit. With comical commentary from Ron Edgeworth (Adam Murphy) we're taken on a wild ride, through the technicoloured sixties and the horn rimmed BBC studios. The costuming was so fun- prompting comments under breath that “I remember having those boots, I had a pair of those!” The ensemble gave such physical performances, it was difficult not to be swept up in the hype of the time.
The cast brought life to the production. The energy of the ensemble really lifted the biographical tale and gave it a bounce. The real stars, however, were The Seekers. Phillip Lowe, Mike McLeish and Glaston Toft (as Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley and Athol Guy) were a phenomenal combination. Together, their harmonies were sublime, and their renditions of hit favourites were show stopping. Pippa Grandison’s performance of Judith Durham was exceptional. Her voice carried the harmonies in The Seekers, and really shone when she performed solo tracks. The opening number of act two was a real ‘wow’ moment- her vocals are precise, controlled and so powerful.
The cast really made this musical something special. They brought back the sixties and gave The Seekers a voice to private aspects of their public career. While the musical is a trip down memory lane for some, it was was a great moment of discovery for others like myself, who are unfamiliar with the story behind the band. It's also a chance to stir up feelings of Australian pride for a group of talented musicians who we can call our own.
The State Theatre are dropping prices for the final performances of ‘Georgy Girl, The Musical’ and I think it's definitely worth going to for a genuinely fun night out.
Photo by Jeff Busby