Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hugh Jackman: Broadway to Oz

One afternoon in August I checked my email inbox and couldn't quite believe what I was reading – that Hugh Jackman, arguably Australia's favourite actor, musical theatre performer and awards show host1, would be coming to Adelaide to do a live show. And, unlike most big-name gigs that get announced months (or more2) in advance, it was going to be in December – only a few months away, and tickets were on sale in a few days.

You'd better believe that as soon as I'd checked I didn't already have plans that night (Thursday December 10) and confirmed that the GF wanted to come (she did), I bought two tickets as soon as they went on sale.

We ended up with really good seats – not always a given with the ticketing system at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. It took me a bit of looking at the venue map to establish just how good they were – if I had it right, we'd be within a few metres of the thrust stage, which he (showman that is he) would almost certainly use.

Now I was looking forward to it even more.

The date rolled around soon enough, and we made our way to Hindmarsh amidst the crowd of people lining up to have their ticket barcodes red and bags checked. After wading through the herd we found our way to our seats – which were as good as I'd calculated they were.

And then it started.

It was, of course, hugely entertaining. It was mostly songs from shows (as the title would suggest) and for these he was usually backed by twenty or so musicians, and about as many dancers; amongst the latter was Maxwell Trengove, who's from Adelaide and who was involved in a few shows with me – he was Artful Dodger in Oliver! and choreographed Me and My Girl.

Standouts were the numbers from Les Miserables – he had a guest vocalist sing I Dreamed A Dream – and then got the whole ensemble together to sing a brilliant version of One Day More. He opened the second half – descending from the frickin' ceiling on a kind of elevation device – as Peter Allen and sang songs from The Boy from Oz; in the this segment he also got down into the audience, so at one point we were only a couple of meters away.

He also spoke quite a bit – about his experiences on stage and in movies, but also about his family. Given he's such a natural performer, he was able to make all of this as engaging as he did all of the musical numbers.

It was, all in all, an exceptional evening's entertainment. I can't think of too many other people who'd be able to put on a show that entertaining.

The rest of the photos; some of them with explanations:

This guy had posted on Twitter about making a Wolverine-related t-shirt for the show, and Hugh had seen it earlier in the day, so he got him up on stage.

A disco ball jacket. I shit you not.

Hugh, in character as Peter Allen, found this lovely older gentleman in the crowd and got him up on stage.

When he sang I Still Call Australia Home, this massive flag appeared and went over the top of the audience in the floor seats. That was pretty amazing.

A well-deserving bow.

1I didn't know until I was reading his Wikipedia page that he actually won an Emmy for his hosting of the 58th Tony Awards.
2A few years back I bought tickets to see Tim Minchin play with the ASO something like nine months before the show itself.

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