Centenary Theatre, Williamstown
5 to 20 May 2023
Staging the crowd pleaser that is The Boy from Oz, Williamstown MTC have captured the essence of Peter Allen and not only his songs and stagecraft but the rollercoaster of his life. In the first few minutes, thanks to some clever audience participation, the audience is whisked into this energetic and colourful show with no time to collect their thoughts as we embark through classic songs such as ‘Name in Lights’ and ‘I Still Call Australia Home’; just to name a couple.
At the helm of this masterpiece is Ashley Tynan in her directorial debut. Not that you’d be able to tell as she has cleverly crafted a piece that navigates the concert setting of a Peter Allen show with the flashbacks and storytelling of his life expertly. Assembling a stellar production team beside her they have pieced together every element needed to create a fluid and meaningful piece of theatre.
The cast always come roaring onto stage with the highest level of energy which is no easy feat as the show bounces from high to low, without missing a beat. When casting a show dealing with real life personalities that the world adores, you cannot misstep. And Williamstown MTC delivers with its stellar cast.
Playing the man himself, Will Hanley commands the stage as Peter Allen with the vocal skills to match. Barely leaving the stage he handles the emotional ups and downs of Peter’s life expertly while being able to alleviate the crowd with his clever comedic timing.
Judy Garland and Liza Minelli, two icons, were a large part of Peter’s life. Melissa Campolongo playing Judy exuded the maternal and mentor instincts that were needed to help shape Peter’s career while drawing the audience in with her vocal skills. Chloe Taylor brought Liza to life on stage and was an incredible homage to the singer managing to navigate her signature vocal abilities and Fosse dance styles beautifully.
Stephen McMahon was a standout as Peter’s partner later in life. The chemistry between the two actors was so intense that at points you felt like you were intruding on private moments that should not be shared.
The singing and choreography from all cast members was technically flawless which was especially showed off through the finale ‘I Go To Rio’ causing the audience to dance in their seats and clap along to the high energy number.
Williamstown MTC’s The Boy From Oz is a show not to be missed.
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