Not only did they hear and see a very talented cast perform many of The Seekers hits, they also saw their heroes in person.
The original Seekers – Judith Durham, Keith Potger, Athol Guy and Bruce Woodley – joined the cast for the final curtain call.
Needless to say this production, which is having its world premiere in Melbourne, has the full support of The Seekers.
It’s easy to see why – the production highlights what normal and talented people The Seekers were and are. The musical follows the group from their formation in Melbourne in 1962 to their success in England, which included knocking the Beatles and the Rolling Stones from the number one spot on the charts on several occasions. It also covers the reasons for their breakup and their subsequent reunions.
The story is told through numerous short scenes connected by a narrative provided by Adam Murphy who plays the man who would become Durham’s husband, the late Ron Edgeworth. The show is based on the book by Edgeworth’s brother Patrick.
Many of the scenes are based around their hit songs – songs such as I’ll Never Find Another You, A World of Our Own, The Carnival is Over, Morningtown Ride, I am Australian and the Oscar-nominated Georgy Girl.
Much of the show’s emphasis is on Durham including her personal life and challenges as well as her concerns about her appearance.
We do however learn that the three boys enjoyed female company and were disappointed when Durham decided to leave the group. We also discovered they were pressured to replace Durham with a `slimmer singer’ in the early stages of their career in England.
Without doubt it’s the music which is the highlight of the show. The sets are quite simple, although they do illustrate the story – for example there’s footage of the band’s performance at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1967, attended by an estimated 200,000 people.
Pippa Grandison is outstanding as Durham while Mike McLeish (Bruce Woodley), Phillip Lowe (Keith Potger) and Glaston Toft (Athol Guy) are also excellent.
Adam Murphy gives a wonderful performance as Edgeworth, thanks to his comic timing.
The production’s dancers illustrate the story – for example they dress in English `suits’ representing the group’s arrival in London. An 11-piece band provides the musical support.
One of the joys of this production is its suitability for all ages.
As Murphy proclaims at the beginning of the show – “Other bands trashed their hotel rooms, The Seekers cleaned theirs up” so no-one can get offended by the content, it is all very sweet and generally cheery – although there are a few sad parts with Durham particularly facing several major challenges.
For many the show will provide a trip down memory lane. My companion on the night lived in England at the same time as The Seekers and thought the show captured both the times and their musical abilities perfectly.
For those who weren’t around or can’t remember The Seekers, Georgy Girl provides both a history lesson and a fun night out with some great music.
Georgy Girl is currently playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre. It’s due to open at Sydney’s State Theatre on April 2. For more information and tickets visit the Georgy Girl website.
*Photographs by Jeff Busby
Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Georgy Girl- The Seekers Musical as a guest of the show.