Last night I saw "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at Cremorne Theatre, starring Michael Falzon as Hedwig, and Lucinda Shaw as Yitzhak. I must say, I was totally blown away!
I've been a fan of Hedwig since I saw the movie earlier this year, leading me to track down John Cameron Mitchell's follow up directorial project, "Shortbus" - needless to say, I loved that too. But "Hedwig" is still my first love. What a wonderful story - a boy from East Berlin, desperate to be loved, hitches his wagon to the first star that crosses his path - Sergent Luther Robinson, who promises to take young Hansel away from Communist Germany to America - but he will have to leave behind a small part of himself. After a botched sex change, leaving him with the said "angry inch", he finds himself in Junction City, Kansas one year later, divorced and once again desperate. Now Hedwig Robinson, she decides to follow her rock and roll dreams, and along the way meets Tommy Speck, a young boy who eventually steals her music and the fame meant for her. It's a story that anyone can relate to - a person just searching for their other half.
So last night's production was a dream come true for me - so I was disappointed at the small crowd that had gathered for our 9pm show. But as soon as the first guitar riff started, I was sucked in. Michael Falzon rocks OUT as our East German frontwoman, and handles the extended monologue that is the show beautifully with light and shade. One minute I was laughing at outrageous sexual innuendo ("When I think about the people I have come uopn in my travels, I must think of the people who have come upon me"), the next, moved by Hedwig's painful reflections on her life. He has a wonderful voice, and performed Hedwig's songs with energy and ease.
Lucinda Shaw, most recently seen as the Lady in the Lake in "Spamalot", was such a daggy Yitzhak - Hedwig's used and abused "husband" and backup singer - hanging back in the shadows with his ugly haircut and plaid shirt. But Shaw managed to radiate the hatred and resentment towards Hedwig that was called for, and her Yitzhak had some wonderful passive agressive outbursts. Yitzhak's transformation at the end of the show was breathtaking - who knew that Shaw could make such a beautiful woman?!
The show touched me in such a meaningful way. I heard the songs like I never had before, and I was sucked into the story straight away. The band was magnificent, the lighting extrordinary - what else can I say, I was a fan! My one negative comment was the way the audience was expected to way their arms in the air during "Midnight Radio". I mean, it's usually pretty effective and a cool feeling, but honestly, there wasn't many people in there last night. It felt just a little lame. BUT that wasn't the actors' fault, I blame the 9pm show!
Overall, it was just a great night out. I got a cast recording (regrettably, not the cast I saw, but the Original Australian Cast). So if you're in Brisbane and have a spare $60, go see the show. It's totally worth it!
Can't tear ME down!