Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dedications (★★★★)

Written and performed by John O’Hara
Written and directed by Anthony Harkin
Musical director/piano Luke Hunter
Cello Anna Sarcich
Downstairs at the Maj
20 – 22 August 2015

Perth-born and WAAPA trained (as is his co-writer and director Anthony Harkin), John O’Hara has forged a fine career as a character principal in juggernaut musicals like Cats and, most recently, Wicked. Dedications is his first cabaret, but he and Harkin are as sure-footed, poised and nuanced as the most experienced of its exponents.
Their idea is inspired: bouncing off the real-life Dedications and Love Songs, Richard Mercer’s long-running late night show on Sydney FM radio, O’Hara plays an eclectic mix of lost souls and hopeless romantics, all calling in to empty their hearts to the unseen, endlessly sympathetic, “Love God”.
And he sings. Brilliantly. All those power ballads, from Whitney to Katy, Lionel to Huey, that make the FM world go round.
And when O’Hara dangles himself from an imaginary coathanger in a heartbreaking version of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire, and follows with a transfixing take on Annie Lennox’s endlessly amazing Why, a great little show becomes something much more substantial. Someone needs to bring it back soon.

Read the complete review in The West Australian

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