Menu Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher

From Frankston to Baltimore [January 23]

‘Frankston Lights’ is a new musical written by Bobby McHugh (with additional songs by Maddy and Memphis Kelly) and directed by Kaarin Fairfax, premiering this week in The Cube performance space at the Frankston Arts Centre. With their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, the creators have crafted a musical in the fine tradition of a-show-all-about-being-in-a-show. In this instance, it’s a Frankston ‘follies’ show, desperately in need of a juvenile male lead, but (temporarily) thwarted by an evil producer with a grudge against the family of (clearly) The Most Talented Juvenile Lead in the Southern ‘Burbs!

As community theatre it works beautifully – it’s about a specific place, it’s full of in-jokes about that place, and it has used the wide-ranging skills of a bunch young performers from that place. (Have you ever heard a pretty French woman try and pronounce ‘mullet’? Hint – it rhymes with creme brule) There’s a team of young hip hop dancers who almost steal the show, some sweet singing from the talented Kelly gals, and the juvenile male lead is indeed Most Talented. Final performance is this Sunday night, 8 pm.

Speaking of place, this has been the summer of ‘The Wire’, the astonishingly well-written HBO series set in Baltimore. Night after night i have been drawn back to the TV to find out what will happen next in the lives of the police, politicians and drug-pushers on the streets of this fictionalised city. The stories are complex and interwoven, the number of key characters is vast, much of the language is pure dialect, and there are more gruesome murders per episode than this squeamish viewer has ever been able to stomach before – and yet it is irresistible. It is an insightful study of how criminal underclasses are formed and become self-sustaining, through the creeping corruption and blind ideological rigidities of local and national politics. But mostly it is quality screen entertainment. Warning – don’t get too emotionally involved with any of the potentially redeemable crims. They usually come to a bad end.

Available on DVD from an increasing number of retail outlets (if you want to avoid joining the criminal underclass of DVD burners, lenders and borrowers).

Having praised HBO’s latest screen gem, nothing could possibly be as diverting as the televised inauguration of US President Barack Obama this week. Can it be true? Or is this an elaborate hoax by the creators of ‘The West Wing’, who will soon reveal that the handsome young Kenyan-American is merely the latest incarnation of the Jed Bartlett-style fictional liberal President, played by a really really really good English actor with an ear for accents?
i hope not.