Miranda Musical Society's latest production, Shout! The Legend of The Wild One, is a musical inspired by the life story and career of an Australian rock and roll singer Johnny O'Keefe (JO'K), nicknamed "The Wild One", who was also known as Australia's answer to Elvis Presley in the 60s and 70s. The musical was recently staged at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre, with Luke Loseby delivering a lively and energetic rock and roll performance as the 'Wild One'.
Set against the backdrop of Australia in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the musical was directed by Bob Peet, with musical direction by Jennifer Parbery and choreography by Kira Nelson. The production also stars Erin Bruce as Marianne Renate (Johnny's wife), Jonathan Acosta as Lee Gordon (music promoter and a major influence on Johnny's life), Karen Moseley and Wayne Thomas as Thelma and Ray O' Keefe (Johnny's parents).
The opening scene saw the birth of Johnny O'Keefe in the arms of Thelma and quickly followed by JO'K in the mid-70s with Maureen, his new fiancée, taking a look at The Sydney Stadium, the scene of his many triumphs which will soon be demolished to make way for the new Eastern Suburbs Railway. JO'K reminisced about the past as he led audiences on a musical journey of three decades on his path of obscurity to stardom, detailing his success in Australian music scene and the destruction of his personal life and relationship with his beloved wife Marianne, a German immigrant who encouraged him to follow his dream.
The orchestra behind the platform against the projected backdrop
Overall, it was an entertaining two-hour performance of rock and roll music, accompanied by a strong orchestra made up of drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, trumpet, trombone and alto saxophone. The set design was simple with use of stationary platform, minimal props and projection of backdrops according to different scenes in the act. Luke Loseby's performance was splendid, as was the delightful singing of Erin Bruce as Marianne. I particularly like Erin's rendition of Crazy in scene six of Act 2, where she sang with intense emotion, expressing the sadness and suffering in her life as a consequence of Johnny's career demands; she eventually left Johnny.
Shout! was indeed a quality production from Miranda Musical Society, a community non-profit organisation. I would consider going to their upcoming productions which include Stepping Out – The Musical in June and Phantom of the Opera in September.