Musical theatre is a term that strikes fear into the hearts of many. It is the home of glitz, glam and razzledazzle, a parallel universe where bursting into song and performing unison choreography backed by a chorus of 30 or more is the norm, if not mundane. It is a world that, for those involved, can become all enveloping, a lifestyle choice and a way to leave everyday reality behind. Forget your troubles, the inhabitants implore in 5 part harmony, c'mon get happy. One such inhabitant, is Steve Judkins.
Just a Broaday Bogan, Steve Judkin's one man show at the Butterfly Club, is full of show-stopping numbers and theatrical anecdotes from both sides of the fourth wall. Judkins, who looks more like a rugby player than a song-and-dance-man, takes us back to a tongue in cheek portrayal of his humble beginnings as a suburban karaoke DJ, then onto successes in Las Vegas and on London's West End.
Not your typical musical theatre stereotype, Judkins made a choice early in life between the flood lights of the footy oval and the footlights of the theatre. An esky full of VB makes up part of the set and posters of ACDC adorn the upright piano. The show begins with Judkins illustrating his own autobiography by cleverly appropriating tunes from musicals; such as bursting into 'Just a Sweet Transvestite' from The Rocky Horror Picture Show when describing how to avoid unwanted attention from amorous bogan females. Judkins also utilises an old musical theatre chestnut, dressing an audience member in drag and serenading 'Shazza', with 'I Won't Bring Roses' from Mack and Mabel. Although in this case it backfired, as he was almost upstaged by the chosen audience member's remarkable comic timing.
After a strong beginning, the connections between subject matter and song became more and more tenuous. The related anecdotes merely hinted at deeper themes, when they could have provided a well crafted back story that fulfilled and complemented the musical score. Judkins had plenty of material for demonstrating the tension between his chosen career and his obvious persona as the quintessential Aussie bloke, but in true musical theatre style he chose to gloss over the hard bits and to put on a happy face. Which the audience is more than happy for him to do.
Judkins is an extremely affable and charismatic performer who is obviously well at home in front of an audience. He has a lovely voice and despite a somewhat arbitrary premise, who doesn't love a good showtune?
Steve Judkins in
JUST A BROADWAY BOGAN
Venue: The Butterfly Club | 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne
Dates: Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 July
Times: Thurs – Sat at 9.00 pm; Sunday at 8.00 pm
Tickets: $25 full / $20 concession and for groups of 8 or more
Duration: one hour approx