Photos – Stephen Reinhardt
Everyone has a flip side.
It's a great line, and no lie, from Joanna Weinberg's super script, The Secret Singer.
Inspired by a true tale, Weinberg's wonderful words and music tell a sympathetic, symbiotic story of music teacher, Emjay and her student, Jenny, as they traverse a territory of reclamation. Jenny seeks Emjay's tuition in reclaiming her voice that has fallen silent due to a tirade of domestic trauma.
All her life, Jenny has been considered stupid, and certainly her relationship choices have not been astute. She's a good soul, who sadly, has been abused by spouses and neglected by society. Free from the shackles of shameful men, now a leading light in a cat charity, all Jenny wants to do is sing, seven days a week, in seven different choirs, but the legacy of psychological scars inflicted by manipulating men has affected her vocals.
After hearing Emjay's one and only album, recorded some time ago when she seemed on the threshold of stardom, Jenny focuses on her as the one who can restore and school her voice, aiding her aspirations to join a choral community. Inspired by real events, The Secret Singer is an inspired piece of theatre, an inspiration to us all.
Genevieve Lemon as Emjay is marvellous, portraying a talent that has had the taste of success, but in the fleeting fickleness of the business never attained lasting stardom. Teaching has become a fall-back position, but her talent is no back seat passenger, coaxed back into the driver's seat by her student. Lemon imbues the importance of teachers, the asset of guided discovery by experienced practitioners who mix their expertise with empathy.
Kate Mannix as Jenny brings a delightful mix of eccentricity and plain truth, a truth planed by pain and disappointment, but resilient and determined.
Brigette Thorn's production design is, simply, right on target; white boards and chairs and stained glass windows so redolent and reminiscent of community halls where all sorts of classes and tutelage occurs.
There's a prevailing wisdom that the writer should not direct their own work, but with The Secret Singer the prevailing wisdom can take a hike. This show sings. Enjoy!
John Feitelson and Lawrence Jackson, in association with Darlinghurst Theatre present
The Secret Singer
by Joanna Weinberg
Directed by Joanna Weinberg
Venue: Eternity Playhouse | 39 Burton Street Darlinghurst NSW
Dates: 28 Aug – 9 Sep 2018
Tickets: $54 – $35
Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com | (02) 8356 9987