The most disappointing aspect of reviewing a one night only show is the inability to encourage others to attend – this time! So – before I gloat about what you missed, I’m firmly planting the seed of consideration for next year. You’re getting 12 months’ notice people – your excuses are now invalid.
Midsumma and diversity occupy identical space and while each letter from the community was clearly represented, it would be immensely unfair to look at the composition of last night’s show and see the extraordinary spectrum of talent on stage as a tick box exercise.
Genuinely a show with something for everyone but above all, simply great fun.
Hosting proceedings was the astonishingly funny Ryhs Nicholson. Intellectually, profoundly and hysterically sharp, this young man offered a generous welcome for every act while delivering plenty of his own material for an incredibly receptive crowd.
Sheldon Riley was powerful and humble and set the standard high for the voices to follow. Steven Oliver kept things fun but affected most with his poignant thought-provoking poetry. Geraldine Hickey was dead pan smart and filthy, rendering me incapable of ever thinking the same way about a certain breed of spider, and closing Act 1 was living legend Carlotta. This woman is essentially a Wikipedia of LGBTI Australia capable of regaling history, glamour and struggle across an extraordinary three quarters of a century. What an absolute privilege.
Kicking off Act 2, Joel Creasy dropped some pretty hefty names in an irreverent self-deprecating account of his recent celebrity encounters. Zoe Coombs Marr offered hilarious wisdom about keeping in with the Lesbians for DIY projects and attempting to musically split the room while fighting amongst themselves, Beccy Cole and Libby O’Donovan were vocally dextrous and utterly fabulous in virtually delivering the iTunes collection of most in the audience.
The mesmerising Mama Alto superbly delivered two powerful ballads while gently encouraging any producers in the room to draw up a contract. Booming and testing the acoustics of Hamer Hall, the evening was brought to its close by the colossal Trevor Ashley. Learning this phenomenal talent was travelling to New York the following morning for work was simply no surprise because he really is world class stuff.
The 2019 Midsumma Extravaganza was a glittering and fabulous evening and those behind it should be immensely proud of the show they curated.
Sincere congratulations to all involved and for those who didn’t get there – you are on notice for 2020.
2019 Midsumma Extravaganza
Venue: Hamer Hall | Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Dates: 29 Jan 2019