By Allan Povah
The highly anticipated production of Burke: The Musical has opened at the Rondo theatre in Edge Hill.
The tribute to the popular backyard landscape gardener has been written and choreographed by Alexi Finlayson from a libretto by Lincoln Humphries. The show stars Joey Perrone as Burke and Alex Papps as the crocodile, and features members of the Bentley Park Beards (pictured in rehearsal above) in the chorus.
“It’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek homage to the early days of lifestyle television and casual sexism,” explained Perrone. “The main character is a vessel within which we can bundle all kinds of misogyny. He’s the Scottie Camm of RKellys. And he can really cut the Fakhari.”
Alexei Finlayson interned under the legendary Rodney K Wright and is becoming an institution in North Queensland performing arts, with the production of Solomon last year cementing his reputation. Finlayson told the Plain Dealer that the latest show represented his greatest challenge.
“The problem we had to solve was a lack of dynamism,” he explained. “There’s no spark in the dialog – I mean, pollination of philodendrons is as boring as fuck – and obviously no beauty in the beards. So the visual energy and synergy and thrust had to come from the dance. And that is difficult to achieve with a has-been single-threat and a bunch of out-of-breath Sikhs.”
After a lot of work, Finlayson is happy with the final product. “Everyone should come along,” he said. “Bring your handkerchiefs, your secateurs and your sense of humour. But leave your indignation at home, because you won’t have any left otherwise.”
Tickets are available at the theatre and at Bunnings Smithfield.