Review - Liza’s Back (Is Broken): tribute or parody?
Liza’s Back (Is Broken)
Conceived by Trevor Ashley
Written by Phil Scott and Trevor Ashley
Musical Director Andy Davies
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: 17 to 22 January. Bookings: qpac.com.au or 136 246. Running time: two hours 20 minutes with interval.
Trevor Ashley has been performing his drag tribute of Liza Minnelli all over the world and has been hailed as "perfection" (Gay Times UK), "unrivalled" (Limelight) and a "remarkable impersonation" (Sydney Morning Herald).
In this show, complete with an excellent seven-piece band, rather than a simple tribute show with dialogue he explored all the great roles and Broadway show tunes that Liza never got to sing like Cats, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line and even Wicked! with songs like I Have Confidence, Memory, Send in the Clowns, One Singular Sensation, plus her own classics, Maybe This Time, Cabaret and New York, New York!
She even had the audience singing along with the Do Re Me song
When I checked on the timing of the show after receiving the opening night invitation some time ago, it was promoted as a one hour show. When I arrived at the Cremorne Theatre I discovered it was in fact a two hour production.
Domestic circumstances had given me only one hour, so I had to leave at interval so my opinions are based on the first act.
Trevor Ashley’s Liza was based on an ageing star, no longer the slimline Garland soundalike, but one who had been through the mill, rehab, new hips and knees and knew where all the bodies were hidden.
I am not all that familiar with that Liza, so I was a bit lost and in truth did not get the show. I was unsure whether it was a parody or a tribute. There was no real physical resemblance, but the body language and hand gestures were very Liza - and the voice, good as it was, was a male voice and did not quite have the timbre of Liza. The jokes, which brought howls of laughter from most of the, I must admit, adoring audience, seemed a bit tame to me. I did not laugh a lot.
Often the dialogue was lost in the sound system and I did not thoroughly enjoy my hour in the theatre.
But I was definitely in the minority; applause and cheers rang out continuously during the performance.
I guess it all comes down to a matter of taste; this show didn’t tickle my fancy.