Francesca Spear (left) as Vicki and Becky Morgan as Rae
Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls
By Philip Dean
Directed by Michelle Watkins
Gold Coast Little Theatre
21A Scarborough St
Season continues until February 22. Bookings 07 5532 2096. www.gclt.com.au
I first saw Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls nearly 30 years ago – around the time it made its debut in 1994 – and the only thing I could remember was that it was fun.
Now it’s back, this time as the first main house production in the Gold Coast Little Theatre’s 2020 season, and once again it was a pleasure to watch.
This uncomplicated two-hander with a simple 1960s country-style feminist message and a pile of mainstream tunes from the likes of Hank Williams, Lorette Lynn and Neil Diamond, among others, is never going to set the world on fire.
But for a couple of hours it will carry an undemanding audience away to the 1960s world of two sassy women who yearn for something more from life.
Stay-at-home mum Vicki (Francesca Spear) lives in a country fantasy, where Hank Williams is king, and hubby Jack is always away because he works so hard and that’s just the way things are.
Her world is turned upside down when sexy free spirit Rae (Becky Morgan) waltzes into her life with a sprinkling of swear words, but more importantly a sense that life is an adventure.
It seems that racy Rae has it nailed but, she is another victim of the chauvinistic world and her cowboy husband, Earl’s, selfish and irresponsible behavior.
We never meet the men in Vicki and Rae’s life, who include friends, husbands, lovers, relatives and others, but we get a sense that their treatment of the women has a lot to be desired.
The women cope with female bonding, some snappy dialogue and a heap of songs that come thick and fast.
Here’s where we give the musical trio a special thank-you because their music is the glue which holds the whole show together.
Guitarist Lawrie Esmond has a distinctive strong voice – I am told his party piece is Old Man River (I’d love to hear it) - and the impromptu backup George Pulley (keyboard/banjo) and Jordan Ferrigno (drums) – makes for a great unit.
Incidentally, Lawrie is responsible for the set which is spilt between Vickie’s home and the local pub where Rae works as a barmaid and the band play.
Director Michelle Watkins holds everything together with style and a sense of time and place.
There’s a sad twist towards the end of the show, but overall Long-Gone Lonesome Cowgirls is an engaging night at the theatre with some laughs and lots of musical energy.