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Phoenix Players’ High Fidelity comes to town

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The Canberra premiere of rock musical High Fidelity, presented by Phoenix Players, opens at ANU Arts Centre this week, and you could win the chance to dine at Teatro Vivaldi and enjoy tickets to the show! Read on for the details…

Rock-musical High Fidelity follows the story of ‘thirty-something’ year old record store owner, Rob Gordon, who has recently been dumped by his girlfriend and lives his life through never-ending Top 5’s. The journey of self-discovery, hating your job and Rob’s obsessive love and knowledge of music pays a homage to the music scene and ‘growing up’. The production is heavily based on the John Cusack film of the same name, and fans of the novel will also realise that much of the dialogue is pulled straight from it. Like the film, the musical is set in America, rather than England.

Nick Hornby’s hugely successful novel of the same name has has sold over 1 million copies and scores a 4/5 on Good Reads. In 2000 the novel was adapted into a feature film and receives a 7.6/10 on IMDB and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and in 2006 and Broadway musical was born.

The film has won AFI, Blockbuster, MTV Movie and Motion Picture Sound Editors awards and has been a nominee for the Golden Globes, BAFTA’s, Grammy Awards, Teen Choice Awards and Writers Guild of America.

The production has got a lot of people excited and directors, Nathan Patrech and Sarah Hull (the niece of our very own movie guru, Ros!) are excited to bring it to Canberra. With a few of my favourite things – music i.e. Bruce Springsteen (plus Aretha Franklin, The Who, Neil Young, Marvin Gaye and Lyle Lovett to name a few) and list making on the cards, I caught up with Co-Director Sarah Hull for a quick chat.

Who are the team behind this exciting production?

Everyone involved in this production is a local, from cast, crew, the production team and the band. Everyone is also a volunteer. Working with all these people, co-director Nathan Patrech and I have come to appreciate all the time, effort and passion everyone involved has for this project.

How did you come to find these local talents?

We put out a call for interested performers to come audition for us, and we were really lucky in who answered that call. We have a lot of people in this production who love all music, not just musicals. Our lead (Zach Raffan) is an accomplished trumpeter, our leading lady (Josie Dunham) is in a musical duo called Sundae Jam, and two of our other cast members (Amy Dunham and Max Gambale) have their own band called AMAX.

In the auditions, performers were asked to sing for us, to read sections of the dialogue and to learn and dance a short routine. As this is my first time directing, after performing in community theatre for nearly fifteen years, it was incredibly strange to be sitting on the other side of the table during auditions. I was actually quite nervous, more so than some of the auditionees.

How important do you believe this is for Canberra’s arts scene?

Putting on High Fidelity in Canberra is very exciting for a number of reasons. First of all, it is a brand new show for Canberra audiences. It is also a rock musical with original music. This music is inspired by icons such as Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, The Who and Neil Young. This is also a show that a lot of people in the Canberra amateur theatre community love and are excited about, it’s a show we are looking forward to sharing with the greater Canberra community. This show makes me laugh, cry and sometimes rage at the characters, it’s clever, witty and, despite being a musical, portrays a very real set of characters and circumstances that many can identify with. This is a show that is not fantasy or history, like so many shows we see in Canberra. This is a contemporary show with a story that could have happened to anyone.

Tell us a little about incorporating the Top 5 element into the show?

Throughout the show, Rob, the main character, along with his employees Dick and Barry, give us several Top 5 lists – Rob even sings a song about his Desert Island Top 5 Break Ups. I have also been making lists while working to get to opening night – My top 5 performers I’d hoped would audition (they did!), my top 5 moments in the show (sadly, I can’t share them, because Spoilers!), my top 5 songs from High Fidelity (number 1 is Cryin’ in the Rain) – to name a couple. We have also asked the cast to share their All Time Top 5 songs, and have been posting their lists on our Facebook page.

For your chance to win yourself a double pass to High Fidelity* at the ANU Arts Centre and three-course dinner at Teatro Vivaldi valued at $130, simply email hello@hercanberra.com.au telling us your Top 5 rock songs. Entries close 5pm, Thursday 5 February.

the essentials

What: High Fidelity
When: Friday 6 February – Saturday 21 February
Where: ANU Arts Centre & Teatro Vivaldi
Web: www.phoenix.contact.com.au/shows/highfidelity

* Competition winners will not be able to redeem on Thursday 12 or Friday 13 February.

Image: David Burke.

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