Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Red Dust Diva, Alan Hopgood, Oct 19, 2005

 Red Dust Diva by Alan Hopgood
 Chapel off Chapel. October 19 to 30, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 19, 2005

Lyndsay Hammond was half of the 80s voluptuous vixen band, Cheetah. 

She is now a solo blues singer. A fragment of her pub touring history is captured in Red Dust Diva, written by playwright, Alan Hopgood.

It is a risk making singers act but, to a great extent, Hammond pulls it off with the suppport of two fine actors, David Bradshaw and Simon Mallory. She plays herself in the play.

The show incorporates Hammond's original acoustic songs into a simple story set in a pub in Kalgoorlie * perhaps the blokiest pub in the country.

When she arrives for a three night gig, everything falls apart. Her agent-boyfriend dumps her, and disappears to Singapore with all her money and a new gal. The audience will not listen and she has no dough to get home. In short, it is a disaster.

Finally, with the support of Jeff, the cheerful publican, (Mallory) she wins over the toughest crowd of her life and makes an unusual friend in Tam.

T.Ambrose, or Tam as he is known, is a jovial drunk who likes to discuss existentialism. He is also a startlingly talented painter* when he is sober. He is a man of many idiosyncrasies but the most obvious is that he likes to paint while naked.

Hammond has an interesting, whiskey voice that has worked plenty of loud pubs. Her songs are a blend of blues and country. Most are cryin' songs in the blues tradition and each is entertaining although there is little variation between them.

She opens with The Wind is Blowing Through the Rooms in Our House, the song she tries to sing over the raucous pub crowd. She follows with It Can't Be True, a song about her lying boyfriend which her character writes in her dingy hotel room and performs to the pub.

The title song, Red Dust Trails, is a cruisy little tune about travelling in the desert territories. Hell is Just a Local Call Away has lyrics reminiscent of country singers as does I Just Cry For You.

The most interesting part of the story is about Tam, his exceptional talent and wicked humour. His character stimulated a song with lyrics such as, "He likes the bottle and he rolls his own."

The piece is a little static, stuck in a motel room but it is a cheerful show, filled with some cunning jokes by Alan Hopgood. 


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