Music tribute shows are nothing new at fringe festivals. It’s when artists bring to that retrospective something fresh and exciting, or even enlightening, that you truly appreciate the homage and nostalgia.
As is the case with Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen at this year’s Fringe World. Presented by cabaret favourite Michael Griffiths (who takes on the role of Peter Allen) and partner in rhyme Amelia Ryan (herself a Fringe staple, proving popular with her one-woman show The Breast Is Yet to Come), Livvy & Pete shines new light on two of Australia’s leading music icons. And brings plenty of laughs for the audience along the way.
Where Griffiths provides interesting anecdotes about the life of Peter Allen, Ryan, too, gives us insight into Olivia’s earlier musical years where country superseded pop for our national musical treasure.
Griffiths and Ryan also provide clear-cut vocals to our favourite Allen and Newton-John numbers. So clear, in fact, that I finally picked up and understood for the first time, the full lyrics to classic hits from the musical Grease. Believe it or not, for the past three decades, I’ve been singing “there’s no time to convey” instead of “that’s too hard to convey” in You’re The One That I Want. And on a continued mondegreen tip, I’ve mistaken quite a few lyrics in familiar numbers including Hopelessly Devoted to You, I Go to Rio, and even I Still Call Australia Home. Until now.
Livvy & Pete does a good job in keeping all generations happy with its jukebox-style delivery of various genres and tastes. One minute we’re appreciating some old Olivia country, the next we’re grooving to the commercial sounds of Physical. One moment we’re doing the obvious maraca-shaking to a Peter Allen holiday favourite, the next we’re soaking in the genius lyrics of a song he’d co-written in Arthur’s Theme.
I took my mother along to see this show, but if it ever comes back to Perth, I’d recommend taking a friend, the kids, anyone who appreciates quality music with its papers firmly stamped ‘Australian’. Antonino Tati
‘Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen’ is on at The Pleasure Garden, Northbridge until Monday 12 February.
Tickets are available through www.fringeworld.com.au.