Kings Cross has seen many reincarnations through the many lifetimes of its short and checkered history. Strange as this may seem for a suburb without a postcode, "The Cross" (as it is known colloquially in Sydney) brings as much a reputation of celebration as a bohemian district as it does for its other claims of ill repute.
Musical celebration boy-meets-boy romance Only Heaven Knows originally premiered in Kings Cross in 1988 and returns this month to The Cross at the intimacy of musically renowned Hayes Theatre for a 30 year anniversary.
Writer Alex Harding's love of the area shines.
Yet more. His knowledge and intimacy with his subject matter reverberates throughout his work resulting in both a sensitive and multi-faceted documentation of another time.
Only Heaven Knows delivers with inclusion a detailed history of two decades in Sydney and Kings Cross. The Tivoli. Australia's leading female impersonator of the time. Parties. Costumes. Songs. Celebration vs Conservatism. Statements of love and life. And throughout it all Harding captivates his cast as well as his audience.
The current 2017 anniversary production is treated with the same sensitivity allowing the portrait of both light and dark of minority life in all its diversity without ever leaning to platitudes. And is as relevant to all Australians as well as the gay community as much today as it was when first performed amidst the embryo of the AIDS crisis.
Strength and harmony is displayed across the current cast of six. Each carries their role and their place in the performance .
The foundational strength of Ben Hall in the pivotal role in which he arrives as a 17 year old in Sydney and evolves to emigrate to follow his dreams.
We leave David Campbell (who played that pivotal role in the 1995 production of the piece, and whose company Luckiest is behind this new production) with the last word:
"I think this is one of the most important Australian musicals that has been created. I’ve never experienced such a simple show having such a visceral impact. While it so vibrantly paints the past, it speaks to us about today."
Only Heaven Knows is on now and playing until Saturday July 1st at Hayes Theatre. See the Sydney Scoop calendar for performance times and prices.
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