Billy Thorpe and Leigh at The Alex Theatre

Billy and Leigh 2
Billy and Leigh 2

I was wonderfully pleased by the new show Billy Thorpe and Leigh on my first visit to the Alex Theatre in Fitzroy Street St Kilda.

Billy Thorpe was a musical icon of my youth growing up in Sydney, I remember him vividly strutting his stuff on the black and white tele singing Somewhere over the Rainbow or Mash Potato. He truly was one of our biggest stars of the day and loved by all and one who sang the songs that became working class anthems.

Award winning playwright Neil Cole explores the effect that Billy’s music had on his long time mate Leigh Farnell, growing up with his devoted mum and an ailing father who was suffering from Myotonic Dystrophy and couldn’t work.

Andrew Doyle as Leigh had me from the start, he poignantly played the part of a country kid struggling with his esteem, his tireless mum Shirl, Harlene Hercules, providing a solid back up for the boy as he grows into a man.

But it was Billy’s music and Leigh’s loyalty as a fan that held him strong amongst much adversity.

Thorpey is played by Frank Kerr, his guitar and voice brought the essence of Billy’s songs to the stage and the two part harmonies with Doyle were just marvelous. I knew all the songs so I was happily tapping my feet and often singing along.

Billy Thorpe’s laconic music style and his working class, take no shit attitude is echoed in this show and used as a muse by Leigh as he works his way through life.

The Alex was a real eye opener also, what a wonderfully comfortable and fresh theatre, I highly recommend this show and a visit to the Alex will not disappoint.

I had an opportunity to meet the real life Leigh just after the show and we had a great chat

Billy and Leigh1

Written by Neil Cole. Directed by Tim Paige.

The Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. 18-28 May, 2016.

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