Johnny Cash has long been a favourite of ours and we have been lucky enough to see him perform several times. Since his death there have been a number of TV shows about his life, the movie “Walk the Line”, and now a tribute to Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black”, by Tex Perkins playing at the Opera House. After seeing “Walk the Line” and the magnificent performances by Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reece Witherspoon as June Carter-Cash, I was a bit doubtful that an Australian in the role, or indeed anyone else, could pull it off – but they did. There is no comparison between the movie and this show – they are quite different approaches to the same story. Tex Perkins and Rachael Tidd are the narrators of the great man’s life story, but interweave their narration with performances of his songs accompanied by “The Tennessee Four”. Tex Perkins has a great voice, as does his “June Carter-Cash” but they were not as close to the Cash/Carter sound as the movie – but, do you know what? (as Kevin ’07 says) – it didn’t matter. The celebration of Cash’s life shone through – their enthusiasm and love of the music was evident both in the performances and in the music of the “Tennessee Four”.
We were sitting next to some died-in-the wool Cash/Perkins fans – they stood, they shouted, they wiggled in time to the music – and their spontaneous joy spread to the whole theatre.
The evening ended with an encore and a standing ovation.
And the brush with fame? Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and two friends/?family were sitting directly in front of us. On the way out, the second man in the group picked up all the wine glasses from the floor where they had been left by other people in the row. I was so impressed!
PS I forgot to say, that from the moment we walked into the Playhouse, I kept wondering if KatieV was operating the lighting!