Sydney Fringe is set to present a warm and very funny new Australian musical. Frank Christie Frank Clarke! Peter Fleming and Allan McFadden have collaborated on the lyrics of Fleming’s book to which McFadden has written the music. It is the half-true story of a nearly identifiable lovable con-man-thief, who almost got away with it in-and-around the Aussie goldfields, who sort of became an icon, who fought the occasional battle with and through the media, who sort of had a Chinese girlfriend and who wound up something of an entrepreneur in America….
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely circumstantial!
The vaudeville-like show gives each character a specialty act that is all their own. One of Frank’s love interests is a soprano, the cops are a soft-shoe shuffle act, and Frank’s nemesis Police Inspector “Blind Freddy” Pottinger hopes to get a gig as a marksman – even if he can’t hit the side of a barn from ten feet!
Writer-lyricist Peter Fleming says Frank Christie – who was part Aboriginal – is “the embodiment of larrikin charm”.
“Frank Christie changes his name whenever he gets in a corner. Sometimes he’s Frank Christie, sometimes he’s Frank Clarke. Inside, he’s really trying to find out who he is.”
Frank is caught between his affection for Wu Lin, a ‘celestial’ on the goldfields and a newcomer to his region, Sylvia. The police are sticklers for British law and can never pin him down. There’s crime and punishment, heroes and villains, romance and laughs.
“The show’s about how the Australian character has changed,” says Peter “…what we’ve lost, forgotten and devalued over the past thirty years: therefore it’s a comedy!”
Frank Christie Frank Clarke! was given a successful reading at Parnassus’ Den in May 2005, and after that was picked up to represent NSW in the Magnormos Showcase of new Australian musicals in Melbourne later that same year. A staged reading at The Actors Centre in Sydney last year won a standing ovation. The Sydney Fringe now sees its first full production premiere!
Directed by Sydney theatre legend Aarne Neeme, who has directed episodes of the TV dramas Blue Heelers and All Saints. and with its composer, Allan McFadden as musical director, Frank Christie Frank Clarke! stars Brent Dolahenty in the title role, Lena Cruz as Wu Lin, John Derum as Pottinger, Laurence Coy as Torpy, Sharni McDermott as Grandma, Jennifer Reed as Sylvia, Trent Kidd as Dave and Timothy Monley as Ernie.
Song titles like See Ya, Vengeance! and Give Me Some Bang for My Buck! the show reflects the essence of Australian larrikin humour in music theatre.
Frank Christie Frank Clarke by Peter Fleming and Allan McFadden
Tickets $25 / Concession $20
Easy flat-rate parking and right on public transport