Paris – A Rock Odyssey

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There are few stories as famous the world over as the story of the decade long Trojan War, and the forbidden love affair that caused it. Now, for just four nights only, Melbournian’s can experience the epic love story, and the war that followed, through the music of one of Australia’s most iconic stars of the stage, the late Jon English.

Beginning life as a concept album in 1990 written by Jon English and David Mackay, Music Theatre Melbourne’s production of Paris marks the first professional performance of the musical and brings with it an amazing cast, anchored by some of Australia’s most decorated stars and bolstered by an exciting array of new talent. Stars of the stage and screen John Waters and Ben Mingay lead the cast as Greek heroes Ulysses and Achilles, along with Tim Freedman as Agamemnon and Brian Mannix as Sinon. Reliably great, these Australian icons are nonetheless outshone by a host of newcomers, predominantly Mathew Manahan as the naïve yet charismatic Paris, Madeleine Featherby as his love, the graceful Helen, and Kerrie Anne Greenland as the cursed prophet Cassandra in all her punk rock glory.

For a telling of the mythical war, Paris is suitably epic in scope and scale. With little in the way of set design, the story is instead told via a screen hanging in the air above the on-stage band, punctuating the action with graphics and narration, taking us from the wild seas between Troy and Greece to the bloody battlefield outside the besieged city gates. An effective way of progressing the narrative, it lends the show a cinematic air. While the stage design is minimal, the costumes are eclectic, combining the styles of Ancient Greece with the flair and attitude of rock ‘n’ roll, paying homage to the history of much of its famous cast.

On the whole, Paris is a triumph and a fitting tribute to the memory of its creator.

Paris – A Rock Odyssey 
Melbourne Recital Centre

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