View from the Wings
Tod Johnston and Trudy Dunn
His Majesty's Theatre
REVIEW: DAVID ZAMPATTI
Maybe it's the fate of showbiz kids to watch their parents do their stuff until one day the parents turn around and watch them do it.
In their sweet and entertaining View from the Wings, Tod Johnston and his sister Trudy Dunn complete that unbroken circle for their folks.
To hear them tell it, though (and I don't doubt they're being straight with us), life in their family was a lot less fraught than some other entertainment dynasties.
Mum, of course, is the legendary Jill Perryman, and Dad the respected dancer and choreographer Kevan Johnston, but the impression their kids give is of a lively, loving couple as determined to lead a healthy, happy family life as they were to follow their stars.
There were lots of hotel rooms and shifting schools in their childhoods but it sounds like a life of adventure more than dislocation. When the family did settle down, there were lines to learn and routines to work out even while Dad mowed the lawn.
The kids remember the little things of family life away from the stage with just as much affection, such as Kevan putting a bit of tin roofing outside the bedroom window so Jill could hear the sound of the rain she loved falling on it.
The memories were wonderful, and so were the songs. Sometimes raids on the Great American Musical Songbook can leave me squirming for some courage and imagination but, in this case, the selection was legitimate.
Only one number, Soon it's Gonna Rain, from The Fantasticks, wasn't part of either Jill and Kevan's repertoire. From Hello Dolly to The Lady is a Tramp, we were treated to 17 rolled gold show-stoppers - plus a merry little Christmas number to close the show.
Trudy and Tod are fine performers in their own right, and they did their parents proud. Trudy has her mum's vocal chops and shimmy, and Tod has inherited his dad's cheek and vitality (although, he'd be the first to admit, not his hooves).
Add the stylish accompaniment of Sue Bluck on piano and Wayne Freer on upright bass, and the last Morning Melodies crowd of the year got fine entertainment as well as a window into the life of one of our most accomplished families.I'm sure Jill and Kevan, banished to seats in the dress circle, enjoyed every bit of it.
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