Walk of Fame Gala

Adelaide Festival Centres Walk of Fame GalaAdelaide Festival Centre. Festival Theatre. 19 Jan 2018

 

It was quite literally a landmark event at the Festival Theatre.

The Walk of Fame Gala celebrated the embedding of the names of 130 luminaries in the riverside plaza walk, those who have trodden the stage of the theatre over its 45 years.  It stands as a showbiz nostalgia salute which, with online voting for a large selection of stars, involved the approbation of much of the Adelaide citizenry.

 

Finally, the earthed stars had been officially revealed. Politicians made speeches and preened for photo ops with celebrities all glittering in the summer heatwave. The dear old theatre itself sported its deep new foyer carpets and the excited Walk of Fame Gala audience streamed in for a rousing variety concert to mark the day.

 

The use of big triangular blocks as stage setting, one dangling precipitously over the stage, had an oddly 70s aesthetic which made sense when it was explained that they reiterated the sail motif of the Festival Centre architecture.

In its way, the concert sang the old era, too; it was all very trad. 

Jamie Goldsmith and the Taikurtinna dancers presented an arresting Welcome to Country in the half-light behind a spectacular art projection which featured the far-distant image of little Wright Island at Encounter Bay.

 

Then, in dramatic cultural contrast, there was Greta Bradman aloft on stairs, shimmering in a golden gown under a flare of blue lights. She sang opera from deep within the European tradition, Puccini, clear, high rich vibrato and very formal.

 

Not so with popular Todd McKenney who emerged as master of ceremonies, so full of beans that one felt he might almost pop out of himself. He teased the audience with a taste of Peter Allen and promised good things to come. 

And the show rolled forth. Beccy Cole, in long black boots, did her beer-skulling routine and was hilariously self-deprecatory when not singing like a Country and Western angel. She’s a gem. She brought the house down.

 

The divine Nancye Hayes, in bright red slacksuit, belted out Broadway Baby and then a duet of You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me with her oft-times performance partner McKenney.

 

Children’s entertainer Peter Combe did his usual thing but with the wonderful onstage orchestra.

 

Slava Grigoryan’s exquisite guitar soothed the soul and was joined by Niki Vasilakis on violin with the Histoire de Tango and then, for something completely different, the lithe and muscular ADT dancers writhed and undulated in intriguing synchronous formations with a tall potted plant and an almost industrial soundscape. They were like verdant sprites. It was an excerpt of their Beginning of Nature program. It was mesmerising.

 

Rhonda Burchmore materialised, timeless and classic with her red hair shimmering in the lights. She and McKenney had a You’re the Best duet, McKenney still looking as if he wanted to burst into dance.

Adelaide’s most beloved actor Paul Blackwell had a tough call in the midst of the song and dance. Downstage and in Cockney character, he performed a period piece, a monologue about shallow but talented showbiz folk of the vaudevillian era. His description of the performing pigeons lady lingers in mind’s eye. 

 

And the show rolled on with the splendid Zephyr Quartet amid the accompaniment.  James Morrison made the rafters ring with his beautiful mellow jazz trumpeting, The only off note of this historic gala was, oddly enough, from Tim Minchin who treated the audience to a new composition, a very long song called  If this Plane Goes Down. This unfunny, fear-laden song did not go down. His Matilda hit, When I grow up, did go down, however, and so did his duet of I Still Call Australia Home with McKenney.  Finally, with a big ending of Rio, McKenney got to release a bit of the pent-up physicality. Applause. Applause.

 

And Adelaide's Walk of Fame was official, ready to take new stars as they rise.

 

Samela Harris

 

At its inception the Adelaide Festival Centre's Walk Of Fame included the following names:

 

WALK OF FAME ARTISTS

 
1973
Ernie Sigley
Julie Anthony
Peter Brook & Royal Shakespeare Company
1974
Tristram Cary
Robert Helpmann
Daddy Cool
1975
Elizabeth Cameron Dalman
John Farnham
Roy Orbison
1976
Joan Sutherland
Cold Chisel
Merce Cunningham
1977
Keith Michell
Ruth Cracknell
Rudolf Nureyev
1978
Dennis Olsen
Olivia Newton-John
Ella Fitzgerald
1979
John Gaden
Dame Edna Everage
Gene Pitney
1980
Nick Enright
Peter Allen
June Bronhill
1981
Janet Vernon
Peter Goers
Liza Minnelli
1982
Mary Moore
John Wood
Debbie Reynolds
1983
David Williamson
Geoffrey Rush
Joni Mitchell
1984
Thomas Edmonds
Hugo Weaving
Richard Harris
1985
Bobby Limb
Anthony Warlow
Kiri Te Kanawa
1986
Nancye Hayes
Robyn Archer
John Denver
1987
Gale Edwards
Garry McDonald
John Bell
1988
Rosalba Clemente
Peter Combe
Georg Solti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1989
Marilyn Richardson
The Seekers
Marcel Marceau
1990
Paul Blackwell
Anne Wills
Eric Clapton
1991
Shaun Micallef
Gary Sweet
Jacki Weaver
1992
Jim Sharman
Guy Pearce
Eartha Kitt
1993
Todd McKenney
Noni Hazlehurst
Carmel Johnson
1994
Meryl Tankard
John Williamson
Michael Nyman
1995
Douglas McNicol
Cate Blanchett
Slava Grigoryan
1996
Patrick White
Rhonda Burchmore
Philippe Genty
1997
Richard Bonynge
Deborah Mailman
Wesley Enoch
1998
Graeme Koehne
Brian Gilbertson
Lenny Henry
1999
Benedict Andrews
Billy Connolly
Troy Cassar-Daley
2000
Jane Peters
Chrissy Amphlett
Bryn Terfel
2001
Andrew Bovell
David Campbell
Bert Newton
2002
Lucinda Dunn
James Morrison
Jimmy Little
2003
Nicholas Braithwaite
Clive James
Graeme Murphy
2004
Arvo Volmer
Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell
Elizabeth Campbell
2005
Ruby Hunter
Tim Minchin
Joe Cocker
2006
Kasey Chambers
Paul Kelly
Mandy Patinkin
2007
Johanna Allen
Guy Sebastian
Burt Bacharach
2008
Beccy Colex
The Umbilical Brothers
Raymond Crowe
2009
Jimmy Barnes
Kate Ceberano
Pinchas Zukerman
2010
Hugh Sheridan
Niki Vasilakis
The Angels
2011
Natsuko Yoshimoto
Glenn Shorrock
Paco Peña
2012
Geoff Cobham
Tina Arena
Tan Dun
2013
Leigh Warren
Rachael Leahcar
Carole King
2014
Garry Stewart
Nick Cave
Pepe Romero
2015
Greta Bradman
Adam Hills
Jacqy Phillips
2016
Dami Im
Hugh Colman
Billy Crystal
 

 

 

 

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