Lucy Durack and guest performers
Perth Concert Hall
There’s nothing more important for aspiring performers than having an inspiring role model. When Lucy Durack arrived on stage in a sparkling dress singing I Am What I Am from the musical La Cage aux Folles it must have been a dream come true for the young performers sharing the stage with her.

Durack, best known for her role as Glinda in Wicked, paid warm tribute to her hometown as she starred in the Australian Performing Arts Network showcase. The singing, dancing extravaganza featured over 200 young performers from Albany to Kalgoorlie taking up the training opportunity provided by APAN directors Marina Del Basso and Hamish Mcsporran.

High-energy teenage dance routines from Chicago, Capacabana and Footloose were interspersed with tiny tots belting out numbers from Annie and Mary Poppins. Ballads from Les Miserables and Wicked put the spotlight on talented young singers whose excellent diction and beautiful vocal control would rival any professional. Managing 200 child-divas has nightmare potential but stage production was slick with entertaining choreography and impressive costuming.

Durack’s solo sets with a three-piece band gave a platform for her diverse talent. Her star quality package included girl-next-door warmth (“Mum will be furious when she finds out I’ve invited you all to Friday drinks at our house”), sparkling good looks and a versatile voice.

She drew on her music theatre chops for a big, glamorous sound in Don’t Rain on My Parade (Funny Girl) and Popular (Wicked), adding breathy sweetness for Rainbow Connection and Someone to Watch Over Me (Oh, Kay!). Her low notes were rich and her high end – a little brittle in the music theatre numbers – expanded with operatic richness in Time to Say Goodbye.  In duets with Christopher Horsey (ex-Tap Dogs) she stole the show, strapping on tap shoes for Slow Boat to China. With a sold-out cabaret season next week at His Majesty’s Theatre and the lead role in the musical Legally Blonde opening in Sydney in October Durack is blazing a path for future WA talent.

Copyright The West Australian June 2012