Friday, 26 May 2017

Only Heaven Knows

'Only Heaven Knows' is set in the Kings Cross district of Sydney in the 1940s and 1950s. For those not familiar, Kings Cross is a small residential suburb which in those days was seen as a Bohemian district for artistic 'types' and those living 'alternative lifestyles'. It was an area attractive to homosexuals in an era when homosexuality was criminal activity and often brutally suppressed by the authorities. It was also an area that attracted many US Forces personnel spending their short R&R breaks away from World War 2 conflict.

In this play which seems variously a drama, a musical and a comedy, we find several relationships, sexual and platonic played out between four males and a sympathetic lady friend. This staging marks the thirtieth anniversary of the work.

I am completely unfamiliar with the work so came to this production with no preconceptions. Act 1 frankly seems to me to be a muddle. The plot and lack of focus confused me at times and the songs did not appear to advance the storyline. Act 2 was a different matter altogether as though a different author/creator had taken over. The second Act was far tighter and focussed than its predecessor and the songs advanced the plot. The performances seemed to lift too.

(We attended the first performance. Perhaps the production will tighten as the season progresses.)


I like this poster from the 1995 revival of the play and include it here simply because I fancy it.

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