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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - Page 37 e urn lbo Me ver N ser IO Ob T C SE 3 Observer Showbiz Every Week in the Melbourne Observer Radio Confidential: Middle men move in ..... Page 38 Veritas: TV, Radio, Theatre latest ..................... Page 39 The Spoiler: Home And Away, Nieghbours ............ Page 39 Jim and Aaron: Movies, DVDs, Top 10 ..................... Page 40 Cheryl Threadgold: Melbourne’s local theatre scene ...... Page 41 PLUS THE LOVATT”S MEGA CROSSWORD VALE JON FINLAYSON Kevin Trask pays tribute All happy talk at ‘South Pacific’ ● Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune Photo: Kevin Trask ■ Every great Hollywood romantic production of the 1950s and 60s was accompanied by press reports - true or false about the ‘sexual chemistry’ of its leading stars. Hollywood came to Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on Saturday with some enchanted evening for the opening night performance of South Pacific, presented by Opera Australia and John Frost. Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune take flawless starring roles in this Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic, based on the ‘Lincoln Center Theater’ production first performed in New York in 2008. Rhodes’s performances are sponsored by Rex Irwin. A Polynesian group greeted first-nighters at the Princess Theatre on Saturday night, reminding us that the Australian premiere was 60 years ago, on September 13, 1952. South Pacific takes place on two islands in the South Pacific during World War II, with one week’s lapse of time in the storyline between the two acts. The orchestra, led by Vanessa Scammell, assisted by Stephen Gray, struck up for the overture, but the house-full audience turned its gaze to Derryn and Chanel Hinch making their late entrance to the stalls. Hinch had been sending out a Twitter message to the world about Lisa McCune’s husband, Tim Disney, holidaying in Hawaii. The orchestra was in fine tune. It comprises Rob John, Edwina Kayser, Karen Columbine, Claire Tyrell, Stephanie Dean (violins); Shani Williams, Coridwen Davies Viola); Leah Hooper, Fiona Furphy (cello); Duncan Allen (bass); Helen Hardy (flute/piccolo); Susan Batten (oboe/coranlais); Doug Leutchford, Jane Robertson (clarinet); Chris Martin (bassoon); Nichole Dixon, Sebastian Dunn, Toby Frost (horn); Shane Gillard, Daniel Beasy, Patrick McMullin (trumpet); Ian Bell, Joe O’Callaghan (trombone); Alex Hurst (tuba); Tim Hook (percussion); and Delyth Stafford (harp). The terrace of Emile De Becque’s plantation house sets the first scene for the first five of the show’s 15 songs. Ensign Nellie Forbush (McCune) and De Becque (Rhodes) delighted the audience with Twin Soliloquies. The second scene, on another part of the island, sees the Seabees sing Bloody Mary, introducing the character played so well by Kate Ceberano, who strikes hot with Bali Hai. Nellie and the nurses beltg out I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair. Cable (Daniel Koek) delights with Younger Than Springtime. After interval, highlights included Happy Talk as the cast act out a performance of The Thanksgiving Follies. A third reprise of Some Echanted Evening precedes a big finale. Mention should be given to Eddie Perfect who plays the funny role of Luther Billis. John O’May, a Melbourne favourite, appears as Captain Brackett. What a cast! Members include John Xintavelonis (Stewpot), Jeremy Stanford (Harbison), Rowan Witt (Professor) and Celina Yuen (Liat) Turn To Page 39 ■ Jon Finlayson one of Australia's actors and performers has passed away. Jon began his show business career in The Australian Boys Choir. At the age of nine he was allowed to see the night time performance at the Tivoli Theatre and finished up onstage with Roy Rene Mo, sitting in a pram, playing a ‘baby’ in a comedy sketch. Jon worked in theatre productions and became a regular on the Channel Seven children's show with Brian Naylor and Madeleine Burke. Jon was one of the original writers for The Mavis Bramston Show in the early 1960s. He produced and directed a popular cabaret act titled The Glitter Sisters. Jon Finlayson was seen internationally in two popular television series. Jon had not enjoyed the best of health in recent years and retired to live a quiet life in the country. He will be sadly missed. - Kevin Trask ● Jon Finlayson ■ Melbourne actor Jon Finlayson died last week at St Vincent’s Hospital, after suffering from prostate cancer. Jon Finlayson has been in show business from the age of eight. He started his professional theatrical life as a boy soprano with the Australian Boys’ Choir and has been actively involved in professional theatre since. He worked as a child radio actor, musical comedy and revue performer, actor, writer for stage, radio and television, director, and producer. Jon Finlayson’s TV credits included Snowy River, Neighbours, The Zoo Family, Homicide, The Last Of The Australians, Division 4, Matlock Police and Cash and Company. His CV also included Hey You, The Long Arm, Ryan, Alvin Purple, Alvin Rides Again, The Great McCarthy, The Sentimental Bloke, Mad Dog Morgan, Sky Ways, Lonely Hearts, Skin Deep, The Magic Show, My First Wife, Evil Angels, Darlings Of The Gods, Boys From The Bush, Newlyweds and The Inner Sanctuary. He also wrote material for the satirical comedy, The Mavis Bramston Show. Actress Carole Raye says the name Mavis Bramston was suggested by Jon, based on a Melbourne theatre tradition. ‘Finno’ was renowned as a ranconteur. His Sunday soirees, when he entertained visiting and local showbiz folk, were legendary. He baked, mixed drinks, carved ham, and staged these events with great flair. In latter years, he lived reclusively in the Hastings area. Jon Finlayson was brother of Bruce, and Rhonda (dec); son of Clorine and Ronald (dec). He was uncle of Alexandra and Zoe. ● Jon Finlayson in a 1960s TV ad for ‘Snack’ ‘Iolanthe’ to open at the Alexander ● Marcus Viskich and Natasha Rodrigues in the Savoy Opera Company's production of Iolanthe, opening on October 6. Photo: Julie Houghton ■ The Savoy Opera Company returns to the Alexander Theatre, Clayton with Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, for a strictly limited season commencing October 6. This classic satire pokes fun at politics - both of the gender and government variety - and is as fresh, funny and relevant today as when it was first unveiled at London's Savoy Theatre. What happens when the laws of Fairyland are broken and mortals must compete with fairies to rule society? Find out and enjoy the humour and topsy turvy logic that have made Iolanthe a favourite with audiences for generations. Savoy Opera's show is directed by Stee Dixon, conducted by Robert Dora, with musical preparation by David Campbell. The talented cast includes promising newcomers Cristina Russo and Nicholas Jensen as Phyllis and Strephon, the star crossed lovers ... and among the vivacious fairy cohorts is the Melbourne Observer's Julie Houghton! Three performances only include Saturday, October 6 at 2pm and 8pm and Saturday, October 13 at 2pm at the Alexander Theatre, Monash University, Clayton. Bookings: 9905 1111 or - Cheryl Threadgold

Melbourne Observer. 120919C. September 19, 2012. Part C. Pages 37-52

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