May 28 – 31 2014
Hannah Montana is dead.
The postmortem is inconclusive. Natural causes? Or hot-mess murder gone platinum?
Childhood friend Miley returns home to Nashville for the wake. Forget the funeral, it’s the party she’s come for.
In this open letter to you – her pouters and doubters – Miley takes a sledge hammer to Disney dreams, teen idols and tabloid fantasies.
This is one eulogy you’ll kill to see.
Wrecking Ball hails from the creators of the critically acclaimed Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele and is the ultimate coming of age party, starring Naomi Price.
We saw Wrecking Ball at Brisbane Powerhouse in May. This is the new show from brazen creative team, Adam Brunes and Naomi Price; the perfect precursor that night to Rhonda Burchmore’s Vinyl Viagra.
Wrecking Ball came at us hard and fast…gently, and left me feeling like I knew Miley – and Naomi – a little better.
Look, I’m no Smiler but I’m a big fan of our super talented friends, so when Adam Brunes and Naomi Price told us after the final Adele show last year that the subject of their next creative process was to be Miley Cyrus I tried to be optimistic. In truth, I was skeptical, and more than a little scared for them. Miley? Really? Was Brisbane ready to twerk? Was there even an hour’s worth of material to Miley’s story? Well of course there was, and there’s more – much more – to this show than the token twerk. It’s quite an unexpected result.
In the hands of less intelligent, less compassionate creatives we might suffer through a cheap, crass parody. Instead, we’re treated to deeper insight into the imagined world of Miley, and what we can only imagine might be a very real part of Price’s world.
Wrecking Ball somehow avoids delivering an over simplified slut and strut success story, opting instead for a sensitive exploration of what makes Miley tick. And twerk. A rather unorthodox premise establishes that Hannah Montana is dead and we’re all in attendance at her wake in a barn with a band dressed in denim and cowboy boots. Brilliant! And we love the band! (Mik Easterman, Andrew Johnson, Michael Manikus, Jason McGregor and Rachel Everett-Jones. In Rachel’s absence this weekend, Georgie Prestipino will be appearing).
But what actually is it about Naomi Price? Her voice is perfection, her booty is hot, and her allure is electric to say the least, letting us in on a whole new level of energy and sophistication, regardless of the role. And she’s a master of mimicry without losing anything of herself. I’m not sure how she does it. And I don’t think it can be taught. However, what Price offers is a masterclass in what I’ve been hashtagging #neocabaret. No, it’s not the dark, gypsy, gothic Diabolical Streaks style (it doesn’t need to be); it’s a brand new and bold cabaret, which sets its own ground rules and then sets out to break them.
So many moments are suggestive of this intuitive new approach to “cabaret”, its traditional shape, form and feeling, but let’s use just one. Achy Breaky Heart, rather than being the pinnacle comical moment, is presented as the moment of Miley’s father’s heartbreak. We know the opening to the song and I feel the full house collectively cringe, but we feel compassion rather than pity, and we’re struck with sympathy rather than hilarity. It’s a magical moment, a mood changer, and Brunes and Price do it every time. (In Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele it was most noticeable in Daydreamer).
This show is an unusual expression of celebrity, challenging us to accept and forgive the quirks rather than judging and condemning them.
Wrecking Ball will return, it will tour, and already, in its debut, this show has reinforced Naomi Price’s place at the top of the Australian cabaret tree. At the same time, we’ve found new respect for Miley Cyrus along the way. Hannah Montana not so much.
For one night only, catch Naomi Price as Miley Cyrus inWrecking Ball at The Basement, The Arts Centre Gold Coast 8pm TONIGHT!