Summer Of 69
Presented by Davine Productions
A celebration of Sixties America and the songs that defined a generation.
David Gauci and his Davine Productions ensemble will present a cabaret event inspired by the sights
and sounds of the psychedelic Sixties; performed by ten cast members from the acclaimed sold-out Adelaide
Fringe ’20 production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.
With songs by The Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, Sonny & Cher, Simon and Garfunkel and also
from musicals inspired by the era of peace, free love and happiness. David says, “It’s sure to bring back some
memories… although as they say, ‘If you remember the 60’s chances are you weren’t there!’ “
David is thrilled to be presenting the this cast of talented performers. He said, “I’m sure that anyone who
saw Beautiful will be excited to see its stars again, singing more of the great classics of the Sixties.”
Included in the cast is Jemma McCulloch who wowed audiences and critics with her amazing
performance as Carole King.
Directed by David Gauci, Musical Direction by Peter Johns, choreography by Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti.
David Gauci, producer/director, has brought a string of Australian or South Australian premiere shows to
Adelaide over the past 10 years, including Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Flower Children, Xanadu, It’s
Only Life, Violet, The Light in the Piazza, The Story of My Life and Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court.
All shows have won or been nominated for awards.
It’s depressing to think that this show’s season is now finished. It should have enjoyed a much longer run, and the people of Adelaide deserve a fun night out like this right now.Before I gush about how great this show was, a little housekeeping…Firstly, our hosts for the evening knew their lines, which is why it was so distracting and frustrating to watch their eyes constantly revert to the script. There were the obligatory audio mishaps, Covid jokes, and occasional bum note, but that’s about all I could find fault with. Now to the gushing…This show was FUN! We had such a good time. I forgot I was there to review, and instead found myself clapping and singing along with the rest of the audience.
The selection of songs was well thought out and executed, and the band were tight, precise, and way cool.But, the voices… Holy moly! What a great collection of voices David Gauci has assembled here. Their solos were lovely to listen to with no belting or straining, and the harmonies were perfect without anyone trying to outdo their fellow cast members. It feels unfair to single out any particular member of the cast, as they were all so impressive, but it must be said that Josh Kerr’s and Trevor Anderson’s rendition of ‘Sounds of Silence’ was captivating and moving. The set was simple but effective, as was the choreography. The writing is nothing too technical, which is why it worked so well. I’ve mentioned how ‘fun’ this show was, and the writing is a strategic part of this feel.I want to see this show again. If it comes back, I’m making a group booking.
The cabaret layout, the talented cast, and the entertaining show, all combine to make this a great night out for a group of friends who just want a good time without too much mental effort.
The Theatre Guide
‘If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s their problem. Love and peace are eternal.’ John Lennon. Never a truer word was said. I spent my latter years of primary school and early years of high school living in the 60s and so Davine’s latest show Summer of ’69 was a must to see!
Davine Productions, headed by the visionary David Gauci, is well known for smaller cast musical theatre done superbly and this show is no exception.
Devised and written by Gauci himself along with Musical Director Peter Johns, this production is a salute to the 60s; its music, events and the momentous changes that rocked the world during this decade.
Summer of 69 transforms Star Theatre One’s cosy, Covid-safe auditorium into a 60s’ lounge room, complete with lava lamps, a drinks trolley, and a side screen to punctuate the commentary and songs with screen clips from the period.
Gauci’s staging is simple, but highly effective, highlighting the performers’ talent and bringing the show closer to the audience. Act 1 details the history of music throughout the decade and Act 2 highlights the 60s artists we have grown to know and love.
Peter Johns’ band is one of the tightest I have heard and perfectly matches the vocals while giving us that evocative 60s sound. It is comprised of Peter Johns, Dylan Rufus, Joe Mueller, Max Ziliotto and Daniel Burgess.
Our journey thorough the 60s is compered by Kate Anolak and Brendan Cooney, both well known in amateur theatre circles for their ad lib skills and vocals. Their interplay with the audience is spot on, not to mention their ever-changing costumes. Their comedy rendition of ‘Something Stupid’ is a highlight.
Every member of the ensemble has their chance to shine. Jemma McCullough channels Carole King belting out ‘I Feel the Earth Move’. Trevor Anderson teams perfectly with Jemma in the Bobby Vee standard ‘Take Good Care of my Baby’. Maya Miller embodies the spirit of the musical Hair singing ‘Easy to be Hard’. Joshua Kerr gives us a cheeky Sonny Bono singing ‘I Got You Babe’. Carly Meakin oozes flower power in ‘Aquarius’. Jordon Coulter gives us Bob Dylan, guitar and all, singing ‘The Times, they are a Changing’. Anthony Vawser belts out the Scott McKenzie hit ‘San Francisco’ and Eloise Quinn-Valentine embodies Aretha Franklin singing ‘I Say a Little Prayer’.
The buzz among the audience reflected David Gauci’s introduction, welcoming us back to theatre after an extended period of being ‘locked down’ and locked out.
Summer of ’69 is a joyous return to when life was less restricting and more joyous – and best of all, you don’t have to have lived in the 60s to appreciate it! Thank you, Davine Productions.
In the first half of the show, Gauci chronologically chronicles the main news events and hits of each year in the decade. The use of television clips is helpful, but the employment of tag team narrators is less successful. Reading from scripts and pretending not to is as awkward as the dual MCs that occasionally mar the Academy Awards. Gauci’s pop histories – perhaps rehashed from late night SBS documentaries – forestalls what people really came to enjoy – THE MUSIC. However, my American companion loved it – “I had a combi!”, “I went to San Francisco!”, “I was at Woodstock”, “I was at the Kennedy assassination!” (Just kidding about that last one.)
Musical director Peter Johns and The Hip Beats accompany a bongful of vocal talent in flawlessly rendered hits that carry you off to some associated past be it pleasant or poignant. Carly Meakin’s rendering of Aquarius is soaring and Joshua Kerr’s and Trevor Anderson’s Sounds of Silence is particularly evocative. Jordan Coulter improves on Dylan with his The Times They Are a-Changin’.
Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti’s choreography is unchallenging and the singers’s costumes lack ‘60s authenticity – more like a dress-up party. Space for backstage and front-of-house credit in the program is used up instead by the major sponsor. Seating around tables and an open bar exude the warm and welcoming social atmosphere that we missed in the truncated 2020 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
The second half of the show is a delectable selection of what else you would want to hear. The Four Seasons’s Walk Like A Man is delightfully dispatched by women in pink suits. Maya Miller and Joshua Kerr correctly capture the playful rapport of Sony & Cher in I Got You Babe. Bravo! And still, Gauci left the best for last. Jemma McCullough reprises her role as Carole King from Beautiful… with powerfully performed interpretations of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and I Feel The Earth Move. Bravo!
After the encore and final round of applause, your table thanks Gauci for bringing back his Beautiful…singers and musicians for a much-needed night of sublime music and memory.
Everything about this show was amazing.
For someone who was born in the ’60s, although too young to have participated, I was still raised listening to the music of the era and every song chosen gave us a snapshot of the sensational 60’s redolent of vast world encompassing change and documented by the iconic music of the era. A point in history when the beginnings of global human awareness started to explode.
This Cabaret Style performance gave a deceptively simple, unadorned format which delivered an evening of pure nostalgia. Heaven on a plate for all Baby Boomers. I must admit, that when 1965 flashed on the screen my inside voice gave a resounding Woo Hoo.
Musical direction by Peter Johns delivered an entirely appropriate sound made even more pertinent by the mellow tones of Woodwind and Saxophonist Daniel Burgess, Guitarist Dylan Rufus, Bass Joe Mueller and Drums Max Ziliotto.
The zestful performance of each of the cast was palpable and communicated instantly to an adoring audience. A most evenly talented ensemble. The audience were right there on stage with the ensemble pretty much from the word Go!
The in your face, body and soul girls chorus line rendition of “Walk Like A Man” (Gemma, Carl, Maya and Eloise) was a knockout start to the second part of the show. “I Feel The Earth Move” closed out the show and it certainly did for every delighted member of the audience. I know that the idea of theatre is to leave the audience wanting more, but seriously we really did want more!!!
TASA raises our glass to a certain sponsor’s excellent wine and toast yet another Gauci triumph.
Performances continue until Saturday and there are limited seats available. Do not miss this production.