Doug Anthony All Stars Are Back In Adelaide

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unnamedThis week, Her Majesty’s Theatre will host the legendary Doug Anthony All Stars.

Famous for their rebellious, risqué, musical comedy, the trio, which includes Paul Livingstone (A.K.A Flacco) in place of Richard Fidler have promised to deliver much of the same hilarity.

From The Big Gig fame in the 80s to DAAS Kapital in the 90s, Tim Ferguson, Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler have attracted a huge following in Australia and around the world.

In the mid 90s, the three disbanded and went on to have successful careers of their own; Fidler in radio and McDermott and Ferguson in television (Ferguson also in publishing).

But Ferguson said the launch of the DAAS Kapital DVD last year sparked the desire to reform the group.

“We launched the DVD at last year’s Comedy Festival. It was a great gig and it was fun being on stage together again so afterwards we had a chat and Richard said he couldn’t come on tour because he has a nationally syndicated radio program or something,” he laughed.

“So Paul suggested Livingstone. He’s a gifted guitarist, a wonderful singer and a beautiful man. We felt we have unfinished business with our audience around the world and we always loved working together so it seemed silly not to.”

And the show, despite replacing Fidler for Flacco, will continue on as the trio left off in their hey day: with rude, raucous, musical comedy.

“There’s no hiding the fact that the Doug Anthony All Stars are old men now,” Ferguson said. “We went past grumpy about a decade ago. And we are now walking on stage with a cold, abiding fury. We are angrier and ruder and empirically more offensive than we have ever been.”

Which is precisely the reason both Adelaide shows have almost sold out. The All Stars are, and always have been, a force to be reckoned with.

“Our dream,” Ferguson said, “is people will leave a Doug Anthony All Stars show like they will leave the film, Snowtown. But it’s more terrifying for us because we have no map and all we have to rely on is having over one hundred years combined live comedy experience.”

DAAS Live will showcase songs the group have written together, but Ferguson, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1995, said the rest of the performance is completely unpredictable.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. We will walk on stage and Paul McDermott is going to strut about and pick a fight with someone – usually the biggest man in the room – and I’m going to have to come to his defence! And then Paul Livingstone, when everything is settled will just say something weird that doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“Now, that might be because I am on some of the best legal drugs that the PBS can buy, but Paul ‘Flacco’ Livingstone is a once in a universe mind. Of course I’ve got my own issues of being so off my face on pharmaceuticals that I will just start talking and find out what the joke is by the time I’m finished!”

Medicated, motivated and enjoying performing, Ferguson doesn’t let his MS rule him or stop him touring, despite his being in a wheelchair.

“I don’t care. It’s worth it. There are people out there who spend time sucking on berries and praying to God for a cure and counting every glass of water they drink and checking their watch to make sure they’re eating their pills at regular intervals,” he said.

“I live my life, I take my pills generally when I’m supposed to, I work like a dog and I figure that’s enough for me. Luckily I only have Multiple Sclerosis, so I could work from a hospital bed. If everything goes, I can still talk and use voice recognition technology to write stuff; so I don’t think MS deserves a lot of my attention.”

DAAS are playing Her Majesty’s Theatre tonight and tomorrow, which have almost sold out, but we haven’t seen the last of them

“The band is back together,” Ferguson said. “This isn’t a cynical, money grabbing victory lap. We’re writing a new show for next year and we’ll be taking that to UK and Canada, The States and Europe. It’s with a very definite agenda we have reformed. We don’t just want to go around and sing a bunch of old songs like musicians. This is a great vehicle for us to exorcise our new demons.”

Look out for those demons coming to a theatre near you.

Interviewed by Libby Parker

 

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