Inspired by the likes of Tommy & Hair, the original early ‘70’s production of Man-Child was the brainchild of Chris Neal, composed following his return to Australia in 1969 after working in Vietnam and is widely regarded as Australia’s first rock musical.
While there were no suede hot pants, fringed jackets or flared pants (at least not at this show), the musicians playing homage to the original Man-Child rock musical at this year’s Fringe, really brought the era to life through the music and the National Wine Centre provided the perfect intimate venue, to experience a forgotten rock opus in a “gig on the lounge” setting.
From the moment the preluding music commences, you are transported back to a simpler time on the musical landscape. The male vocalist / guitarist could easily be a young Billy Thorpe just starting out and tempering his voice to the material at hand, perfectly countered by the female vocals, with the rock often giving way to some of the more hypnotic 70’s elements and the other 6 band members were equally brilliant. Guitar, bass & drums, along with the aforementioned vocals of course present for such a show, rounded out by keyboards (handled by Emma Knights, whose vision it was to bring this to the Fringe), trombone and triple threat saxophonist / recorder / flautist.
While the show sadly doesn’t actually provide any of the theatre elements (scripts and scores seem to have been lost to time for Man-Child, along with the bubble theatre from the original production run), it’s worth grabbing a ticket to a show which treats you to a musical glimpse of the past, to what may have been.
Fringe Review By Peter Lanyon
For more info and tickets to Man-Child… The Lost Aussie Musical head to https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/manchild-the-lost-aussie-rock-musical-af2018