Under the Influence with John Shortis, Moya Simpson and Michael Simic.
Directed by Tracey Bourne. Featuring the Reprobates – Matt Nightingale on Bass, John Jones on drums and Dave O’Neill on guritar and violin. The Q Theatre. November 3-4 2023
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
I am still smiling and tapping my feet after coming under the influence. That is the Influence of Shortis and Simpson, Michael Simic and The Reprobates in an evening of brilliant cabaret and personal revelations. Under The Influence is an evening of songs that reveal the inspiration behind the music and song of Moya Simpson from Twickenham, John Shortis from Sysney and Michael Simic from Canberra. But as the eveing unfolds we learn that Simpson would go to gigs by the likes of Manfred Mann and the Rolling Stones and discover the joy of harmonizing in Bulgarian songs. Shortis had a light bulb moment when his father taught him about chords. He would save money to buy a piano and play on it in his backyard shed. Well before founding the Black Sea Gentlemen, Simic would be inspired by his father’s love of Westerns and his own fascination with playing the drums. From small things big things grow and this musical trio has carved out careers blasting with talent. Shortis did a primary teaching course at Wollongong University only to throw it all away and find his passion by joining a band. When told that she couldn’t enter a club to see a band because she was wearing Mod trousers Simpson simply took them off and her future was assured. And Simic learnt the power of empathy as he watched his father struggle through a difficult life. And through it all, all three discovered the power of music and song. With the backing of The Reprobates, Simpson, Shortis and Simic take the audience through the songs that inspired them and launched their own particular style of music. Shortis became fascinated by chords and demonstrates the similarity in chord structure in both the Snowy River Roll and Cliff Richard’s Bachelor Boy. Simpson reveals her fascination with the two Barbra Streisand LPs she owned My Barbra 1 and My Barbra 2. Simic creates his own medley of Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen
|Michael Simic is guest artist for Under The Influence
In a show that runs for almost two hours the audience is not only treated to an entertaining evening of music and song from three popular and talented artists but also made privy to the secrets that fuelled their passion and made Shortis and Simpsons the darlings of satirical music and song and Michael Mikey into the the beloved Mickelangelo of the Black Sea Gentleman. Add to this mix the talents of The Reprobates and you have an evening that had the audience completely under their influence.