31 Jul 2013

Helpmann Awards: Job done!

Winners loved it, losers griped in the media. Hundreds of entertainment professionals donated their time, and Live Performance Australia spent a thousand hours making it be.

A lot of awards were presented (41 in total) and the event at Sydney Opera House was as close to a major spectacle as the performance industry can manage. Red carpet and media did the celebrity thing out front. Cocktails and canapé’s rewarded the loyal downstairs. Everyone hit the Western Foyer for an after party at the end.


CX loved the hosting by Eddie Perfect and Christie Whelan Browne. Perfect wrote the gags and Whelan Browne was a brilliant stooge, her blonde head bobbing from side to side with goofy gags.

With the second – more interesting – half televised live on Foxtel Arena, some messing about happened with the on-and-off interval, and Perfect with Whelan Browne endured six dead minutes on stage waiting for the live cross. They hammed accordingly, and from our position the audience were happy. ‘What have you got?’ (Perfect). ‘Nothing at all’ (Whelan Browne). Brilliantly ironic!

The thing is, this night brings together the tribes. It showcases the breadth and talent and diversity of the performing arts and entertainment community of Australia. Opera, chamber music, indy, musicals, funded, dudded, festivals, tours. Dance. Special events,

Until you’ve been part of it, and even if you haven’t, the sense of camaraderie is THICK in the air. Show cast and crews bond and become tight, and you see the reunions on stage as presenters greet the winner. The girls from Legally Blonde were positively jumping in excitement as the show won Best Musical, and Lucy Durak was anointed ‘Best Female in a Musical’.

Several acceptance speeches for Legally Blonde thanked Bytecraft founder Stephen Found, who has had an amazingly successful transformation from lighting nerd to venue operator (Capitol Theatre and Lyric Theatre, Sydney) and theatrical producer entrepreneur.  He appears to have modeled his business on that of the Ambassador Theatre Group in the UK, who own theatres and act as producers.

Chameleon supplied lights, to a design by Matt Cox. JPJ did the sound, designed by Michael Waters, while Big Picture supplied screens. As far as complicated live shows went, from where CX was sitting it was excellent fun.


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