The FANZA team is still on a high, humming along to the best of Broadway after its fundraiser performance of Love is Only Love – the funny, perceptive and deeply moving show written by Australian musical theatre star Sam Harrison – at the Other Palace, Victoria.
Fresh from a season at the RSC Stratford, Sam tracks his early boyhood in Sydney through high school in London, with the growing realisation that he was looking for a different kind of love to the one he saw in Hello Dolly, Guys and Dolls and all his favourite shows.
“I wanted to write a positive love story that just happens to be about gay people, where no one’s heart is irretrievably broken, no one dies, and there’s a happy ending,” he says. Well, don’t we all love a happy ending? We certainly loved this one. Sam and his equally talented co-star David Seadon-Young took us on a joyous romp through Sam’s young life – Sam playing himself and David playing the multiple other characters Including Sam’s mother – all to the accompaniment of the best of Rogers and Hammerstein, Alan Jay Lerner, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin.
Enthusiastic guests gathered early for pre-show drinks and snacks in the bar. A kitchen crisis became a major plus when Pizza Pilgrims founder James Elliot clicked fingers and magicked up twenty boxes of London’s most delicious pizza. (Thanks, James mate!!) The post-show Q&A with Sam, David and director Jason Morrell was hosted by FANZA trustee (and Sam’s mother) Lyndel Harrison, and the questions and comments came thick and fast.
This audience knew its Broadway and loved what it had just seen. Like the show, this session was a mix of poignant, touching, uproariously funny but always warm and generous. The reviews are out, and they’re glowing. “Beautifully crafted coming-of-age story filled with humour and a positive message about growing up gay”; “A deeply touching paean of praise to the hidden power of all musical theatre … as elegantly witty as it is touching.”