Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen

Helpmann award winner Michael Griffiths and acclaimed cabaret darling Amelia Ryan celebrate the songbooks of Aussie icons Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen for one night only. Backed by a three piece band featuring Adelaide’s finest musicians, revisit all of their sing-a-long classics from Rio to Tenterfield, all the way to Xanadu and beyond.

Presented by Michael Griffiths
Reviewed 26th February 2018

After meeting on Channel 9’s hit musical variety show Bandstand, Peter Allen and Olivia Newton-John individually went on to become two of Australia’s greatest musical icons. For one night only during the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the pair descended down the ornate spiral staircase of the Fortuna Spiegeltent to a full house.

Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan are cabaret naturals. Donning a floral shirt and shaking red maraccas, Griffiths’ flamboyant charm and powerhouse vocals embodied Allen in every respect. Equally as impressive was Ryan, with her magnificent voice and a profusion of costumes from leather hot-pants to 80’s gym-wear.

For just over sixty minutes, audiences were treated to hits including Allen’s Not The Boy Next Door and Best That You Can Do, and Newton-John’s If You Love Me, Let Me Know and Suddenly. Particular mention must be made to Griffiths’ stunning rendition of Tenterfield Saddler and Ryan’s hysterical take on Physical, which had an audience member up on stage joining in with the comical choreography. The pair then came together for Summer Nights and You’re The One That I Want, with audience singalong encouraged, before bringing the house down with their biggest hits, Xanadau and I Go To Rio.

Telling, touching behind-the-scenes stories of some of the most popular tunes, with light humour and youthful energy, demonstrating their genuine passion for these artists. This short Adelaide season was backed, for the first time, by a brilliant three-piece band, with Griffiths himself playing the keys for most numbers.

Griffiths and Ryan have proven, as they do time and time again, that they were born for the stage.  Music is a celebration of life, and Livvy and Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen is just that.

Reviewed by Ben Francis
Rating out of 5: 5

Venue: Fortuna Spiegeltent @ The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Season:  Closed
Duration:  60 minutes

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