Entertainment Hive 2017

Musical ode to Henry Lawson

By Honey B

Henry Lawson’s poetry is brought to life in an inspiring musical odyssey thanks to John Thorne. Even fellow performer Emily Taheny cannot believe how Thorne’s music has given the much-loved poems new life. “John really gives Lawson’s poems context as well as creating something that is just so beautiful and vivid,’’ Taheny enthuses. “And John knows so much about Henry Lawson – a lot more than I do – because he’s been on this special pilgrimage that happens once a year. “I believe it goes through parts of New South Wales and maybe Victoria and he’s done this and has come to understand a lot more about Lawson and his poems. “He has really done all of the research for the audience members and people might even go off and discover more about Lawson and his poetry themselves.’’ Taheny says she loves what she has learnt about the poet through this special show. “I love Lawson’s personal story and it’s very interesting – he was quite sensitive and he was very political and he was actually quite an activist through his poetry. “He was incredibly unique for his time and his songs weren’t just about the bush, they were about urban dwellers as well. “There was a real sadness to him that I really love and that John has drawn on to create the music for the poetry. It really does give the poetry new life. “I am really drawn to the sadness in the songs and some are quite haunting.’’ Taheny says the poems are not performed in chronological order and that a broad range of Lawson’s poetry shines in the show. “I do like that the poems aren’t in chronological order and people will really hear Lawson’s words in a new light. “We performed this show at the Port Fairy Folk Festival and a lot of people came up to us and said they didn’t realise this or that was a Lawson poem. It was quite interesting.’’ Taheny, who is from a big South Aussie Warooka family, laughs and admits many of her relatives will be coming to the show. “At Mother’s Day there was a lot of talk about who had and hadn’t bought their tickets so my family will definitely be there. “It’s just going to be so wonderful to perform in Adelaide especially with Barry Humphries as artistic director of the Cabaret Festival and I think Barry would like a bit of Henry Lawson!’’ Taheny can also be seen in new comedy sketch show Open Slaughter on Foxtel. Looking for Lawson featuring John Thorne, Emily Taheny and Lindsay Field, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Space Theatre, June 12-13. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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