Many thanks to Suzanne Bunker for the following review...
From the moment Tex Perkins stepped on to the stage, the audience was captivated.
With his deep voice, black suit and slicked back hair, you could almost believe it was young Johnny Cash on stage.
The opening number was ‘Walk the Line’, setting the pace for two hours of Johnny Cash classics such as ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’, ‘A Boy Named Sue’, ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, ‘Jackson’, ‘If I were a Carpenter’, ‘Ring of Fire’ and more.
The show is not just Tex singing Johnny Cash songs. It is also a narrative of Johnny’s life, a history lesson for the audience, that is well narrated by Tex and his co star Rachel Tate as June Carter. Shifting from being a story teller to Johnny Cash, Tex tells the story of the man who has inspired him and many other musicians, told with the seriousness it deserves, interspersed with the cheeky Tex humour many of us admire.
The style of the show is simple; a band, a man and his leading lady. No fancy sets or flash light shows. The show relies simply on a narration that flows so naturally that, at times, you could believe that Tex and Rachel are adlibbing, and songs that add to the story of a young man who grew up on a cotton farm, with a loveless father-son relationship to become one of the world’s greatest song writers and singers.
The first half of the show finished with the popular Cash/Carter duet, ‘Jackson’, with Tex inviting us all to go to Jackson for twenty minutes. The second half opened with Rachel Tate narrating the story of Cash’s desire to perform at the high security prison, Folsom. The black back curtain opens to reveal a white wall and light towers, setting the scene for the re-enactment of the opening three songs of the famous concert, starting with ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. Magical.
The second half had some sombre moments when we learn of June’s illness, death and Johnny’s great sense of loss and finally the death of The Man in Black himself. The sombreness soon shifted back to rockin’ with the closing number ‘Ring of Fire’. A song written by Carter for Cash.
The band, Tex and Rachel returned to the stage to perform a medley encore, backed by the perfect rhythmic clapping of the audience. Clapping in tune, clapping in appreciation, not just for the talent of Johnny Cash but for that of Tex Perkins and in appreciation of Tex bringing the music of Johnny Cash alive in this beautiful small theatre.
Review by Suzanne Bunker