The star-wattage of Cameron Goodall is so bright the audience gasps for air, as he brings to stage the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
By Leeor Adar
The Sound of Falling Stars is a high intensity euphoric gaze into the past, and the falling stars are the men who died too young from living too hard and too fast. Their voices have carried through the decades and into the present (in most cases) in this nostalgic serenade by Goodall and his band of merry men, Enio Pozzebon (on keyboard), and George Butrumlis (on accordion).
Goodall is an explosion of talent; he is harnessed artfully by legend herself, Robyn Archer AO, who has written and directed this utterly fantastic show. Archer who is famed for her intimate shows and soulful sounds, has crafted this portrait of the musicians who died too young. The Sound of Falling Stars contains a litany of music from musicians of the likes of Hank Williams, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley and all the way to Kurt Cobain. It is Goodall’s excellent voice and ability to mimic the essence of these now deceased icons that really captures the audience.
Goodall first enters the stage as none other than the Sex Pistols’ prince of darkness, Sid Vicious, who at 21 found his demise. Goodall manages to capture the voice and mannerisms of Vicious, and rapidly fire away as Mario Lanza and Sam Cooke the next moment. Goodall’s talent as actor and musician is evident, and the audience is completely in the palm of his hand. It takes effort to embody 31 performers, but Goodall does it without ever breaking out of their rhythm in a relentless show of tragedy and soul.
What is so captivating in The Sound of Falling Stars is the glimpse into the troubled lives of the musicians, and the often-tragic way their lives came to a sudden end. The theme of death, bad fortune and self-destruction pervade the stories. And, as emphasised at the close of the show, many lived and learned on the excellence of musicians past, but also followed the methodology of their own downfalls. One cannot help but consider whether an untimely end would surely ride on the coattails of such whirlwind ascent.
I find myself wanting to listen to all of these musicians, some of whom I collected in my early youth and some of whom were new to me as a Gen Y. One particular standout for me, (but entirely based on my own private musical tastes), was Goodall’s soulful performance of Jeff Buckley. Buckley’s high lilt of melancholy and vocal control is what I imagine to be one of the hardest voices to mimic, but Goodall did it with such precision, I felt for a moment that Buckley waded out of his watery grave back to us at the Arts Centre that night.
Despite the gloom, Goodall captured the heart of the audience through one musician and another, leaving us on a delighted high. I expect we all hope to see Goodall in some other incarnation another time, maybe next time as himself.
The Sound of Falling Stars was performed from 28 February – 3 March 2018 at the Arts Centre, Playhouse.