Following a well-known musical career as the lead singer in his band, the Whitlams, Tim Freedman took to the Hayes Theatre Co. stage last night to bring his acclaimed theatrical show to Sydney audiences.
Following various engagements around the country, Everybody’s Talkin’ 'bout Me is a cabaret that explores the catalogue and life of Harry Nilsson, a hard-living American singer-songwriter who achieved commercial success in America, but never performed his songs in large concerts or to sold out tours. After fantastic audience responses at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and limited engagements around Australia, Mr. Freedman has re-written the piece, taking the opportunity to further explore the music that made Harry Nilsson.
“(My cabaret) was the concert that Harry never gave. Originally the form of the show was a song followed by a chat, bookended by (Harry’s) big hits… The concept for this show has Harry in his house after midnight and so is a lot looser form. I knew there was more to the story than presenting in concert mode, so to bring him into his home makes it more poignant. It’s a different setting, a different energy entirely, giving interlopers in the audience a glimpse into Harry’s career.”
Above: Tim Freedman in costume as Harry Nilsson. (x)
When asked why he chose to pursue this particular subject and why he keeps coming back to Harry Nilsson, Mr. Freedman admits that he feels there is a lot more depth to the man that he has so far explored.
“I haven’t gotten to the bottom of him yet, I’m adding extra layers to my performance all the time.” After a thoughtful pause, Mr. Freedman tells Theatre People, “I’m really looking at this show as a slow development, I’m hoping it stands alone as an excellent theatre piece. I’m working with really strong material, but the material is not always obvious.”
Having sung with The Whitlams in front of large audiences for many years, Mr. Freedman commented that the time seemed right to delve into a more dramatic form of performance. While he is comfortable with his achievements, Mr. Freedman treats this experience as a way to “slip from his own skin”, and inhabit a character different from his own.
“I’ve always enjoyed going to the theatre and I always knew I wanted to do something to be involved, and now is the time. I haven’t acted for thirty years, so it’s a challenge… I love Harry’s songs and tumultuous story – it’s a fine challenge to do him justice.”
In addition to his love of performing Harry Nilsson’s music, Mr. Freedman is also looking forward to putting the updated version of the show in front of an audience. After previously working with the Hayes, Mr. Freeman is excited to be using their space to present his show and hopes the feedback for this version matches the positive comments of those that have come before.
“The audience responses to the show have been very heartening. Within the new version of the show there are 15 great songs that have receded in people’s memories, and it’s great to know that people still enjoy them. (Harry) was a very funny bugger so it is always a joy to see strong songs and a good story, and how the audiences respond.
“The Hayes Theatre venue has the audience in your face, and there is a good energy in the room. I have seen six of their marvellous shows and was astounded by their quality. I’ve been re-working and experimenting with this show pretty solidly for a month, it’s my baby and I’m looking forward to putting it on stage.”
Everybody's Talkin' 'bout Me will play at the Hayes theatre until Sunday the 19th of April. Ticketing information can be found at this link.