Home' InDaily : July 9th 2010 Contents July 9 - 15, 2010
The Independent Weekly
While I d generally run
a mile from a book about
a pastor s loss of faith,
Bohjalian has penned a
cracker of a mystery.
When a sleepy New
England town is rocked
by a murder-suicide, the
Reverend Stephen Drew
is deeply affected. The
murder victim is one of
Racked with guilt about
what he could have done
to prevent the tragedy,
Drew takes an unexpected
break from the ministry,
among some of the locals.
An established writer,
Bohjalian crafts this story
through the eyes of four
different characters, each
giving their version of
events. As things unfold,
the plot thickens.
This really is a thought-
Bohjalian s ability to
litter the narrative with
subtle hints and barely
perceptible clues is
testament to his skills as a
The serious issue of
domestic violence is
tackled in a sensitive
manner, perhaps all the
more alarming because
of its clear placement
in the midst of such a
A great read.
-- Peter C. Pugsley
Simon & Schuster, $32.99
Tex Perkins likes playing to a
theatre crowd because "they
shut up and listen to you".
This is in contrast to his experience
of places such as pubs, where
"sometimes people even throw
"At gigs people want stuff from
you and demand stuff from you,"
"They re drunk and noisy and
they re dirty and smelly and they
swear at me and they say mean
things if I play a song wrong.
"In theatres there s a kind of
Perkins has come to the new and
respectful experience of theatre
courtesy of The Man in Black,
a show based on the life of the
hard-living, hard-loving musical
genius Johnny Cash.
Of course, Perkins plays the lead
role -- something the occasionally
un-stately statesman of Australian
rock seems to do quite naturally.
"I ve found that I can inhabit and
use the rules of Johnny s world and
his beautiful voice and actually still
give a performance that is me," he
"I still play around with it in the
natural way I usually do, rather
than being locked in with this
acting idea of becoming a whole
The unconventional theatrical
approach has worked so far. The
Man in Black has played more than
100 times and it is impossible to
find a bad review of it. Critics are
particularly taken with Perkins
ability to replicate Cash s deep and
Co-star Rachael Tidd, Perkins
and band The Tennessee Four will
head to Adelaide to perform the
show for the first time locally on
Despite his earlier complaints,
Perkins admits he still loves the
dirty world of pub gigs. It s possible
he would have ventured into theatre
earlier in his career, except he says
nobody asked him to. "I make a few
things happen in my life, but mostly
people come to me and ask that I do
something and I say sure ."
In The Man in Black, 24 of Johnny
Cash s songs are intermingled with
dialogue between Perkins and Tidd,
who plays his wife, June Carter.
The coupling of scenes and song
unravel to map out a biography of
the legendary songwriter.
"The acting is more improvised,
really," Perkins says. "If we re
doing a song and something real
happens and I have to interact with
the audience, then I ll probably do
that as Johnny.
"But the rest I do as myself,
unless I m quoting him directly."
Each performance of the show is
"They kind of change each time,
I think," Perkins says. "I m not sure
because I really don t remember
anything past the last one.
"It is different each time because
sometimes you do fall into a
version of the show you ve done
before that you know works, but
sometimes we re feeling a little
mischievous or inspired and we
play around with it."
Fans have responded well to the
evolution, with many going to see
the show more than once.
Perkins doesn t seem in
any hurry for the show to end.
Somewhat mysteriously, he
describes embodying the character
of Johnny Cash as like putting on
an old pair of boots.
"My first band when I was 17 in
Brisbane was the Dum Dums. We
used to play a lot of Johnny Cash
songs, so I sort of learnt my craft
and took my first steps on the road
of musical discovery with my boots
cobbled by Johnny Cash.
"The boots are a lot more shiny
and they re a bit bigger now. And I
polish them a lot more, too."
Considering The Man in Black is
usually met with standing ovations,
Perkins portrayal of Cash is
probably more straightforward
than his metaphors.
If he continues to be so success-
ful, it will be a long while before
he has to leave the polite world of
theatre for another round in the
■ The Man in Black plays at Her
Majesty's Theatre from July 22-25.
Solutions from 8
POET'S CORNER Compiled by John Miles
Sixties dance hall.
edge of crowd hovering
scrutinizing herself in detail.
Her hair, her face, her dress.
The age old test
The lads all circle
like piranhas in a fish bowl.
home to mother.
Spinsterhood looks attractive.
2) Winter Sports, Canberra
When mor ning mists that wrap our limpid lake
begin to lift and leave the shores quite free
the tennis players, clad in cap and cloak,
trot out to start a game; but gingerly,
for frosty grass can cause a sudden slip
and murk of muddy gravel may betray
unwary folk who have a metal hip
and hope to play again another day.
At once the air is pinging with hit balls
while leaps and lunges heat the racing blood.
Loud shouted scores, sour jokes, triumphant
begin to stir a sluggish neighbourhood.
Two hours of hit and miss, of raucous fun
subside with tea and scones in the lazy sun.
1) Lynda Becker s collection of reflections on growing
up in the Fulham and Hammersmith areas of London
was published and reviewed last year.
2) Suzanne Edgar, born and raised in South Australia,
lives in Canberra.
Reader unpublished poems to 30 lines can be emailed
with postal address to poetscorner@independentweek-
ly.com.au or posted with an SAE to the Poetry Editor,
Independent Weekly, GPO Box 114 Adelaide 5001. A
poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.
Man in black: Tex Perkins and Rachael Tidd as Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Tex Perkins walks the line
BOOK REVIEW Secrets of Eden, Chris Bohjalian
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