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Pot at History

Pot at History

What: The Complete Milennium Musical (abridged)
Where: Civic Theatre
When: Wednesday April 26, 2000

IN the enormously successful television sketch comedy show Fast Forward MICHAEL VEITCH played a catty airline host opposite STEVE VIZARD, a whining office nerd with a puerile sense of humour called Kelvin Cunningham and Sonny Hammond from the vintage Australian children's show SKIPPY. Some of his other characters or rather caricatures have been MOLLY MELDRUM from COUNTDOWN THE MUSICAL and an anally retentive headmaster from the Channel 10 television series DRIVEN CRAZY. It's not surprising then that Veitch prefers to call himself a character actor, despite the fact that he still gets asked to do Kelvin Cunningham's annoying laugh while standing around at parties.

'I feel far more comfortable with that description of me rather than comedian; not that it's embarrassing to be a comedian, it's just that I've never thought I was one,' Veitch says.

In his latest project, as one of the three-person cast of THE COMPLETE MILLENNIUM MUSICAL (ABRIDGED), the character actor's skills will be put to the test.

Along with LINDA NAGLE and BERYNN SCHWERDT, Veitch will perform a 'potted history of the last thousand years' in an all-singing, all-dancing 'college-style revue'.

The production, coming to the Newcastle Civic Theatre from Wednesday, April 26 until Saturday, April 29, is a REDUCED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY production.

The company's last production THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED), starring GLYNN NICHOLAS, was a riot at the Civic last year that brought the house down.

'It has been very favourably compared to the Shakespeare one, being in the same style of course and with three people,' Veitch says.

But this revue, written for an American audience, had to be significantly altered by the Australian cast to cater for our Australian sense of humour.

Veitch, a sometimes journalist, ad man and comic actor attuned to Australian audiences, was well placed to make the required changes. And he doesn't mind telling you so,

'It's a lot funnier now that we've rewritten it,' Veitch said.

'It was very American, very twee, and we basically got into the rehearsal studios, and the beginning of the rehearsal period, and it was like God this isn't very funny".'

The 'American sort of college humour' of the dialogue and sketches between the songs had to be tweaked. A whole new sketch covering the discovery of Australia was also written in.

'It was just a bit soft, you know, because Americans are so touchy on what you can and can't say,' he said.

'We (as Australians) are far more broadminded, less prudent, cruder, I don't know.'

The lyrics of the songs are politically incorrect, using racial stereotypes to send up most nationalities with a good natured dig at the Scots and the Irish, among others.

It begins in the year 1000 during the expansion of the Viking Empire, covering the leading figures during key periods such as Joan of Arc, Oppenheimer and Einstein.

'It's basically a comedy revue with a vague theme as a potted history of the past thousand years, which goes all over the place,' Veitch says.

'It's not a history lesson - God forbid anyone doing Year 11 history should be banned from coming to see us, because it will completely confuse them.'

TE has a five double passes to THE COMPLETE MILLENNIUM MUSICAL to give away.

To go in the draw mail an envelope, with your name, address and telephone number on the back, to COMPLETE MILLENNIUM MUSICAL GIVEAWAY, PO Box 615, Newcastle, 2300.

Or enter on-line at www.nnp.com.au TE

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