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It's Hard To Top This Zany Pair

It's Hard To Top This Zany Pair

Who: The Topp Twins
Where: Western Suburbs Leagues Club
When: Thursday March 2, 2006

NEW Zealand's much-loved comedy duo The Topp Twins will perform in Newcastle tomorrow night as part of their latest Australian tour.

Sisters Lynda and Jools Topp have earned a place as one of New Zealand's most popular acts.

The Topp Twins have built a successful career which not only incorporates writing and performing country music, but also comedy skits and yodelling.

``The music is the vehicle that gets us through the night,'' Jools Topp said.

``The comedy is the thing that happens along the way.'' Born in 1958, the Topps were raised on a small dairy farm on the North Island of New Zealand.

Their rural upbringing explains their country roots and mastery of yodelling which the twins says started after hearing a neighbour's collection of Shirley Thoms, Judy Holmes and Patsy Montana records.

``The first time Lynda heard a yodel she went into this sort of swoon and became obsessed about learning it,'' Jools Topp said.

``She used to ride to the nearby farm about 30 minutes up the road on horseback, listen to their old wind-up gramophone, jump back on her horse, race home, get out the guitar and desperately try and remember what she had just heard.

``It took her three years to learn to yodel.

``Yodelling is a dying art. Not a lot of people are doing it, but a lot have died in the attempt.'' After 16 years of rural isolation, the twins joined the army and became the Vera Lynns of their battalion. After leaving the army, they headed to Christchurch and began busking, and playing in small cafes.

In their early 20s, with a guitar each and a highly original political repertoire, the Topp Twins moved to Auckland and developed a cult following as buskers.

The Topp Twins came of age as performers in the early '80s and were vocal about political issues such as anti-apartheid, Maori land rights and homosexual law reform.

As out lesbians since 1977, the Topp Twins have remained proud about their sexual identity.

It was a shock at first when they told their parents, but now father Peter, 78, and mother Jean, 73, couldn't be more proud.

``Mum sometimes gets up on stage and you can't bloody well get her off,'' Jools said.

During the '80s, the twins toured extensively across New Zealand, producing sell-out theatre shows based on their life stories, laced with political satire.

The best of the twins' stage shows were filmed for a television special for which they won several awards including 1987 Entertainers of the Year, Best Entertainment Program and Best Original Music.

The Topp Twins series Do Not Adjust Your Twinset is one of country's top rating shows.

Successful tours to Australia, Canada, the US and Britain have met with strong reviews.

``You always get certain things when you come and see a Topp Twins show,'' Jools said.

``You get comedy, music, characters, crowd participation and you've always got a yodel in there somewhere.'' The Topp Twins perform at Wests Leagues Club tomorrow night. Bookings can be made by calling the club on 4935 1200.

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