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Adelaide to premiere new Australian musical -

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Reporter: Nance Haxton

ELEANOR HALL: To Adelaide now where the State Theatre Company of South Australia is staging the
world premiere of a new Australian musical. It is called 'Metro Street' and Nance Haxton went along
to a preview.

(Musical excerpt from 'Metro Street')

NANCE HAXTON: World premieres of distinctly Australian musicals are not a common occurrence, and
the road to popular success is littered with many shows that tanked at the box office. But that
hasn't daunted Matthew Robinson, the creator of the new show 'Metro Street'.

MATTHEW ROBINSON: I grew up listening to a few things at once. I was very radio oriented. I watched
'Video Hits' religiously and at same time I was listening to 'Le Mis' and 'Phantom' and those sorts
of things. So the melodies they should feel familiar. They should feel very at home with you just
like the characters and the people that we're presenting.

(Musical excerpt from 'Metro Street')

NANCE HAXTON: Matthew Robinson is thrilled that the South Australian Theatre Company is taking a
risk on a new work such as 'Metro Street' from a relatively unknown writer. He's hoping to break
the trend of Australian musicals which have failed to fire on stage.

Some might even describe it as a bit of a curse trying to come up with this definitive Australian

MATTHEW ROBINSON: I'm not interested in coming up with the great Australian musical just like I
hope Americans aren't necessarily, want the great American musical. I think we just write what
means something to us and what we believe will mean something to other people.

NANCE HAXTON: 'Metro Street' won the Pratt Prize for best new theatrical composition in 2004 and it
defies the trend that has sunk some expensive Australian musical debuts. It doesn't trawl
Australian history for its subject matter.

Instead, Matthew Robinson has written a melting pot of comedy and drama straight from the suburbs -
and set it to contemporary music.

(Musical excerpt from 'Metro Street')

MATTHEW ROBINSON: What I want most of all is people to come along and think to themselves, oh my
lord, that is me, that is my mum, that is my boyfriend, that is my girlfriend, they are my

NANCE HAXTON: So that is a bit of a perhaps a different approach to many of the musicals that we
have seen, particularly in recent years. People have tried to make this Australian musical work.

MATTHEW ROBINSON: Something that I wanted to do with this one is not so much look at Australiana
necessarily but look at what is inherently Australian in our modes of speech, in our humour, in our

(Musical excerpt from 'Metro Street')

NANCE HAXTON: Metro Street is in final rehearsals before its big debut. The show's attracted
well-known musical theatre doyenne Nancye Hayes and Debra Byrne to the cast.

(Excerpt from 'Metro Street')

NANCE HAXTON: Debra Byrne plays Sue, who is dealing with the breakdown of her marriage and a recent
diagnosis of breast cancer.

(Musical excerpt from 'Metro Street')

NANCE HAXTON: Verity Hunt-Ballard has come from the Melbourne production of 'Rocky Horror Picture
Show' to star in 'Metro Street' as the character Kerry. She says she's excited to be taking part in
a musical with a distinctly Australian voice.

VERITY HUNT-BALLARD: Whereas when you are in a commercial piece coming from the West End or from
Broadway, often you are stepping into a role that has been played 75 times or more overseas but
this is, you very much own it.

NANCE HAXTON: The show's creator Matthew Robinson is now holding his breath to see how 'Metro
Street' fares in Adelaide, as that will be the deciding factor as to whether it then tours other
Australian cities. He hopes that by telling everyday Australians' stories, 'Metro Street' will
reach a wider audience.

MATTHEW ROBINSON: One of the things it does well is reflect what we are currently going through and
musicals are no exception to that. They just happen to have that, you know, obvious musical element
which cuts right to the core of what it is to be alive.

ELEANOR HALL: Mathew Robinson, the creator of 'Metro Street' speaking to Nance Haxton.