State of Origin: The Musical! — which sold out three off-Broadway performances last November at The Princess Theatre, Annerley Road — was due to open just about now at the Gardens Theatre at QUT in Brisbane. But, because of Covid-19, all theatres went dark.
My Queensland co-conspirator — comic actor, musician and composer Gerry Connolly, who grew up in Theodore — is still somewhere down south after his sold-out February 2020 show The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney. As Theatre Now reviewer Veronica Hannon wrote, “A lot of the fun for us watching the multi-talented Gerry Connolly perform his spot-on caricature of Elizabeth R is we want to forget it’s not really her.” Another said: “The clever quips land solidly with roars of laughter, sometimes mingled with gasps of disbelief that yes, he does actually go there.” When Gerry returns home to the north and the lights go on again all over Australia, we will embark on conquering the next stage in our State of Origin: The Musical! journey.
In the meantime, Queenslanders are now urged to holiday in their own State. Heeding the call, a patriotic couple from Ipswich went on holidays. They wrote to tell me that in Hervey Bay they went to use the local laundry. “There were books people leave behind for other travellers to read,” Joyce said. “We do the same for others to enjoy. I picked up your book Working for Rupert for my partner. He says ‘it is the only book where I had tears running down my face from laughing… and from crying.'” Joyce added: “We won’t be leaving any of your books behind.”