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Some observations on the show, The Man from Ironbark

Stage Left reviewed 'Ironbark' when the show visited Melbourne.

"Geoffrey Graham strides on stage and becomes "Banjo" at once. Throughout this fine and energetic show, he slips on other personas - from prissy bank clerk to the young boy McGuinness and even to the weary horses of North Africa at the end of the Great War. He brings emotion, humour and passion to this tale of the man who wrote our 'unofficial anthem', Waltzing Matilda.

Biographical details and historical context are woven around poems and songs, all brought to life with the willing participation of volunteers. Graham works brilliantly with his audience, bringing them in early for assistance with some of the better known ballads and selecting suitable candidates to liven up classics like 'The Man From Ironbark'."
Narelle Harris   
Read the full review

And from one who has watched the progress of this "Banjo" bloke...

    The Man from Ironbark, one of the many famous poems penned by A B "Banjo" Paterson is well known to all but the most reclusive Australian. The Man from Ironbark, the performance, is a spell binding waltz back in time to an era where the simple art of poetry was enjoyed and revered by the length and breadth of society. Come visit or revisit if you are old enough, a truly fascinating place enjoyed by young an old where Mr Paterson comes alive on stage to talk of good and hard times, to see him lapse from his engaging conversation into the inevitable and unforgettable verses that thrilled a nation.

    Take a moment, well, two hours actually, to forget the present and live a recent history of the life and times of Australia through the eyes and words of our "Banjo." In the hands of Geoffrey W Graham that life and those times and the poetry of the "Banjo" come very much to life, intriguing, funny, sad, even eerie. Geoffrey's performance has had unexpected outcomes like the often heard comments, "I came expecting poetry and was thoroughly entertained" and "I was talked into coming and was blown away!."Geoffrey W Graham, with his talent and history, became the perfect combination for this enterprise. He was "born for the role" said Ted Egan, with a country upbringing where his dad recited 'Banjo" at the dinner table. Then his subsequent journey through university to lecturer, only to quit for his real love and an acting degree. With audience interaction, an uncanny empathy with his beloved 'Banjo,' some devilish humour and just a little music, the combination is irresistible and spontaneous standing ovations are not unusual. If you have seen the show, I know you are now nodding your head. If not, you owe it to yourself to find out why there is such "movement at the station" when Banjo, er, Geoffrey comes to town.

    Ralph Graham 2001  

Hear what people have had to say after experiencing the Man from Ironbark.


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