A talk with Henry and Banjo

It's Henry to the Max: Max Cullen (left) as Henry Lawson and Warren Fahey as Banjo Paterson in Dead Men Talking. Picture: Phil Blatch

It's Henry to the Max: Max Cullen (left) as Henry Lawson and Warren Fahey as Banjo Paterson in Dead Men Talking. Picture: Phil Blatch

The voices of legendary Australian bush poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson will soon be heard again in the shire.

To celebrate Henry Lawson’s 150th birthday and highlight his connection with the shire, a special performance of Dead Men Talking will be performed at Sutherland Memorial School of Arts Theatre on July 8.

While the major Lawson celebrations were held at his birthplace at Grenfell and Gulgong in central west NSW, Sutherland Shire also has connection with Lawson who used to stay on and off in a fisherman’s shack on the shores of the Woronora River at Como around 1900.

Dead  Men Talking is a 90-minute stage musical devised by Australian actor Max Cullen and scripted by Max Cullen and Warren Fahey.

The lively one act show finds legendary literary figures Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson having a casual drink at the Leviticus Bar and Grill, Heaven’s Gate, and yarning about their legacies.

Slightly cantankerous, yet grateful of their old friendship, Henry Lawson (Max Cullen) and A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson (Warren Fahey) discuss each other’s lives, recite poems, sing songs and generally banter - and have a laugh about life’s changing circumstance.

The Sutherland show, celebrating Lawson’s birth in 1867, will in fact be two shows with Dead Men Talking being preceded by a special local performance of the classic 1953 Dick Diamond musical Reedy River.

Max Cullen is a celebrated Australian actor for stage and screen. He is best known for roles in Skippy, The Flying Doctors, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, My Brilliant Career and The Great Gatsby.

Warren Fahey has been collecting and performing Australian bush traditions for more than 50 years.

He is a regular on ABC radio and television and is the author of 30 books, including the centenary edition of A.B. Paterson’s Old Bush Songs (ABC Books 2005).

He was founder of the pioneer and feisty independent Larrikin Record label he was Australian Music Person of the Year (2000).

He has been honoured with the Order of Australia, Prime Minister’s Centenary Medal, and the Bush Laureate Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dead Men Talking is hosted by the Rotary Club of Como Jannali in-conjunction with the Henry Lawson Society.

Proceeds from this event will go towards local and international humanitarian and community programs.

Details: Saturday, July 8 at 2pm at Sutherland Memorial School of Arts Theatre, East Parade Sutherland. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online at www.comojannalirotary.org.

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