Theatre review: Eddie Perfect, Introspection, QPAC

An all-rounder entertainer performs with charm and passion.

A singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian, veteran of cabaret-styled entertainment and actor, Eddie Perfect is a big character with industrial strength charisma. His show rolled out with buckets of charm and spontaneity.

There was plenty of humour, a faint ring of melancholy and some visceral anger too. Introspection had a confessional spirit, a similar vibe to a friend oversharing, and if passion and self-disclosure are out of fashion, Perfect is championing its return. 

Well known for his TV character Mick Holland in Channel Ten’s Offspring, as a presenter on ABC’s Playschool and as an actor-cum-singer in Keating! The musical, Perfect has worked on Broadway’s Strictly Ballroom The MusicalVivid White, Beetlejuice and King Kong Alive. He’s the ultimate, self-deprecating performer, in a similar vein to Tim Minchin, with a raft of bittersweet ditties and lampooning lyrics and feelgood, punchy arrangements for piano, violin and cello. 

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Who else but Perfect would begin a show with an anthem about putting out the rubbish bins? My partner, who has assumed that role, purred with satisfaction – at last, someone understands. It’s a never-mind-the-tune, just wallow in the words kind of number.

Fearlessly driving QPAC’s Steinway grand while spinning anecdotes, Perfect shared his successes, as well as some gut-wrenching setbacks, bad luck and the thrilling highs and wounding lows of his stay in Manhattan, USA. (He revealed Beetlejuice, which received tepid reviews on opening night, received eight Tony nominations, including Best Original Score, Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical and Best Book.) 

In between songs, Perfect was chatty, which can be tedious, but it wasn’t in his case because he can make any subject flame and can put a comic spin on anything; the plight of fledgling starlings on New York’s streets, his own despair while serenaded by rowdy finches in Central Park and the vagaries of assembling a trampoline in the dark, which is to be gifted to his children on Christmas Day. He relayed the tedium of Melbourne’s lockdowns in response to the pandemic and the numbing frustration of cancelled performances. This very show for instance, was cancelled several times. 

His teasing observational eye was revealed in the irony of ‘Rescue Dog’ and he pounced on the crowd in his burning, savage, ‘Death to the Critic’ in which the piano yelled, the accompanying fiddle screamed and the cellist bowed a jagged edge. 

The witty anthem he wrote to encourage Britons to holiday in Australia (that was canned because its release coincided with the country’s catastrophic bushfires), was one of the show’s most entertaining deliveries. There were several easy-on-the-ear reflections on death in the playlist, including the mega-popular ‘Dead Mom’ and ‘Death Isn’t Great.’ 

Introspection was an entertaining, endearing and funny show.

Eddie Perfect, Introspection, Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre

Eddie Perfect performed for one night on 21 December 2021

Gillian Wills is an author and arts writer who has published with ArtsHub, Australian Stage Online, Limelight, Griffith Review, Australian Book Review, The Australian, Weekend Review, Good Reading, The Strad (UK) Cut Common, Loudmouth and Artist Profile. Her short stories have been published with Dillydoun Review, Antonym, Dewdrop, Unbelievable Stories and Hare’s Paw Literary Journal. Her memoir, Elvis and Me: how a world-weary musician and a broken racehorse rescued each other, Finch Pty was released in 2016 in Australia, America, Canada, The UK and NZ.