Acrobat Paul O’Keeffe might just be in possession of the hardest working wig in showbiz. For his role as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus (until January 4), O’Keeffee’s powdered, 18th-century-style hairpiece must withstand high-energy handstands and somersaults.
“It’s been made specifically for us, but it’s held on with lots of elastic around my head to make sure it doesn’t go flying. There was a conversation we had with the wig-maker early on, going, ‘These are the things that we’d like to be able to do in it.’ And you could see the reaction of, ‘Um, OK’,” says O’Keeffe, with a laugh.
In Circa’s charming family show, the action begins when a birthday girl (played by Paul’s wife, Kathryn O’Keeffe) has nobody arrive to her party. She puts on a Mozart record, the famous composer appears and the pair go on a slapstick journey together. The ensuing antics include a misbehaving baton, costume changes mid-bicycle ride and even a trick atop a stack of chairs balanced on champagne bottles. Mozart’s music is incorporated into the production with an accordionist performing live as well as a recorded score.
“Mozart, from my reading of him, was a bit of a mischievous and out-there character, which in this show lends itself to a lot of fun and a little cheekiness,” says O’Keeffe. “Looking out into the audience and just seeing the smiles on kids’ faces and adults as well, I think there is something special about this show.”
O’Keeffe suspects Mozart would approve of Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus. “For some audience members, this may be their first-ever theatre show, so introducing them to circus and classical music. I’m pretty sure he’d like that.”
Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus, 11am and 1.30pm, Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, 55 Sherbrooke Street, Rooty Hill, $45/$25, sydneycoliseum.com.au