Arts / Geraldine puts on a turn

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Cabaret and musical theatre star Geraldine Turner… "I tell a lot of funny stories from my career, which audiences seem to enjoy." Photo by Kurt Sneddon
Cabaret and musical theatre star Geraldine Turner… “I tell a lot of funny stories from my career, which audiences seem to enjoy.” Photo by Kurt Sneddon
“I’M an okay raconteur,” cabaret and musical theatre star Geraldine Turner tells “CityNews” in the understatement of the season.

“I tell a lot of funny stories from my career, which audiences seem to enjoy.”

Her show, “Turner’s Turn”, is coming to the Street Theatre soon and the star of everything from “Anything Goes” to “Sweeney Todd” lets us into her most public secrets, sings a song written for her by Tim Minchin and generally raises eyebrows.

“It’s not Turner’s turn because I haven’t had a turn before,” she says. “It’s more Turner doing a turn.”

As well it’s a joke around the famous song “Rose’s Turn” from “Gypsy”, a show for which she’s been engaged often but never appeared. “I talk about that, too,” she says.

Turner is a familiar face at The Street, zipping up and down the Hume Highway from her home in the Southern Highlands, which she shares with her opera conductor husband Brian Castles-Onion.

They’ve both known The Street’s artistic director Caroline Stacey from way back, including during a stint in NZ. Turner has worked with her on “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living In Paris,” and Alana Valentine’s political play “MP”.

As well, she’s been part of The Street’s dramaturgical programs The Hive and First Seen. A kind of theatrical polymath who can play straight theatre, musicals, TV and film, Turner also writes and she is hoping for her own show “Drama Queen” to be staged next year. She’s also written a play for five women and is now deep in a new play.

Canberra audiences will be especially interested in “Turner’s Turn” because Stacey is the director. It’s already been seen interstate, but not by Stacey, who is always too busy to get away from Canberra. But Turner’s here rehearsing for another play, “The Chain Bridge”, and thought: “Now that I’m in Canberra, Caroline can tweak the cabaret show again”.

Years ago at the School of Arts Cafe in Queanbeyan, Turner discovered that the audience absolutely loved her accompanist and musical director Michael Tyack.

“I’ll have to get rid of him,” she used to joke. She didn’t and the good news is he’ll be at The Street to accompany her in a show likely to be the showbiz event of November.

“Turner’s Turn”, The Street Theatre, 4pm, Sunday, November 1, bookings to thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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