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Arts / Record tragics in a musical spin

Will Huang in the role of Dick, left, with Zach Raffan (as Rob) and, background, Max Gambale (as Barry) in “High Fidelity”.
Will Huang in the role of Dick, left, with Zach Raffan (as Rob) and, background, Max Gambale (as Barry) in “High Fidelity”.
PHEONIX Players’ stage version of the cult movie “High Fidelity” is bringing out the record-tragic in the actors.

The show revolves around record-store owner Rob and his staffers Barry and Dick, “borderline OCD guys” (that’s how directors Nathan Patrech and Sarah Hull describe them) who live their lives entirely through records, playing out their relationships in Top 5 lists as they try to touch base with real life.

For the audience, it’s a chance to touch base with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, The Who and Marvin Gaye, as well as hits of the ‘90s, as the trio argue their way around the hits. Amazingly, this is no jukebox musical and features an entirely original score by Tom Kitt, played by a live band directed by Jenny Tabur.

I’m talking to Will Huang, who gets to plays the bashful Dick.

Born in Canberra, he’s lived here all of his life, except for a short stint while he was in primary school when his diplomat father was posted to Beijing.

It’s obvious that Huang likes to do new shows, including an unusual role as the villain in Duncan Ley’s savage play, “The Burning”, staged by Everyman Theatre at The Q last year. That was a rare opportunity to be cast in a challenging role rather than be stereotyped as the “comic relief or one of the geeks and freaks”.

And his character Dick? He’s melancholy, he’s a bit of a social misfit and he’s definitely a musical snob.

“Dick likes everything but mainstream music – he shuns that, but he listens to everything.”

Each of the characters has his own “little arc”, Dick’s being infatuation with a girl who comes into the shop, although he doesn’t know how to go about expressing his feelings. Alas, her musical tastes are off, and that leads to a serious conundrum – “what comes first, music or romance?”

He’s not the only one with problems. Rob (Zach Raffan) has just been dumped by his girlfriend and Barry (Max Gambale) wants to be in a band, but has no talent.

Apart from this, the show’s a lot of fun, with some fabulous choreography by Jordan Kelly.

“There’s absolutely something for everybody in this show,” Huang asserts.

“With some really groovy, memorable numbers, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave without humming at least one of the tunes.”

“High Fidelity”, at ANU Arts Centre, February 6-21, bookings to


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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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