Friday in Tenterfield was a day of very mixed feelings with major concerns about threat to life and property from the rapidly-spreading Mt Mackenzie fire, coupled with a determination to see through the arduous preparations for the 2019 Peter Allen Festival.
Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan, performing the Olivia Newton-John/Peter Allen tribute show Livvy and Pete at the Tenterfield Theatre, at one stage had their bags packed in the car to evacuate and only regained power to the theatre an hour or so before the scheduled start.
While the show eventually got underway around 20 minutes late, it was to a packed house and the two veteran performers had the audience eating out of their hand.
The personable duo may have had only a passing physical resemblance to the superstars (tight, white pants and lycra notwithstanding) their singing voices certainly resembled those of the actual Livvy and Pete.
It was a fun, touching, hilarious evening that passed quickly, with all the well-known classics getting a run. The audience was informed the show was rated 'C' for camp, and that was the theme for the night with some spirited audience participation as well.
Despite the performers' in-depth research into the Peter Allen/Olivia Newton-John relationship (Griffiths watched all the recorded performances while Ryan watched Xanadu on Netflix), they couldn't unearth a single photo of the two together, or even evidence that they had ever met (although they had both performed on Bandstand as children).
That didn't stop Griffiths and Ryan assembling a great double act which they've been doing now for several years, and their on-stage connection was evident. Griffiths said the act was usually packed into a one-hour fringe festival format but Friday evening's show on Peter Allen's home turf allowed a more-relaxed approach.
This meant some on-stage banter and trivia and even the addition of a new Peter Allen song (Quiet please, there's a lady onstage). Of course a highlight of the show was the home-grown Tenterfield Saddler.
The performers are supporters of I still call Australia home being named the Australian national anthem (more footballers may then be able to remember the words, Ryan said) and proved the song has the same resonance and relevance it had when Allen penned it four decades ago.
Livvy and Pete returns for a 2pm matinee performance on Saturday, September 7 and a 10am show on Sunday, September 8. Highly recommended.