YouTube star Todrick Hall finally made it to our shores as part of his Straight Outta Oz tour; a show that will defy any preconceived idea you had about a musical or a concert.
The evening began with a series of Hall’s videos projected onto a large screen showing his most famous videos dating right back to the early days. It really was beautiful and nostalgic; the perfect way to set the tone for the show.
After an explosive start of chart-topping hits and the roar of the audience, Hall and his ensemble of athletic and sleek dancers delved into the reimagined story of The Wizard of Oz.
Hall’s 16-track debut visual album Straight Outta Oz is an in depth look at his world growing up, facing the hardships of bullying, racism and homophobia. Today he is a proud black gay man using his music to encourage, inspire and ignite the fire within us all to be brave and true to ourselves.
There were two key messages that shaped the story; the notion of what it means to be a man, and what it means to be courageous. Both were explored lyrically as well as highlighted in certain segues between numbers.
While the show goes from flashy show stopping numbers to brooding ballads, Hall knows when to pull back and let the lyrics resonate throughout the theatre. One thing that was obvious was how valued each and every member of the show was. The ensemble of dancers were strong and sultry, executing the choreography impeccably. In some songs, the guys were even featured as guest vocalists with Hall, showing their multi layers of talent.
However, you couldn’t go past the three divas Tiffany Mann, Virginia Cavaliere and Simone Gundy. There’s nothing more bedazzling than three harmonious women fill a theatre with gusto and sass. Add in the mix Teresa Stanley who played Hall’s mum and you’re spoilt for choice.
Towards the end of the show there was a moving tribute to the lives lost in recent gun attacks and murders in the USA. A montage of news reports and live footage struck a chord and had the audience frozen still; a reminder at how unbelievably lucky we are here in Australia.
Straight Outta Oz is a show that serves a purpose beyond just entertaining; it aims to highlight the importance of individuality and standing up to the haters who often get the better of you. The montage at the end of how to combat these haters is priceless with some people really sharing some great tips.
We all know Hall can sing (and we mean SING!), dance and inspire, but the one thing that he shares with us most of all is love. In a world where fear is dominating our headlines, Hall injects a little sparkle into our hearts with every lyric and every beat. He is truly a gift to this world.
What a privilege to have the world tour end in Melbourne. Let’s see what Hall creates next because with him, the sky is the limit!
The reviewer attended the show at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre on Monday June 5th.