I phone Ally Fowler as she is shopping in an organic food store in Launceston. Located on Federal street, the ‘Good Food Organic ‘ appeals to Ally. Her hands are full at the checkout so I phone her back as she leaves the store. The delightful actor is in Tassie for a few days to perform in David Williamson’s ‘Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica’. She describes the play as ‘simple and sweet’ and with ‘no political undertones’ as we witness these two very opposites coming together. Glenn Hazeldine plays Rex, who is a country pop singer more in the mould of Kasey Chambers or Sara Storer than traditional country. He sets about wooing Miss Monica the classical lady.
This tale is one of an unlikely romance between a former country music star turned handy man and a classical pianist played by Ally. No stranger to music, of the pop kind, Ally still performs with her band the Chantoozies (who at one time were visiting Tassie once a year) for corporate hire, and also sings Chantoozies’s hits in an 80’s music celebration with the likes of Brian Mannix.
However ,nowadays you are likely to see Ally on the the gruelling but satisfying theatre travelling circuit soaking up both the city and the country areas. Ally talks about the amazing theatres she has performed in, some heritage buildings, others state of the art modern and some just ‘kooky’, A stint at The Palladium got Ally’s imagination working as she said it would be a great venue for a mystery play with its rickety staircase! Ally also tells me about the theatre in Ballarat’s ghost of a little girl, said to be the daughter of a former owner who has been seen drifting around the theatre, . Ally is eager to know the age of the Princess Theatre where the troupe will be performing on Tuesday and is excited when I tell her about the famous ghost at the Theatre Royal. Ally is thrilled to hear this and jokes she might change her accommodation and camp out at the theatre to spy the spirit!
Ally is also excited about being back in Tassie after a lapse of some years and is looking forward to the coastal drive, although in the intervening period she did have a short visit earlier in the year to perform another Williamson play ‘Let the Sunshine’ for Hit Productions and some years ago for 3 days she was invited down for the casting of a beer commercial in which she assisted a friend. Talking of beverages Ally is also looking forward to visiting the Tamar Valley on this visit and purchasing some fine wines to take home with her. After the tour Ally will be content to settle back home for a while, do some gardening, visit cafes with friends and hopefully, as well as more theatre we will see her back on our TV screens next year.
‘Rhinestone Rex and Miss Monica’ will be performed at the Princess Theatre Launceston on 3 October and the Theatre Royal Hobart on Friday 5 October at 8pm and Saturday 6 October at 8pm.