Georgie Parker has a great laugh. Strident but not jarring, it’s catchy and joyous and sounds nothing like her most famous character, All Saints’ warm but dignified Sister Terri Sullivan.
Sister Terri used to be a nun. Georgie Parker did not. When asked what’s in store for Terri in the season currently being filmed, Parker said it was about to get pretty full-on.
Thank God! She might get a bit of action again! she laughs.
Filming is still fun, but it’s also the reason Parker won’t be able to strut her stuff as much as her colleagues at this year’s Hats Off fundraiser. The annual concert is held by the entertainment industry’s own charity Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Australian camp of a group that began with New York’s Broadway artistic community.
I’m not actually performing in the concert because I’m very strapped for time, Parker says. I was saying I’ll get up and do stuff but because I can’t get there to rehearse they’d rather have me do token barrel girl stuff. It’s a terrible shame, since any show queen worth their original cast recording of Damn Yankees knows Parker mixed it with the best of them in How To Succeed In Business (Without Really Trying) and Crazy For You.
I support the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and also being an -˜actrine’ I’m lucky enough to know most of the people who are performing in the concert -¦ [and] Jonathan Mill and Adam Cook who are kind of organising the whole thing have been friends of mine for years.
Parker’s theatre mates constitute a line-up that is chock-full-of-camp. The list includes (deep breath): Toni Lamond, Nancye Hayes, Geraldine Turner, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Stuart Wagstaff, Mitzi Macintosh, Portia Turbo and Claire de Lune, Leonie Page, Wayne Scott Kermond, Sharon Millerchip, Tamsin Carroll, Trevor Ashley, Hayden Tee, Simon Gleeson, Lara Mulcahy, Natalie Gamsu, Tyran Parke, Peter Carroll, Mitchell Butel, Simon Burke, Geraldine Turner and cast members from The Producers and The Lion King.
Given the rich gay and camp wellspring listed above, Parker seems an odd choice for an interview, except that the high-profile star sought out the gay press specifically. Fans of All Saints should also know that the show deals with queer issues remarkably frequently. There have been few token gay issue episodes because subplots and major plots often include lesbian and gay characters. One of the main characters, Charlotte, played by Tammy MacIntosh, is a lesbian.
I don’t think we’ve been afraid to do that because it’s life and hospitals are saturated with life. Everyone’s got a story to tell, says Parker cheerily. We’re not worried about offending the audience and I think the audience is faithful to us because we’re brave enough to not patronise them.
So what will happen to Terri next? Parker can’t say, but promises lots of surprises and changes.
The strength of our show has been to change direction when things got a little complacent. So that’s what we’re doing at the beginning of next year, we’re just gonna shift direction again.
Parker asks if I’ll be going to the concert and then chastises me for not having bought a ticket yet. Yes, Sister, I promise.
Hats Off 2003: A Fundraising Concert With A Difference will be held on Sunday 2 November at 8pm at the Footbridge Theatre, Parramatta Road, Glebe. Tickets are $55 and $45 and all proceeds will be donated to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. Phone 132 849 or visit www.ticketek.com to book.