It’s been over a decade since the death of Johnny Cash, but his appeal shows no signs of waning – and nor is it restricted to any one group of fans.
“When I stand onstage and see an 18-year-old punk rocker over there and a bunch of 80-year-old women over there, I’m a little torn as to how hard to go,” Tex Perkins, star of The Man in Black, admits.
“Sometimes I do feel I’m scaring little old ladies. I’ve got to find a middle ground,” he laughs.
Admittedly, a middle ground would be hard to find in Cash’s life-story – a life of opposing extremes.
“He would sing songs about taking cocaine and killing people and he liked to do records in prisons… but also was devoutly religious,” Perkins notes.
Within the stage show, The Man in Black, Perkins as Cash, along with The Tennessee Four and Rachael Tidd as his wife and guiding light, June Carter Cash, explores the many paradoxes of a man whose life story, as Perkins notes, was almost Shakespearean.
“It’s got all the elements,” he explains. “Rags to riches, the dead brother, the overbearing father. Sex, drugs and country music.”
And perhaps most importantly of all – “It’s got redemption”. (SW)
Jul 15-20, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $89-109, sydneyoperahouse.com (02) 9250 7777
BY SIRI WILLIAMS