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THEATRE: 22 JANUARY 2017

By JOHN ROZENTALS

Go Your Own Way: The Story of Christine McVie, conceived by Catherine Alcorn, written by Diana Simmonds | Directed by Jason Langley

The Joan, Penrith | Then touring regional NSW, ACT, Queensland, and Northern Territory (itinerary attached)

My copy of David Sinclair’s Rock on CD is tattered beyond its years, its spine broken and a couple of pages departed for oblivion. It’s been one of my musical reference points for just over 20 years, as much for the succinct eloquence of Sinclair’s writing as for his near impeccable judgment.

His entry for Fleetwood Mac starts: “No other group has suffered quite the range of domestic upheavals that have beset Fleetwood Mac. In making the unlikely transition from scuffling British blues band to a sanctuary for diamanté Californian soft-rock celebrities, their story reads more like a Hollywood soap than the history of a rock act.”

Those upheavals and that journey are very much part of Go Your Own Way: The Story of Christine McVie, a Fleetwood Mac distillation conceived, produced and largely performed by Catherine Alcorn.

Christine McVie (nee Christine Perfect of Chicken Shack) married into Fleetwood Mac through John McVie, bassist and founding member, but along with drummer Mick Fleetwood became one of the rocks on which the band’s stellar success was built — certainly much more solid than the addled John McVie and erratic singer Stevie Nicks and her lover, enigmatic guitarist Lindsay Buckingham.

Alcorn describes wonderfully the excesses of a successful rock life in the 1970s — of booze, uninhibited sex, seemingly limitless money and lines of cocaine “bigger than a buffalo’s dick” — of her special “girl-to-girl” relationship with Stevie Nicks in a male-dominated world, of her decisions regarding retirement, and of the magnets that could draw her back to the stage.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the “popped-up” version of Fleetwood Mac that led the world into “adult-oriented rock” and preferred the band’s earlier raw blues material, but I was swept away by Alcorn’s renditions of classics such as Gold Dust Woman, Songbird, Don’t Stop and, of course, Go Your Own Way.

For the Woman with Altitude, the show provided another dimension. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac’s most successful album, was the soundtrack of her late teens — the music that she and her friends fell in and out of love to, that they made love to.

For her, Alcorn was channelling the spirit and voice of Christine McVie, and Kirby Burgess was doing a mighty fine job as the Stevie Nicks counterpoint, flitting about on the back of the stage in a seemingly drug-induced flight of fancy, participating in some mighty fine harmonies, and doing some fine lines herself.

This is the second time that I've seen Go Your Own Way and I hope it won't be the last. It's a mighty fine show and thoroughly deserves your attendance, especially if you grew up in the 70s.

Catherine Alcorn ... channelling the spirit and voice of Christine McVie.

Go Your Own Way is touring regional NSW, ACT, Queensland, and Northern Territory. If your travelling itinerary takes in one of the following places on the right day, do yourself a favour and book it in:

24 February — Mackay Entertainment Centre, Mackay, QLD

5 March — SunPac, Sunnybank, QLD

11 March — Lake Kawana Community Centre, Bokarina, QLD

1 April — Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT

11 May — Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock, NSW

12 May — Manning Entertainment Centre, Taree, NSW

13 May — Glasshouse, Port Macquarie, NSW

29 June — The Q, Queanbeyan, ACT

20 September — Jetty Memorial Theatre, Coffs Harbour, NSW

22 September — Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW

13 October — Redland Performing Arts Centre, Cleveland, QLD

14 October — Logan Entertainment Centre, Logan, QLD

26-27 October — Riverina Playhouse, Wagga Wagga, NSW