Like the troopers they are, soprano and tenor powerhouse musical theatre legends Marina Prior and David Hobson are taking the vagaries of Covid-19 in their stride. Ahead of an all-State concert tour, which will take them to the end of the year, the pair say they are excited at the prospect of working together again.
“Our industry was basically decimated last year,” Marina said. “It’s all been very positive and exciting for us planning and rehearsing to get back on the road. We love working live so much and we always love coming over to WA.”
The pair, who have been friends their whole professional lives (more than 35 years), are set to bring their new two-hour encore show, The 2 of Us, Up Close and Personal, to Perth on 3 October after several country gigs. They will sing songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Guys
and Dolls, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the classics as well as new material and Celtic songs from Scotland and Ireland.
“We’ve been rehearsing this morning at Hobo’s house in Glen Iris ahead of our NSW regional tour,” Marina said. “The theatres in WA are fantastic and we will be playing at theatres in Albany, Bunbury and Mandurah as well as Perth.”
Said David: “We have lots of new material and new songs. People have really responded to Marina and I, especially singing in harmony and we are doing more Celtic and folky things.
“The joy of this collaboration is that Marina and I have known each other since the 1980s, but for us even now what is great is that we keep exploring new material, not because we have to, but because we love doing it.
“We still love our old material as well, but there is nothing like doing new material which keeps the audience on their toes. We are very excited, it’s a new injection. So we are getting vaccinated and we are injecting this new material into our show.”
Marina: “Way back when everything shut down last year we were lucky to get in a few shows. Then our wonderful producer Karen-Lee Goody booked us in. As soon as we got the all clear, things were opening up again.
“We don’t kick off our tour for another few weeks so, hopefully, we will be in the clear. Some things depend on what happens day to day but we will keep our fingers crossed.”
David: “Stay safe and stay open. I’m hoping that people in WA have a desire to go out and get the arts rolling again. There is something visceral and life affirming about being with a group of people and creating music. I think people will be longing for this.”
Marina says that she and David are extremely comfortable performing together.
“Sometimes it’s too comfortable, which means we laugh a lot which is not good. We were laughing a bit too much at rehearsal this morning and had to close it at a certain point. We got a bit silly.
“But it’s wonderful on stage when there is genuine friendship and chemistry and a genuine musical simpatico, you can’t manufacture that. Touring this concert over the past few years has been a really great joy.”
David: “Marina is one of my close friends, along with our accompanist David Cameron, so the three of us have a secret language on stage; we don’t really have to prepare and we know what is happening. There is such generosity of spirit and from Marina I get that in bucket loads.”
After a show, Marina says she likes a rosé and David insists he likes a cup of tea.
“We laugh and have a meal with the touring team. There are six of us so it’s a tight knit group.”
Marina says she has lots of costume changes and plans what dress she will wear.
“If you do something wrong and you’re wearing a nice frock, you can get away with it,” she laughed.
Marina Prior and David Hobson encore tour The 2 of Us Up Close and Personal performs
at Bunbury Entertainment Centre 30 September, Albany Entertainment Centre
1 October, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre 2 October and Astor Theatre Perth 3 October.