When you have had a successful run of plays (A Long Night, It’s War, The Negotiating Table and Better Man) over a decade or more, a hit film called Alex & Eve and even a tennis career as a young man in the US, what’s left on your bucket list?
For writer and actor/producer Alex Lykos it was a musical. Lykos has gone where few Australian writers dare go; he’s written a hysterical musical comedy about the off-field antics of a professional football team. A love-triangle of a different kind, with break-ups, tears, competitive wags, then throw in a scandal that rocks the entire team. The result is Australia’s Game.
With original songs such as Premature Ejaculation and Greatest One-Two Punch In History, this will be a feel-good musical comedy that will be talked about for years.
Neos Kosmos spoke with emerging talent Michael Coumi from Adelaide, whose acting and singing abilities rise in Australia’s Game. The young Greek Australian’s accolades include roles as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family Musical and Mr Blonde in the stage adaptation of Reservoir Dogs and his hit Adelaide Fringe lounge act as a cabaret crooner, paying tribute to The Rat Pack era.
Neos Kosmos (NK): You grew up in Adelaide and now you are guesting in Sydney with the new Alex Lykos musical. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Michael Coumi (MC): I did grow up in Adelaide, started out performing as a tap dancer then later developed my skills as an actor and lastly a singer to complete the ‘triple threat’. I have been in Sydney for the last year with my fiancé.
NK: What was it like growing up in Adelaide as a Greek?
MC: Adelaide’s a great place to grow up in and there is a big Greek community. My family is from Cyprus so the challenge was always explaining to Australians where Cyprus is in the Mediterranean, because they’d never heard of it before.
NK: Tell us about the musical.
MC: Australia’s Game is a musical parody about footy. Written and directed by Alex Lykos of the highly-acclaimed movie Alex & Eve, he has come back with a political love triangle about the relationships between the coach, athletes and even the wags, including a few surprise appearances from unscrupulous journalists and agents. The story focuses on the journey of my character, who is the superstar of the team, the coach (Alex Lykos) and the rookie Tom Williams (Tim Love).
NK: Who else can we expect to see in the musical?
MC: We have a stellar cast covering the roles and ensemble parts; Timothy Love, Anna Marie Cavaco, Chris Argirousis, Janette Lakiss from 2UE radio, Erini Limnatites, Korinna Gouros, Jim McInnes and Mohamed Mattar.
NK: How hard is it to adjust from stage or film acting to a musical?
MC: A lot of actors either stick to musical theatre or film/straight theatre and it can be daunting. I tend to delve into all of those mediums and remember to keep the acting real. With film it’s important to remember ‘less is more’ and in theatre, to bring more physicality and presence on stage.
NK: If the play takes off in Sydney, when can the rest of Australia see it?
MC: All I can say is watch this space. I have a good vibe about this production, I’ve been a part of new musicals, films and straight theatre productions before and can assure the public that this is a tight musical comedy, which will be a great night of entertainment. I would love to see a longer version with an interval and tour the country.
NK: Any funny stories you would like to share from the production?
MC: The funniest stories come from everyone realising the jokes in the show as we rehearse and trying not to laugh out loud on stage. I won’t give any spoilers, people will have to come and see for themselves.
NK: What’s next for you?
MC: I’ve just had a successful tour in Adelaide of my crooner show, which has singing, comedy, musical parodies and tap dancing. So after some downtime from doing the two shows back to back, I’ll be looking to bring my show to other cities.
* Australia’s Game – The Musical @ Factory Theatre, Marrickville, commences on 7 April with a sell out show and continues until 17 April, Thurs-Sat 7.30 pm, Sun 5.00 pm
The show is part of the 34th Greek Festival of Sydney. To book phone 9550 3666 www.bulldogtheatre.com
*Billy Cotsis is the author of The Many Faces of Hellenic Culture