Entertainment Hive 2020

Baylie’s dusting off the hometown nerves

By Honey B

When Baylie Carson goes to enter the Adelaide Festival Centre this New Year’s Eve for the opening night of Dusty The Musical she will walk through the stage door – not the auditorium. Carson, who grew up around Langhorne Creek and Strathalbyn, says she saw “every single show in memory’’ at the centre. Now the 25 year old will step onto the stage she viewed from afar to play the young, shy Mary O’Brien – before she transformed herself into Dusty Springfield. Dusty took the world by storm in the ‘60s with her unique look and sound and she produced hits including The Look of Love and I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. “I can’t tell you how terrified and excited I am to be performing on the Adelaide Festival Centre stage,’’ Carson enthuses. “It will be so exciting to open the show on New Year’s Eve with everyone I know in that opening night audience. “I have no idea how I will handle it all. I think that either I won’t be able to hold back the tears or I will just go numb and I might stand there in shock!’’ Dusty The Musical is Carson’s professional show debut and she is thrilled to be sharing the stage with Amy Lehpamer who has just come off of highly successful musicals Once and The Sound Of Music. “Mary O’Brien was Dusty Springfield’s name before she had the stage name of Dusty. “I play her from the start and through to when she grows up a little bit. I explain it as being like the Frankenstein that created the monster who became Dusty Springfield. “Then I let her go and she does some weird things and I turn into the Jimmny Cricket on her shoulder or her conscience. “I ask her the hard questions like: ‘why are you doing this, or what are you doing?’ “It’s a little unusual, but it is a really good concept because you get to know exactly what Dusty is thinking. My character has been incorporated a lot more into the show than when it was first performed 10 years ago.’’ As well as working with Lehpamer as Dusty, Carson is still pinching herself to be treading the boards with Todd McKenney as Dusty’s wig-keeper Rodney and Virginia Gay as tea-lady Peg. “Amy is just one of the most talented human beings I have ever encountered in my life because she can go from play Maria in The Sound of Music to Dusty Springfield and she’s just such an actor, plus she has time for everyone. “Todd McKenney is amazingly hilarious and Virginia has become this amazing life-force in my life and she’s a phenomenal performer. “I am so grateful to be working with these people in my first professional role.’’ Dusty The Musical, Adelaide Festival Centre, Festival Theatre, 31 December to 22 January. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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