Diamonds shine bright at The Q

Pearl Diamond (played by Lisa McClelland) and Phyllis Jones (played by Gaye Reid) star in the new musical Winging My Way to the Top, opening next week at The Q.

Pearl Diamond (played by Lisa McClelland) and Phyllis Jones (played by Gaye Reid) star in the new musical Winging My Way to the Top, opening next week at The Q.

MEET the Diamond sisters. They're getting on a bit now, but 30 years ago they almost made it to the big-time after their (now slightly dated) country hit 'My Chocolate Heart is Melted' broke through at the Tamworth Country Music festival.

Fame and riches seem assured, until ... the incident.

Their hilarious fictional story will be played out at The Q this month in the new musical Winging My Way to the Top, written by Canberra cabaret-duo Karen Strahan and Jill Walsh.

It revolves around the post-showbiz lives of oldest sister Beryl Diamond: a straight-talking, hard-drinking housewife; middle sister Ruby, who becomes an ambitious career woman; and youngest sister, Pearl, who's never given up on her dream of being a singing star.

Writer, producer and performer Karen Strahan, who plays Ruby, told The Queanbeyan Age that at its essence, Winging My Way to the Top is an Australian story.

"I've always wanted to write a musical that is uniquely Australian," Ms Strahan said.

"There's a lot of traditional musicals that keep getting re-done, which is fantastic, but there's not a lot of new musicals that are uniquely Australian that are being written

"It's a lot about explosive egos and sibling rivalry, and really whether the sisters will make it with their second chance at the big time."

It's the first time this writing duo- who first met at the School of Music 20 years ago- has attempted a full-scale musical after many years collaborating together in cabaret.

And with a cast of seven main characters, eight chorus roles and a seven-piece band to coordinate, Ms Strahan said it had proved both challenging and rewarding.

"The biggest difference [from cabaret] I think is writing a complete script- I think we've done at least 40 re-writes," she laughed.

"But because Australians have such a great sense of humour, the genre was perfect for musical comedy. Australians love to laugh at themselves, so we've based it around this family called the Diamond sisters and their husbands and friends, and hoping that people in the audience can relate to the characters. We've kept the characters very much real," she said.

"It really draws on Australian families- they may argue, but at the end of the day they end up having a great sense of humour, and despite their faults and egos, they are tight knit in the end."

Winging My Way to the Top opens at The Q next Thursday night, May 8, and runs through to Saturday, May 17, including a 3pm Mothers Day show on Sunday, May 11. Tickets available online at www.theq.net.au or by phoning the box office on 6285 6290.

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