Alex Ridley doesn’t describe herself as either a villain or a vixen, although she concedes that villainy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
“It’s really a matter of perception,” she said.
It’s that matter of perception and perspective that intrigued her about the current Rocky Hill Musical Theatre Company production of Villains and Vixens.
“As soon as I saw the theme, I thought `that’s great,’” Alex said.
“In my head I immediately started putting my producer/director cap on and thinking `if I was doing a show like this, what would it be about’? When I shared that with all of you before we started, it was like, yes, that’s what we’re doing, that’s where we’re going, so I immediately felt in sync with what the show is about.”
On one level, the revue looks at some of the less heroic, less “good” characters from musical theatre, but also examines along the way that how others see us is largely a matter of perspective. Sometimes the bad guys may not be so bad after all. Sometimes, the good guys may not be so good.
“I think the theme of the show, the message of the show is something all of us encounter on a day to day basis in terms of the face that we wear publicly, who are. I think we all play different roles in our lives,” Alex said.
“It’s a really interesting show and I think it will be great for the audience and very relevant to everybody and I think they’ll connect to it in different ways.”
An experienced performer who first took to the stage at the age of four, Alex’s performing arts resume is as varied as it is extensive.
It includes school drama classes and performances, an invitation to dance with the premier dance company in Belgrade at the age of 18, university studies and subsequent teaching, presidency of the ANU theatre group, acting, singing, choreography, direction, production and back stage work.
But for the last 15 years, that resume has been gathering dust. Real world commitments and other priorities have come to the fore, but now she feels it’s time to shake off the dust and reacquaint herself with her lifelong passion.
“For a while, for a good year, I’ve been looking back into the performing arts,” she said.
“I’ve had a big break – well over a decade – but being new to Goulburn it was a way also of getting into the scene here and meeting new people, so I though… why not, just do it… give it a go.”
Alex, who until recently was the president of the Goulburn Chamber of Commerce, has kept busy in business, community and family tasks in her period away from the theatre, but she felt that something was lacking in the creative side of her life.
After reading a story in the Goulburn Post about this production, Alex decide to audition but despite her impressive curriculum vitae, she admits to being “absolutely terrified” at the thought of auditioning. And even after arriving, had to be coaxed out of the audience.
“It’s an exciting terrified,” she explained.
“You know, it’s the same feeling… whether you’re excited or terrified your body’s going through the same feelings but I’ll be perfectly frank, I was completely terrified because your always nervous before an audition, it doesn’t matter how seasoned you are, because you want to a do a good job.”
“Being out of the scene for so long, being a mum, so much of my life having changed in those 15 years, I did have those thoughts – Oh my God, can I do this again, how will rehearsals fit in – all of those things were going through my head. But my husband and kids were like, “just do it.”
She needn’t have worried.
Alex blew the production team away with her performance of Razzle Dazzle at auditions (a song she is singing in the revue) and continues to shine throughout rehearsals.
She joins a talented cast and crew in the show, staged in the gorgeous old Marian College Chapel.
Villains and Vixens is being performed on April 28 and 29 May 5, with a special charity matinee show for Goulburn Soroptimists on April 30.