Saturday, December 08, 2012

Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert


On another sweltering Melbourne day just over a week ago, Carly and I ventured over to St Kilda to see a musical about an Aussie icon - Margaret Fulton The Musical was billed as Queen Of The Dessert

Arriving into the tiny and unassuming Theatre Works in St Kilda on the hottest day in November in Melbourne for some 6-7 years, the whole crowd was treated with icy-poles as the cast started in with very Aussie chants and songs, to set the scene as 1988.  A lovely touch, and much needed to distract from the heat outside.

As we took our seats, I spotted Quyen from The Good China making up the mini-orchestra, adding violin and backing vocals.  Very cool spotting!

This setting of the scene was a little lost at the start of the show, as the story dropped back to wartime Australia and the introduction of Margaret and her farewelling her solider betrothed. At home is Australia, she stumbled into jobs and was soon approached to feature in wartime advertising teaching the women of Australia that it was perfectly safe to cook with gas.  And then perfectly safe to cook with a pressure cooker.

The songs, each performed with the full cast of five, were funny and clever, all portrayed around the kitchen-style set, and associated props. I learnt that through her love of cooking, and her influential and high profile jobs of cooking teacher and demonstrator she introduced elements such as exotic things like eggplant and olives to Australian cookery!  The sheltered and over-conservative environment of our culture back then took some time to warm to this icon, who changed the way we eat and cook indefinitely and for the better.

A life honoured by the Medal of the Order of Australia, and even declared an Australian Living Treasure by the National Trust, twas a sad story, really, of a woman moving from love and heartbreak to love, and then finding “The One” after an 8 year courtship…only to have him die.

The final song was the highlight for me, such an uplifting and inspiring performance drawn from the lessons of love, doing what you are passionate about and following your heart before it’s too late.

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