‘The Vaudeville Project’ will be a solo work developed by, with and for Adelaide actor/singer Rory Walker, inspired by the life of his great grandfather George W Walker who was a vaudevillian performer, vocalist, manager, impresario and theatre proprietor of the early 20th Century.
A friend and colleague of Sir Harry Lauder and Charlie Chaplin, George Walker’s recorded life began as a newborn in a shoebox on the front step of what was to become his family home. Throughout his life George was always given to travel, perhaps because he never knew where really came from. Then one night, coming off-stage in his home town of Aberdeen, George was informed that his greatest fan (a woman who, unbeknownst to him, had not missed a performance whenever he was in town) had fallen ill and missed the show. Struck by the strange coincidence of her description – her age, loyalty and location – George hurried from the theatre and made his way to her address where he was let into her room to sit by her side until she passed away. Family legend suggests that on this night she revealed she was George’s mother.
‘The Vaudeville Project’ will be an episodic series of sketches – songs, dances, comedy routines, trained animals, impersonations, magic, acrobatics, juggling, athletics, movies – all performed by one man. George’s life and his connection to his great grandson Rory are the springboards into a dazzling display, a spectacular extravaganza, a heterogeneous wonderment of splendour all designed to educate, edify, amaze and uplift!
Development of ‘The Vaudeville Project’ will begin in June 2015 with the kind support of the State Theatre Company of South Australia.