Monday, 11 April 2011

Jim Sharman 'Blood & Tinsel - A Memoir'

Jim Sharman is the director of 'The Rocky Horror Show'; the film adaptation; 'Hair' in Australia, Japan and Boston; the Australian and London premieres of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and numerous other theatrical endeavours.
The book is an auto-biography, or ‘memoir’, and deals with Sharman’s life and work including his youth spent in the carnivals through his work on the seminal rock musicals of the 60s and 70s, to his return to his native land, his depression. We also have insights into his relationships, both personal and career related. 
Yet for all that, Sharman is a writer whose style is easy, informative and interesting; you want to know more about this man, yet at times he doesn’t quite give you enough to satiate your appetite.

His insights into theatre and, to a lesser extent, film are not at the level of academic research but are insightful enough to make you appreciate the genius that can lurk within someone’s mind. He is quite matter of fact about certain aspects of his life, including his sexuality and his relationships with people. One certainly gets the impression that Sharman is someone who’s been able to take out of life all that he can, appreciate what comes along, yet know when it’s time to let go and say goodbye. This view was something totally alien to me, but I read and thought and what I love more than anything in this book is how, throughout his life and work, Sharman looks with an eager eye; learning and gaining insights into humanity itself.

I finished the book wanting more and more yet coming away from it all with a sense of wonder and fascination at how intricate, complex and joyous the world is. I often hear how informative, how insightful some directors can be and reading this overwhelming book I can clearly understand why.

Jim Sharman is one of my favourite directors, yet I’ve never seen (nor probably ever will) one of his productions as he chooses to work exclusively in Australia - a great loss to the rest of the world – yet reading about his work, reading his insights behind what he does leaves me in awe at this theatrical magician, hoping that his work will cross the oceans once more ...

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