Shatner’s World: The Return Down Under
Perth Concert Hall
REVIEW WILLIAM YEOMAN
At 87, Canadian actor and writer William Shatner puts most of us younger folk to shame.
For the entire two hours — no interval! — of this Monday night Perth performance of his one-man show, this born raconteur, still best known for his iconic role as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, strode energetically from one end of the stage to the other, vividly re-enacting scenes from life, stage and screen as the stories tumbled out in. that. distinctive. voice. of. his.
The army of Trekkies loved it. So did the rest of us.
Growing up Jewish in Montreal is arguably a terrific start in life for an entertainer, and family stories abounded.
There was his mother pretending it was her 80th birthday over and over at different restaurants so she could get a free slice of birthday cake each time.
There was Shatner looking at coffins for his father and choosing the cheapest option after hearing the latter’s voice in his ear — “Spend the money on the living!”
There was even a breathless account of a crazy cross-State road trip with a rabbi.
“The army of Trekkies loved it. So did the rest of us.”
There were also stories about Shatner’s own family — his past and present wives, his children; his love of animals, horses and dogs in particular — poignant rather than funny; and his philosophy on life, death and the universe — again, mostly serious.
But best of all were Shatner’s showbiz stories, often accompanied by classic footage.
These included a roasting during which George Takei, who played the USS Enterprise’s helmsman Sulu, told Shatner what he really thought of him (yes, the “F” word was in there somewhere), and that Boston Legal dancing scene between Alan Shore (James Spader) and Deny Crane (Shatner).
It was also great to hear about Shatner’s early theatre triumph as Henry V, when he had to replace an ailing Christopher Plummer, and how he handled the news that Kirk was to be killed off.
Actually, Shatner did not spend that much time talking about Star Trek. Perhaps he’s a little over it. After all, he’s done so much else in a career spanning 70 years.
But he did have a lot to pack into two hours, and you wished there was an interval, just so you could catch your breath — we don’t all have Shatner’s boundless energy.
Yes, there was the occasional stumble as Shatner searched for a name or a phrase. But don’t we all do that? The standing ovation was more than deserved.
And it was good to be reassured Shatner was completely fine with being remembered as Captain. James. Tiberius. Kirk.