Eric Dare, owner of the Balmain Bijou Cinema, offered Reg Livermore the opportunity of mounting his own show following his success as Dr Frank 'N' Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. Three months later the cinema was converted into a live venue and on went the Betty Blokk Buster Follies. 'It was the ultimate freedom,' say Livermore in an interview with Karl Levett. 'I was given open slather by Eric - it was like flying blind. Betty's success wasn't immediate… some newspapers even refused to review it saying that they didn't cover 'that sort of show.' It took about four months before it was really bringing in money… It was only that Eric had faith and believed that there was an audience out there, that the show survived. We did eight months followed by a seven months' tour' (p.19).
The characters include the bare bottomed Betty Blokk Buster, a German parlour maid who entertained troops during the war; an old man who recalls his youth as a male model; and Vaseline Amalnitrate, a football star who joins the Australian ballet (complete with footy socks and tutu).
Songs performed in the show included: two original compositions by Reg Livermore, 'Voice Of Experience' and 'Festival of Light,' several Billy Joel numbers, including 'Captain Jack' and 'The Entertainer, Lou Reed's 'Walk On The Wild Side,' Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'Matrimony' and at least six Leo Sayer songs, notably 'Long Tall Glasses,' 'Train' and 'The Show Must Go On.'
Responding to a question by Mary Dagmar Davies as to why there so little original music is incorporated into his shows, Livermore says: 'I suppose the ultimate is a show with original compositions. But I respond to the music I hear and if the feeling in a song is right there is no point in me writing a song that is going to say the same thing. My response to music is a part of the context of the show and the show is about my response to events and feelings' (p.33).
A film record of Reg Livermore's successful one-man stage show, featuring characters and sketches centred around Betty Blokk Buster, a bare-bummed German maid who entertains troops during the war. Livemore's other characters include Vaseline Amylnitrite, a football star who joins the Australia Ballet, and an old man who recalls his youth as a trendy male model.
The film, which is almost an hour shorter than the live show includes the following sketches:
Most of the songs are cover versions, and include those by Billy Joel, Leo Sayer, Elton Jon and Bernie Taupin, Lou Reed, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and Ray Davies.
Betty Blokk-buster Folies premiered at the Balmain Bijou, Sydney, on April 16, 1975.