By CASEY NEILL
SAMUEL Johnson remembers venturing out to the south eastern suburbs as an impressionable teen to watch “the best rapper ever”.
The actor had to watch an Eminem concert on pay TV.
“My sister Connie, who’s sick now, one of her friends up here had it,” he said.
“This was back in the day when cable was really rare. We caught a train out here and checked it out – it was awesome.”
On 2 October he’ll return to Dandenong with a very different agenda.
A pink lycra-clad Samuel will ride into town on a unicycle for his Love Your Sister cancer campaign, and perform The Haunting of Daniel Cartrell at the Drum Theatre.
“It’s a fantastic theatre. Every actor loves the Drum, it’s a great space,” he said.
“This is one of those special shows with a great cast where everybody leaves their egos at the door and tries to produce the best work possible.”
The “suspenseful and often hilarious” play follows a suburban hermit as his life unravels.
Samuel said co-star Max Gillies was a showbiz veteran.
“And you don’t find better actresses than (co-star) Michaela Banas,” he said.
“She is extraordinary. I would come just to watch her in this. I think it’s her show.”
And Samuel will be pedalling a cause close to his heart during his time in Dandenong.
He’s travelling about 80 kilometres on his unicycle on performance days – seven or eight hours in the saddle – in a bid to cover 20,000 kilometres travelling around Australia in a year.
It will take another six months to fulfil his terminally-ill sister’s dying wish, to break a world record for the longest distance travelled on a unicycle and raise $1 million for breast cancer research and patient support.
“She doesn’t want to die this young and in vain,” Samuel said.
“I’m determined to fulfil her dream of preventing other young mums from having to say goodbye to their kids through breast cancer.
“Our message is ’don’t fall into the boobie trap – be breast aware’.
“My sister knew something was wrong, she left it too late, she’s paying the ultimate price.
“If you feel like something is wrong, trust that women’s intuition and get it checked.”
The Haunting of Daniel Cartrell is on at the Drum Theatre, corner Lonsdale and Walker streets, Dandenong, at 2pm and 8pm on Wednesday 2 October.
Tickets are priced from $25 to $45. Call 9771 6666 or visit www.drumtheatre.com.au to book.
Visit www.loveyoursister.org or www.facebook.com/loveyoursister to donate or follow Samuel’s journey.
The Drum is also accepting donations.