Where do I start reviewing this show? In order to start reviewing this show, I really need to to understand what I just witnessed – and I’m still trying to work through that! Let me say from the outset, I mean these comments in a positive way. I was comprehensively entertained by the somewhat unexpected musical talent that filled the Dunstan Playhouse stage.
Offbeat would be a word that instantly springs to mind. From the moment that Megan Mullally and her partner in crime Stephanie Hunt stepped on stage in their matching pink track suits and comfy “sensible” shoes, as their alter-egos Nancy and Beth (nobody knows which one is which – including themselves), the evening promised to be “different”. They lived up to that prediction when the first number they performed was a full on rap song complete with expert Bronx-like accents and choreography.
The choreography to the show was created by Megan herself, as she mentioned many times during the night, It existed mainly around two cheap Walmart chairs they had especially bought with them from the States, and was a more a series of chair-born yoga moves which were sometimes over-suggestive, than actually dancing. It was always performed in unison and was obviously tirelessly rehearsed to achieve the perfection that it did.
The banter between musical numbers was to a large part hilariously unscripted and Megan and Stephanie’s humour is very offbeat and in the same vein as Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation – in which Megan has played Emmy Award winning roles.
A special surprise was the appearance of Megan’s husband of sixteen years, Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation). Nick was a comedy plant in the audience who came up on stage to introduce the band. In every city they perform in, Nick zeros in on what cities are best known for and compares each member of the band to features of the city.
As he noted that Adelaide is famous for its serial killings, he decided it best not to use that comparison. Instead he descriptively, and in detail, compared each band member to various cathedrals in the City of Churches.
The band was a collection of five polished professionals who handled every genre of music with consummate ease. To add to the offbeat atmosphere that Megan had created for her show, the whole band was dressed in red boiler suits.
Cutting through the comedy aspect of the show, the real standout was the incredible vocal talent of the two ladies on stage. We were treated to such a diversified range of music spanning genres such as rap, country and Gospel music.
A stunning version of the spiritual Waiting For My Child was performed in immaculate three part harmony with the help of Petra Haden from the band, which brought the house down with not a dry eye left to be seen. This was a night of very funny comedy, pathos, chaos, but above all, fine entertainment.
Megan Mullally and her band Nancy And Beth
Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Performance: Sunday 9 June 2019
For more information about the 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, visit: www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au for details.
Megan Mullally and her band Nancy And Beth also plays the Melbourne Recital Centre (13 June); Sydney Opera House (16 June); Lizotte’s, Newcastle (18 June) and QPAC, Brisbane (19 June). For more information, visit: www.nancyandbeth.com for details.
Image: Stephanie Hunt and Megan Mullally (supplied)
Review: Rick Williams – courtesy of All About Entertainment