A stage cast and songbook of significant talent
By Narelle Wood
Songs in the Key of Me does not just have an awesome title: it also has a selection of songs with music and lyrics by a very talented Greg Peterson. In just over one hour we were given a taste of a variety of musical genres from Peterson’s repertoire, including heart-break ballads, Broadway tunes and even a little bit of self-proclaimed lame country and western that demonstrates just how ridiculous country and western lyrics can be.
Providing the vocals for this show are Adam Bianco and Samantha Du Rennes. Bianco starts the show with the title song, “Songs in the Key of Me”: a brilliantly-orchestrated Broadway number that explores the glitz and glamour of the stage and how easy it is for a performer to become lost in the moment. Bianco is a clear embodiment of this sentiment throughout the show, giving his all to every song no matter what the genre or performance style is required.
Du Rennes has an amazing vocal range, and the power with which she sings the James Bond-esque espionage song, “A Secret to Die For”, would make Shirley Bassey proud. Whilst Du Rennes has a strong voice, she sometimes lacks the charisma of Bianco and their relationship seems a little more brother-and-sisterly than the intimate relationship required by the stronger love ballads. Du Rennes’ strongest performance by far is “The Things I Left Behind”, which clearly has personal meaning for her.
Danny Forward provides accompaniment on the keyboard and deals deftly with some of the very complicated, fast-paced and intricate orchestrations required by Peterson’s songs. At times the intricacy of the orchestrations do seem to be competing with the vocal performances, although this may be due to the acoustics of the room and the gusto with which Bianco, Du Rennes and Forward perform. It is great to see Bianco and Du Rennes playfully interacting with Forward throughout the show. This provides some cohesiveness to a cabaret that does sometimes feel a little disjointed with Bianco and Du Rennes coming on and off the stage.
I would have liked the show to have finished with a full encore of “Songs in the Key of Me” as this was by far my favourite number of the night along with Peterson’s ‘coming out song’; both these pieces have clear similarities to some of the great Broadway musical numbers of the past which is especially evident in Peterson’s clever use of word play. Songs in the Key of Me hits just the right note and is well worth a look.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, CBD
Times: Until 16th Feb, Wednesday and Sunday 8pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9pm