Pacy, playful and exceedingly entertaining
By Jessica Cornish
A little bit of drag, a little bit of Liberal-bashing, a sprinkle of Aussie pop and some good old musical theatre as packaged and presented by charismatic Kurt Phelan was an hour well spent this week at The Butterfly Club.
Growing up in far north Queensland in the town of Townsville, Kurt moved down to Sydney as a talented young man to pursue his career in the arts. And clearly he’s done well for himself in the industry and on the stage, being cast in multiple professional musicals such as Dirty Dancing and Singing In The Rain, and even having a stint in Disney Land playing Prince Charming, appropriately fitted with brown contact lenses and all, to truly channel the part.
The NIDA grad has a beautiful voice with impressive vocal technique and control, transitioning with ease from falsetto to chest voice and consistently used good articulation so every word was easily understood, never once being lost amidst the punchy piano accompaniment. Squeezed into the hour-show were a lot of well-chosen upbeat songs, that seamlessly flowed with the dialogue and mood from one scene to the next. The cabaret also incorporated story snippets of personal experiences with musical theatre greats such as Jason Robert Brown, Rhonda Birchmore and Todd McKenney (which my fellow musical theatre buffs would appreciate), as well as touching briefly on more serious issues dealing with the premature loss of friends and also exposing performers for the people they really are rather than merely as their stage personas being presented to the world.
Phelan was supported by his excellent pianist Jack Earle, the dialogue and banter was well-rehearsed and structured, subtle light changes in the venue were able to nicely augment the changing moods of the piece, and the night ended with some fabulous crowd karaoke – so what more could you want?!
Phelan Groovy was a lot of fun, and charming Phelan didn’t take himself too seriously. His current season at The Butterfly Club has unfortunately ended, but when he returns (which we hope he does), you should definitely go check it out.