A familiar cabaret face with an exciting new show
By Bradley Storer
The atmosphere for the opening night of Nailed It!, a showcase of new musical work, was casual but friendly as performer Andrew Strano (previously seen as one half of cabaret duo The Bad Boys of Music Theatre) walked out onstage and sincerely thanked the audience for coming, and apologized for his co-writer Loclan Mackenzie-Spencer’s absence due to a conducting commitment for a certain blockbuster musical playing at the Regent.
The pair have constructed an array of fantastic original songs, mainly (at least in this showing) involved with relationships, love and growing up. They explore it both in a comedic sense, as in one song which brutally deconstructs the mating habits of bees and flowers, and in a sincere heart-felt manner – but every song manages to find a surprising (and usually hilarious) perspective. Take, for example, a pretty Jason Robert Brown-style ballad expounding the benefits of incest, or a wacky upbeat number comparing a love of babies to crack addiction. The highpoint of the show is a brilliantly written ballad about accidentally destroying a car with a twist that makes it genuinely heartbreaking.
Strano is a charming presence onstage, with a rich, warm vocal tone and a refreshingly quiet charisma that makes him easy to relate to and wins the audience over whenever he speaks. The banter and links between songs is deceptively playful and improvisational, which is a credit to director Casey Gould for making it seem simultaneously perfect and made up on the spot. The music stand in front of Strano physically blocked him from fully connecting with the audience during the opening number, but was used later for some effective choreography. Strano was accompanied on opening night by Robyn Womersley, whose playing throughout was assured and expressive.
Nailed It! is a delightful showcase for the talents of a wonderful new musical duo, and the wonderful work on display promises great things for their future which I look forward to seeing!
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place (access from Little Collins St)
Date: Wednesday 9th – Sunday 13th July
Time: Wednesday/Sunday 8pm, Thursday/Friday/Saturday 9pm
Price: All tickets $20, Preview $15
Booking: www.thebutterflyclub.com or at the door