Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Banquet Room. 11 Jun 2023
Eddie Perfect is fascinated with the creative process. A few years ago, at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival after-hours venue, Perfect did a gig where he revealed the process of creating a musical. In another show, he shared his experiences writing the music and lyrics for Beetlejuice (Broadway musical) - for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score - and how he stepped in to help out with King Kong, the 2013 musical, also on Broadway. It’s a good night out to hear his sonorous voice still amused and amazed with his musical career, and to hear a few songs.
In The Blank Page…, Eddie does it again with a catholic panel of fellow highly awarded and recognised writers. Eddie probes the panel with lots of questions summarised by, “How did you do it?”
The highly accomplished Virginia Gay was the penultimate personality to perform. She had a go at a song whilst wiping away her considerably golden curly locks from her self-described chiseled Greek goddess visage. She is full of beans – a “pure joy-love” engine - and says she wrote her way out of Covid lockdown. Julia remembers from a clowning workshop, “Failure is vital! Do not take the honour away from failure. Sit in it. Be publicly vulnerable. The audience will love it!”
Gillian Cosgriff was first up at the piano after a discussion about how useful comedy training is to creating musical comedy for the theatre. Tickling the 88s and with great emotional import, she played her composition, The Door, about finishing off a relationship – “I wish this door would become a wall.” The best song of the session and Bravo!
Michelle Brasier of Wagga Wagga couldn’t agree more about the comedy training. She is an accomplished stand-up who won the Directors Choice Award at the Sydney Comedy Festival in 2021. Perfect describes her work as “vulnerable truth-telling” - a big wrap. Her song parodying the generational IDs of Millennials, etc, sounded as serious as Julia’s but was counterposed with hilarious lyrics.
Americans Lee and Brad Spencer are married to each other and to teaming up in musical comedy. Brad’s laconic humour and deadpan contrasted to Lee’s overt enthusiasm. What is obvious is that their marriage is all beer and skittles. Their comments on LA vs NY were insightful.
Musical director Dean Bryant and lyricist and director Matthew Frank are also a life and musical theatre partnership. Eddie Perfect credits them with inspiring him with their musical theatre creation, Prodigal, which the duo workshopped while going to WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts). They sampled for us a song under construction that Bryant introduced with an apology that it only has four chords and super-simple arrangements. That turned out to be true and the lyrics and singing by Frank were, well, let’s hope this isn’t their best work.
Eddie Perfect finished off with his All The Way that was strong in melody and a perfect ending. His earlier song about taking out the street-side garbage bins – inspired by a conversation with Baz Luhrman during Strictly Ballroom – reeked. But that was a long time ago.
The afternoon session was the best motivational seminar for which one would pay $1000 to attend. In the process of inquiring how songs and musical theatre springs from creative inspiration, we learned about the role of failure and how to handle it, how to keep trying and to keep your dignity and/or humility, how and when to collaborate and how to move on. Another theme was that most underwent tertiary acting training but eventually found their creative voices best expressed by writing their own material. It was a pleasure to sit in the company of these creative, open and honest artists discussing the craft to which they have dedicated their lives.
When: 11 Jun
Where: The Banquet Room