Sometimes, the experience of musical theatre can be so special as to leave you in want of a thesaurus to do its distinction justice. With its combination of creative talents, “Highlights from Becoming Bill” by Bradley McCaw offers a take-home version of this with its tell of an ordinary family confronting the ghosts from their past as Bill, a first time writer, struggles to write a musical.
Bill is a pretty decent guy. When he gets a phone call from a theatre company asking him to write a new musical for an upcoming season, he struggles to find any inspiration before deciding to base it upon his real life and family. As Bill searches for something ‘interesting’ about which to write, he discovers their lives are not as simple and dull as they first appeared.
Recorded in three studios around the country, the new musical theatre record features contributions from some of Australia’s finest performers: Peter Cousens, Natalie O’Donnell, Kathryn McIntyre, Tom Oliver and Bradley McCaw in its varied melodic diet. From the sweet melody of ‘Are You Happy?’ by Natalie O’Donnell (soon to be seen in “Mamma Mia”), with a piano accompaniment to savour, to the poignant drama of a reflective ‘Mother and Son’ by Kathryn McIntyre (of “Ladies in Black”), each number allows for a conviction of delivery in enhance of narrative elements.
And when the ‘stage’ is shared, such as in former Ten Tenor McCaw andMcIntyre’s touching, lingering duet, ‘Maybe We’ve Reached it All’, the result is quite glorious in its blend of voices. Indeed, the song is neither too earnest or exposition heavy, yet still manages to carry an emotional punch as its characters determine with haunting lyricism, if they ‘should try again’. In particular, McIntyre’s contribution to the record, shows her immense musical talent, especially in ‘Let’s Not Have This Fight’ (all right?), a compelling upbeat number that soars as a standout, in that “Wicked” type way, thanks also to the personality of McCaw’s piano accompaniment.
After seven years of development, art appears to be imitating life; “Becoming Bill” reflects a true time in this emerging artists life, when McCaw was asked to write a musical (his first foray in the area), “Becoming Bill”, which won the 2016 New Musicals Australia Snapshot Award. The production of a musical soundtrack is an art form itself. And in the case of “Highlights from Becoming Bill” the musical compositions allow us to soar along with their talented performers, in that goosebumpy type way. The record will be released nationally later this year but for now can be purchased via www.bradleymccaw.com. If you are the kind of person who sometimes posts musical theatre memes on your Facebook feed (#guilty), then this is the sort of not-so-guilty pleasure you will love.
Blue Curtain - Meredith Walker
'Highlights from 'Becoming Bill' by Bradley McCaw - Record Launch
Date: September 19th (Tuesday)
Doors 6pm. Performance 6.30pm-7pm
Venue: Doo Bop Jazz Bar Brisbane CBD
Tickets: $10 Includes complimentary drink on arrival
Recorded in three studios around Australia, "Highlights from Becoming Bill' by Bradley McCaw" is a new musical theatre record featuring performances by some of Australia's finest performers: Peter Cousens, Natalie O'Donnell, Kathryn McIntyre, Tom Oliver and Bradley McCaw.
The launch will feature a live presentation with performances from the record - with special guests to be announced.
All guests will receive a complimentary sparkling or beer on arrival and have the chance to purchase the record (before anyone else!) whilst taking part in the next evolution for this new award winning musical.
Limited tickets available so book now! https://www.doo-bop.com.au/
This intimate event will take place in the gorgeous piano bar of Brisbane'snewest and most celebrated live-music venue. Doors from 6pm.
About the work: Originally commissioned by Joymas Creative, Becoming Bill was Bradley McCaw's first array into writing for the theatre. It was first presented as a work in progress showing to a sold out audience at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art in 2010. Since then Bradley's work has travelled the world including a sold out show on Broadway's 42nd St (USA), and his plays 'The Game' and 'Everybody's Doin It' both published by Australian Script Centre. After seven years of development, it seems art truly does imitated life, as 'Becoming Bill' now reflects a true time in this emerging artists life, when he really was called out of the blue and asked to write a musical. Becoming Bill won the 2016 New Musicals Australia Snapshot Award.