Reviewed by Nick Wakeham
Highlights From Becoming Bill by Bradley McCaw is a new musical theatre recording featuring performances by some of Australia’s finest performers.
Bill’s life is going nowhere. Sure, he is stuck in a dead-end job and his family life is frustrating, but things could be worse… Right? Okay sure, his brother James hasn’t left the couch in four days and his girlfriend Kimberly has broken up with him four times over the past three years, the last of which was last week! Yes, his mother Jane won’t stop looking through old picture albums and talking of the past. Doesn’t she understand, Bill doesn’t want to remember his childhood? He doesn’t care that he grew up without father and they were poor and unhappy. He just wants to get on with his life. When Bill 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. Ultimately deciding to base it upon his real life and family, he unknowingly disturbs the fragile space between them. As Bill searches for something ‘interesting’ to write about, he discovers their lives are not as simple and dull as they first appeared.
That is the synopsis to this specially commissioned musical which won the 2016 New Musicals Australia Snapshot Award.
The recording features performances by Peter Cousens (Chris on the original international symphonic recording of Miss Saigon), Natalie O’Donnell (currently touring Australia with Mamma Mia!), Kathryn McIntyre (Ladies in Black, national tour of Australia), Tom Oliver (international tour with Velvet and Marcia Hines) and Bradley McCaw (international tours with The Ten Tenors).
It is always very satisfying to know that there is talent out there writing new material and pushing the boundaries in musical theatre.
You can tell from listening to this highlights album that Bradley McCaw has a great future ahead of him, not only as a superb vocalist but also with excellent writing talent.
The highlights only show a little of what this piece is capable of and I do wish that the rest of the tracks had been included, as these eight musical numbers leave you wanting more.
Who knows… maybe we will get the chance to hear the complete musical one of these days.