BWW Review: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2019: MEGAN MULLALLY AND HER BAND NANCY AND BETH at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre

BWW Review: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2019: MEGAN MULLALLY AND HER BAND NANCY AND BETH at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival CentreReviewed by Fiona Talbot-Leigh, Sunday 9th June 2019.

Artistic director Julia Zemiro, really searched outside the box for this year's Adelaide Cabaret Festival. There is a real mix of cabaret, jazz, and the obscure. Megan Mullally and her band Nancy and Beth fit into the latter and they were a complete delight for the senses.

Megan Mullally is an American born actress, comedian and singer who is best known for her starring role as Karen Walker on the NBC sitcom, Will and Grace. She has received multiple accolades and awards for her acting, but it was her singing and musical skills which were on fine display throughout this show. Mullally is an all-round entertainer and, like a fine wine, with age, she just keeps getting better.

Stephanie Hunt originates from Austin, Texas. She is a musician, songwriter, actress and writer who has forged out her own successful career. Out of the friendship between Mullally and Hunt, the band Nancy and Beth was formed in 2012. They met whilst filming an independent film in Austin called Somebody Up There Likes Me and, after a short time together, embarked on their first tour. They have been enjoying success ever since and this year finds them on a larger tour which started off in the states and now has them touring Australia in June, beginning in Hobart and ending in Brisbane.

I prepared myself to expect the unexpected and that is exactly what I got. These two women are just delightful. They both have amazing voices and each song was harmonised to perfection. They have everything down pat, including their very tight and well rehearsed bizarre choreography, created by Mullally.

They sing upside down, right side up, sideways, and on top of chairs, both performers clad in soft pink tracksuits reminiscent of the 70's. With childlike hairstyles and librarian style glasses, you would be forgiven for thinking these were two children onstage having a little fun.

Both their singing style and patter are so relaxed, and they made friends of the audience in moments as they presented an array of wonderful songs, ranging from hip-hop to Tammy Wynette's country song, No Charge, and Randy Newman's Losing You.

Backing Mullally and Hunt onstage were five incredibly talented musicians, Datri Bean, keyboard and vocals, Joe Berardi, drums, Roy Williams, guitar and vocals, Andrew Pressman, bass and vocals and Petra Haden, strings and vocals.

They complemented Mullally and Hunt brilliantly, albeit looking like a prison chain gang, dressed in matching red jumpsuits. Their professionalism and harmonies really added to the show, as did Nick Offerman, Mullally's husband, an established actor in his own right, who first surprised, then wowed the crowd with one of the best band introductions I have ever heard.

Offerman did his research on Adelaide and, upon finding out that we were once known as 'The city of churches', likening each band member to an Adelaide church. St Peter's Cathedral, of course, he saved for his wife.

This show was a lot of fun. You get professionals performing for you in a whole different way. Mullally and Hunt's quirkiness is somewhat refreshing, as is their patter. They don't take themselves too seriously, there is no real message or through story so to speak, just an opportunity for an audience to sit back and get entertained, which is what this festival is all about.

Somewhere along the way, Mullally and Hunt just forgot to grow up, and the result is nothing less than extraordinary.



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