Sunday, June 20, 2010
I think I can officially say now that we've only seen one straight guy during this years Cabaret Festival... and it wasn't Mitchell Butel...
After seeing him in Avenue Q, there was no way we weren't going to go and see his solo show.
It was probably the most "mainstream" show we've seen so far, although it did get a little more interesting as it progressed.
Both Ma and I had a moment of thinking it was going to be particularly vanilla at the beginning... but then Mitchell launched into a string of "fuck" during one the breaks between the songs, and it kinda picked up from there.
Well, between there and the very awesome arrangement of "9 to 5"...
The whole show is based around time... songs about time, specific times, time as a concept and compresses 24 hours from dawn to dawn into 60 minutes. And somewhat surprisingly (since we've tended to see people singing with nothing but a piano) he had a piano, double bass and a drum kit backing him up.
Mitchell really has an amazing voice... one minute he's singing loud and powerful, the next soft and soulful... and the final number where he sings without the microphone and with only the piano was amazing. It did make me wish that more performances were done that way though... throw the microphones away and let us just hear the singer live and unplugged.
Some of the songs I recognised, but a lot of them I didn't... at least not in that particular arrangement. Other than 9 to 5 my favourite song of the night had to be one about a gay caveman, "Way Ahead of My Time", which was hilarious (and a version of it now lives on my iPhone).
The only slight downside to the show were the number of quotes and things Mitchell included in the show, if only because he was reading them all from notes rather than including them organically... and I did feel like a couple of them just got dropped into the middle of a moment and basically sat there like the proverbial lead balloon. When he was just talking he was great, it was just the "prepared remarks" that felt a bit forced.
But his voice, his style and the fact that's as charming as hell makes up for any minor problems.
A really great show!