Moving Too Fast
Michaela Burger & Zac Tyler @ Adelaide Festival Centre – Space Theatre
7:30pm, Sat 13 Feb 2016
I’ve no idea why Moving Too Fast made it onto my (very) Shortlist; I think it was because of the description of “life as we know it” as “complicated”. It certainly wasn’t because of the promise of a song cycle (that’s not usually my style), or the performers (although I’ve seen Michaela Burger perform admirably in the past), and it certainly wasn’t the proposed focus on New York composer Jason Robert Brown – who I’d never heard of prior to tonight’s show. But, judging by the size (and age!) of the assembled audience, it was abundantly clear that there were a bunch of people that were here for those reasons.
As it turns out, JRB’s tunes are pretty good. The selection chosen for this performance all seemed to be based around midlife crises: relationship breakdowns (or buildups) and life-passing-you-by seemed to be recurring themes. His lyrics are straightforward – there’s little in the way of metaphor in his writing – but his turn of phrase is quite lovely; You Don’t Know This Man and Stars And The Moon were particular highlights, the latter being a standout solo by Burger.
The songs seemed to be evenly split between duets and solos by each of the two singers, with Zac Tyler’s solos allowing him to roam and flirt with the crowd, a broad smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye; Burger’s other solos were a little more adventurous, with one dragging an audience member onto the stage. Morty seemed very pleased with his lot as he cavorted on the sofa beneath Burger’s gyrating form.
There’s no denying that Burger and Zac Tyler can work a crowd… and sing – their voices are strong and versatile, and there’s a crisp cleanness to their delivery that is a credit to both them and the Space’s technical support. Their supporting band – Mark Ferguson on piano (who also directed), the always-awesome Alana Dawes on double (and occasionally electric) bass, and Jarrad Payne on drums – was superb: their rendition of My Iron Lung was brilliant.
Moving Too Fast was an incredibly polished cabaret performance… and that’s possibly the only knock against it. There’s no way that this could really be considered “Fringe” – it would be perfectly at home in the Cabaret Festival programme, and there’s nothing “fringe” or risky about this show… but I can’t deny its entertainment value. To watch a set of enjoyable, lyrically engaging songs delivered by such a competent bunch of performers was a great way to spend an hour.
(8) Moving Too Fast: Immensely enjoyable contemporary musical theatre tunes. Great voices, band, song selection. #ff2016 #ADLfringe
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 13, 2016