The Adelaide Cabaret Festival has not only witnessed the first band to ever perform a song about a chair but it has also enjoyed some delightfully playful and utterly professional singing and choreography at the Australian premiere of Nancy And Beth.
Megan Mullally (known to many as Karen from Will and Grace and more latterly from Parks and Recreation) and Stephanie Hunt gave their all in 100+ minute performance as they danced and sang in perfect unison to some of the quirkiest and most inventive choreography you’ll ever see.
For approximately half their show, these two doyens of comedy perform with a sturdy chair each (air freighted from Long Island). These versatile chairs become mini stages upon which Megan and Stephanie balance, cling, and interact as they contort themselves through some clever and funny movement, sometimes upside down, sometimes sprawled backwards with legs apart, and at other times draped over them with nonchalant style.
The knockout combination of wit, melody, singing, and choreography was for the cheeky number about a chair in a secondhand shop with lyrics, “if I can’t sell it, I’m gonna sit down on it”. There was no doubt left about the double entendre intrinsic in this song, due to some inspired visual gags involving much leg twirling and suggestive posing.
Megan and Stephanie’s voices are powerful and sublime, capitalising on Megan’s hallmark high-pitched, nasal characteristics, which worked well with the choice of songs and their arrangements.
The Nancy and Beth band was equally creditable and their personal introductions during the makeshift interval by Megan’s husband and star of Parks and Recreation, Nick Offerman, was an added bonus. There was much love, trust, and respect on the stage between all the players and that drew the audience in even closer, yielding a standing ovation after the “surprise” encore.
Megan Mullally’s dry wit and self-deprecation helped her woo the audience and, in fact, many of us would have voted to revoke her visa and keep her in South Australia, if that were possible. Her bright stage presence is infectious and towers above the sensible and comfortable, Florida-like track pant costumes. Nancy and Beth proves you don’t need glitzy wardrobe tricks when your performers are naturally captivating.
Yet another highlight for this stellar cabaret festival.