Eddie Perfect – Introspective
QPAC, Concert Hall
Fortunate as the arts has been in Queensland comparative to some other Australian states, Eddie Perfect’s “Introspective” marks my 100th show as reviewer in 2021. The word reviewer as opposed to critic is a deliberate choice in this statement, given the Australian singer-songwriter’s darkly tongue-in-cheek “Death To A Critic” number which tells of a fictional Shakespearean actor who plots to rid the world of all critics. The song appears as part of Perfect’s storytelling around moving his family to the Upper West Side of Manhattan and his two years working as an outsider on Broadway shows there… and very much sums up the 70-minute show that Brisbane has been waiting through a number of COVID-related delays to experience.
The Concert Hall easily becomes an intimate venue as Perfect takes the stage without bravado, just him at the piano with accompaniment from two highly skilled musicians, Anita Quayle on Cello, and Xani Kolac on Violin. Accomplished as he himself is on the keys, the addition of the strings layer numbers with beautiful contemplation, such as in a stripped-back version of the catchy but challenging ‘Dead Mom’, the most-covered song from the musical “Beetlejuice”.
Experience writing the music and lyrics of the musical version of the ghost-with-the-most occupies a key part of the show’s content as Perfect talks about the Tony Awards nominations and ‘The Whole Being Dead Thing’ performancethat instigated the hype that saw formation of the musical’s multi-platform, multi-medium, often-online fandom, and delights the audience with the song that didn’t quite make it into the musical, ‘Death’s Not Great’, originally-conceived lyrics and all.
Conversation does not shy away from the realities of the Broadway baptism of fire that saw Perfect struggle through the creation and realisation of the experimental and critically-panned “King Kong”. Ultimately, his comfort in talking honestly about failure as much as success is refreshing. And he is an easy, engaging storyteller, whose humour and relaxed approach connects with the audience from start to finish, from a satirical song about the suburban routine of bin night, which serves as a wonderful opening tribute to the joy of being able to sneak bottles into the neighbour’s rubbish, to a Christmas-season-appropriate and close-to-home-for-many recall in song of the antics of parents putting together a trampoline in the dark.
Attention never diverts from Prefect’s lyrical creativity and pleasing vocals. Lush lighting illuminates the stage, with green and gold accompaniment to performance of ‘Australia’, the 2019 song he was commissioned to write to attract the Brexit-ed English to visit, is about as flashy at things get. Broadway composer Perfect is obviously proud of his work, and deservedly so. His song lyrics are very witty when required, but also sentimental too, as seen in his share of the tender ‘New York Fledgling’ about the starlings he observed raising their chicks on the streets of Manhattan. And the quiet storytelling style of just him at the piano allows sharp showcase of his undeniable musical talent. Curated together as they are, the numbers of “Eddie Perfect – Introspective” represent a nice mix of heartfelt reflections and sometimes self-deprecating comedy. Indeed, its interesting stories and industry insights provide a great night of entertainment, well worthy of the wait.
Photo from “Eddie Perfect – Introspective” at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre – Ian Laidlaw