Skyfall: The Music of James Bond (The Little Red Company)
QPAC, Concert Hall
July 15 – 16
Those who saw Brisbane Festival’s “Skyfall” at the South Bank Piazza in 2021 know how enticing a musical celebration of the music of James Bond can be in The Little Red Company’s capable hands. In return season at QPAC (rescheduled due to flood impacts upon the Concert Hall) “Skyfall: The Music of James Bond” still has a license to thrill, only this time with walls, and amazing acoustics that enriches its sounds from the first introduction of Luke Kennedy in ‘Licenced to Kill’.
Just like its source material films, this is a show that gets bigger and better with every outing, with this season featuring additional numbers and an onstage team of 19 singers, dancers and musicians, including special guest vocalists Rebecca Cassidy and Mat Verevis joining Queensland’s first couple of song Naomi Price and Luke Kennedy.
Cassidy adds some impressive operatic soar to numbers like ‘The World is Not Enough’, the main theme and opening song for the 1999 Bond film of the same name (originally performed by Scottish-American rock band Garbage), which weaves in touches of the James Bond theme at the end of its composition. Verevis, meanwhile, croons away in ‘80s love ballad ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and delivers an exquisite ‘No Time To Die’, giving the dark and moody theme a vocal reverence befitting Daniel Craig’s final outing and 007.
Once again, Kennedy’s share of Sam Smith’s tender ‘Writing’s on the Wall’, is a highlight thanks to its haunting beauty, especially encapsulated in his impressive falsetto. Indeed, Kennedy’s vocal dexterity is on show throughout the evening, including in some impressive note holds.
With guest performers, this season is more concert than cabaret fare, but it is still just as entertaining, in-part due to the hostess-with-the-mostest banter (and solid song performances) from Price, including with drag performer Beverly Kills (recently announced as a contestant of Season Two or RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under) who assists in share of a memorable ‘Goldfinger’.
With the assistance also of dancers Bridie Anstee and Shani Sweetnam, there is a lot going on, but celebrating the music of James Bond remains central and it is appropriate the band is positioned in raised, tied staging allowing for full viewing opportunities. Thanks to the considered arrangements of Maitlohn Drew and Brydon Stace, all sections of the band are given their moments to shine in punctuation of the vocal performances. Damian Sim’s keys add dynamism to Shirley Bassey’s tribute to the man with the Midas touch, Martha Baartz’s alto saxophone elevates Price’s cheeky ‘Nobody Does It Better’ and Josh Sinclair gives a smooth early trumpet testament to the fight going on and on in “Thunderball”. Mik Easterman, meanwhile, has never been better, delivering an essential accompaniment of Kennedy’s bombastic ‘Live and Let Die’, which electrifies the audience into interval.
Jason Glenwright’s lighting design characters each number with distinction, spotlighting along to the fatal sounds of broken dreams in a red-soaked ‘A View to a Kill’ and sparkling the entire Concert Hall for Price’s spectacular ‘Diamonds are Forever’. And the fashions (Zoe Griffiths, Wil Valor, The Hemmingbird and Urbbana) are again spectacular, especially Price’s glitzy gold tuxedo.
“Skyfall: The Music of James Bond” is full of infectious energy, culminating in its on-your-feet mashup encore tribute. The explosive reimagining of the Bond catalogue, created by Adam Brunes and Naomi Price, is a celebration not just of iconic Bond bangers, but a showcase of some of the city’s best musical talents. Diamonds are forever, but sadly this show is not! Thankfully, hungry-for-more audiences can rejoice in the return of the company’s Matilda Award-winning musical celebration of Elton John’s iconic songbook, “Your Song” for an encore season at QPAC in September.
Photos c/o – Steph Do Rozario