Well, when it rains…I recently returned from New Zealand where I performed my award winning cabaret show (I love being able to say that!), “A Light in the Dark” to rave reviews including this one on theatreview.com;
“I will start by saying that I like musicals. I grew up with musicals, my mother is a big fan; Oliver, The Pirates of Penzance, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Chess, Chicago, and her absolute favourite: West Side Story. Mum would turn the volume up as loud as it could go while the three of us danced and sang around the living room. As a result I have my own favourite musicals and a firm appreciation for the genre. I am looking forward to this show!
Though I am not ‘up’ on the play when it comes to Tyran Parke, the impression I get from the noisy capacity crowd is that there are plenty of people who know exactly who Tyran Parke is. Which is exciting to me. I love the build up to a show when I can almost take a bite of the electricity in the room.
Here we are, an ebullient bunch who have braved some of the worst driving weather of this odd autumn. As such everyone takes a while to get their seats and settle so the show goes up fifteen minutes late, any tarry over that disappears as soon as I hear this man’s incredible voice pouring out the sweet opening lines of ‘Something’s Coming’ from the Song Cycle Brick Walls and Waterfalls by Christopher Harley. He isn’t even on stage yet I am captured by the power of his voice. I get a stab of excitement, all of a sudden I can’t wait to see the rest of this show.
He is quick to tell us he loves musical theatre; he ‘came out’ as a musical theatre fan during Sydney’s Musical Theatre Festival last year. I have to laugh as he bluntly says, “In the entertainment industry it is pretty cool to hate musical theatre.”
I think it is his genuine love of it that gives him such a talent for it. So why the heck not chart his memoirs with a collection of fabulous show tunes that make his already very touching personal stories even richer. This show is certainly not a collection of songs thrown together, this show proves that music is the most universally valid form of social and cultural expression.
I have to wonder if he has jumped the gun on himself writing a memoir show, given he is still in his very early thirties. My mind is changed by the living this man has done for his years. He has been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things.
A Light In The Dark is a beautiful memoir of Tyran’s life charting his journey from rural Newcastle Australia. We meet him as the young boy losing his mothe; as a thirteen year old watching Les Miserables. We share his letter exchanges with leading lady (Kiwi) Delia Hannah; we follow on with him to train in Perth and on further into his professional career as a musician, singer and actor, sharing the highs and lows of life on stage.
Here is this talented man pouring out his very heart to us in speech and in song. This is a genuinely sweet, heartfelt, funny show.
Tyran points out that he knows a few of the faces in the crowd tonight and on more than one occasion his audience bantering brings warm laughter rippling through the room. His song choice and singing is exemplary, each of the twelve songs on the playlist wraps around the fine silks of his life stories and is delivered with the right amount of lightness and shade to bring this hardened Hamiltonian to tears more than once.
His good humour also helps him immensely with the technical snags (the microphone stand comes apart, the operator misses a couple of lighting cues) then I get the feeling nothing could stop this man sharing this show with us tonight.
As the show draws to a close I reflect: Tyran Parke is an exceptional story teller with the gift of humility and boy can he sing. So what of his planned encore? I have to ask myself, “How does he top this?”
The house goes wild as, after much thanks and praise to his team in New Zealand (and yes, he loves it here!), he introduces ‘Seeing is Believing’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love (you know, the one where the young man develops intense feelings for the leading lady in a musical? Yeah, that one.) Which also happens to be my favourite Lloyd Webber musical.
As if that’s not enough he then brings to the stage the very leading lady who has been a massive inspiration over his entire career, Delia Hannah (who incidentally became a Broadway star playing the leading lady in Aspects of Love). Their voices sound made for each other as they beam out at us, every bit of them the stars in the room. It is beautiful to watch. As for the rapturous round of applause as they close, I doubt anyone was not clapping their loudest in appreciation.
Sensationally good cabaret, Tyran Parke is a genius!”
And now I’m directing RENT for the Australian Institute of Music while preparing to release my new CD, ‘Compositions; A musical Close-up’.