Waxing Lyrical

Waxing Lyrical
By Shortis and Simpson. The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre. December 2 – 4, 2011.

“If my nose was running money, I’d blow it all on you

I'd buy you a Cadillac and a new Mercedes too.

I'd build you that mansion up on the mountaintop.

If my nose was running money but honey it's snot.”

This show is a celebration of scintillating rhymes, rhythms, meters and scansion, good words, great words, some lyrics hilarious (like the above), and some excruciatingly awful.

What a surprise—we were expecting the witty, wordy political satire that has made Shortis and Simpson a Canberra institution. Instead, when John Shortis explained we were in for a night of him ‘waxing lyrical’ on lyrics, to be quite honest our hearts sank a little – but they shouldn’t have. What transpired was a lively and funny celebration of wordsmiths from Johnny Mercer to Paul Kelly, tracing musical lineages from W.S. Gilbert, via Ira Gershwin to Tom Lehrer, all explained with John Shortis’ trademark wit. Anyone with a love of the written word will get a real kick out of the way John teases apart the triple rhymes of Lorenz Hart, explains the device of throwing in a foreign word as a rhyme and demonstrates how Rolf Harris originally taught him how to scan.

What saved this from being a lecture was the awesome musical talent and the joy of revisiting these wonderful songs. Backed by the versatile Ian Blake on saxophones and bass, Jon Jones on drums and Dave O’Neil on guitars and a mean bluegrass electric fiddle, and with segments by talented cabaret artist Peter J. Casey on baby grand, Moya Simpson’s voice bends to every genre you can name, from jazz standards to country, rock and folk. Most notably, Moya performed a spine-tingling, faithful and beautiful cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights which was worth the entry price alone.

Cathy Bannister

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.