By Melissa Langton & Mark Jones
Chapel off Chapel, Sept 24 until Sept 29, 2013
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
In her intelligently structured and irreverent solo show, A Singer Must Die... and other bedtime stories, Melissa Langton explores songs from the dark side – tempered with plenty of black comedy.
She opens with Leonard Cohen’s A Singer Must Die, a bleak but witty tune that features a disenchanted singer who laments, “I’m sorry for smudging the air with my song.”
Accompanied by her talented pianist, Stephen Gray, Langton shifts effortlessly from bold jazz numbers, to gospel, latin beats and ballads, commanding the space with her formidable voice, broad vocal range and assured, professional and passionate delivery.
The themes may be grim – disillusion, death, despair, failed love, revenge – but Langton peppers the show with waggish, whimsical or brooding characters that weave their stories of woe amongst the lyrics.
Burned (Franz Landesman) is a startling, moving and poetic piece that challenges us with forbidding, dark lyrics such as, “He burned me with his conman’s hands...his holy madman’s eyes.”
A Singer Must Die is a funny and stirring show that beautifully balances complex songs and uncomfortable subject matter with quirky characters, dialogue and Langton’s remarkable voice.
By Kate Herbert
A Singer Must Die – Leonard Cohen
I Don’t Think I’ll End It All Today – Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg
The Art Teacher – Rufus Wainwright
Did Jesus Have A Sister – Dory Previn
Through the Long and Sleepless Night – Neil Hannon
Waiting for Charlie to Come Home – Burt Bacharach/Hal David
Internet Love – Dillie Keane
Here Comes the Flood – Neil Hannon
Le Diable (Ca Va) – Jacques Brel
It Was A Good Time – Maurice Jarre
Who Gave You Permission? – Alan & Marilyn Bergman/ Billy Goldenberg
Blow ‘Em Away – Chuck Brodsky
Highwayman – Jimmy Webb
The Doctor – Loudon Wainwright
Performed by – Melissa Langton
Accompanied by – Stephen Gray
Directed by – Mark Jones
Musically Directed by – Mark Jones
Sound/Lighting – Steph Kleeman