Spooners for Crooners Review by Honey Ayres


Tuesday 14 May 2019

Until 25 May, Various locations


Up a winding wooden staircase, the crowd gasps as they enter through the wardrobe door into another era, club leather lounges, candle lit cocktail tables, the suspender clad bartender is mixing a martini, get ready to party like it’s 1949!

Spooners for Crooners by Planet Clare is a generous musical serving of cabaret and comedy, new life is breathed into old classics. The story centres around two cousins Mac (Clare Cowley) and Penelopa (Genevieve Butler), the show traverses between songs and comedy, cabaret, tap dance, tango, a touch of drag and a sprinkle of burlesque, this show is everything you didn’t know you needed and so much more!

Larger than life character Penelopa (pronounced penne like the pasta, lopa like a loap of bread), is a hilarious character who could be the lovechild of Effie, a Commedia dell’arte persona, and a Ru Paul contestant. Penne’s sometimes improvised humour, and crowd interaction inspired a constant flow of laughter from the crowd. “Mac”, the serious moustachioed character had many poignant and humorous moments as he was instructing how to be a crooner “by offering romantic empty offerings, backed by a big Jazz band”.

The music is impeccably produced and shows the experience and talents of the exquisite trio of violin and giant spoons (Skye McNicoll), double bass and guitar (Stephen Meldrum), keyboard, guitar and delicately powerful vocals (Clare Cowley). The depth of emotion and sound that the trio created, had the audience audibly wowing through and after each arrangement which would typically be performed by a much larger ensemble. The crooners never sounded so cool and hip, with enchanting and complex interpretations of the vocal melodies by Clare Cowley, I go walking after midnight was a crowd favourite, as was Heavy Heart by You am I.

In the second act, the characters come to full self-actualisation,  the finale and high point of the show are the original songs performed by the trio. This was truly a beautiful and brilliant Anywhere show performed artfully by some of Brisbane finest musicians and performers.