Altona City Theatre
CLOC Musical Theatre
Executive Producer, Michael Cassel
A Fine Bromance
Picture the Men in Black… or maybe Turk and JD… or Han and Chewbacca… but not hairy… and in suits… who sing… and have a long and very dysfunctional history… and you’ll find yourself imagining something somewhere near The Bad Boys of Music Theatre, excluding the obvious height difference.
A Fine Bromance is the boys’ first full-length (I’m going to say cabaret) show following a successful year of breakfast spots on SYN TV’s Get Cereal. You can check out some of the fellas’ previous work here.
In essence, A Fine Bromance is just over an hour of Andrew (Strano) and John (Frankland) arguing about who should have opened the show and why. John finally gets to sing the title song a mere 50 minutes late, accompanied by Andrew heckling from the audience, but it is the journey and the stories in between that really make this show.
Throughout the evening the audience is introduced to THE BIG BOOK OF BROs (can you guys actually write this? Please?); Rules of BRO-dom; the more traditional ‘BROs before hos’ (it’s alphabetical, jeez); an episode of “How I Met My BROther” (complete with horrendous rendition of the theme tune); and a rather entertaining ‘BROcabulary’ lesson.
Musically, the night was excellent. Both John and Andrew are graduates of the musical theatre course at the VCA and were perfectly accompanied by Mr Trevor Jones on piano. Trevor is one of those fantastic pianists who can both perform and accompany – a rare talent – and, to top it off, can match the vocal skill of the performers he is supporting.
In a cabaret style, the gents performed a number of songs with altered lyrics to match the on-stage action. Referenced composers included (among others) Alan Menken, Stephen Sondheim (a particularly good rendition of “Agony” by both parties), and a song I really should have seen coming – “Guy Love” from the Scrubs musical episode, written by Robert Lopez (of Avenue Q fame). I particularly enjoyed the boys’ re-working of the “Agony” lyrics, complete with internal rhymes to match Sondheim’s own lyric style. Bravo.
To break up the show, and probably give the boys a rest, there were a number of video vignettes such as the previously mentioned “How I Met My BROther.” A personal highlight (and one I think was shared by the rest of the audience) was the “Amazing” film clip from the (I hope) fictional musical John is working on, disturbingly titled Puber-T: The Musical. The Lonely Island-esque (and featuring Andrew as ‘G-Pain’), the production values of this clip were through the roof and, after a quick Google, I found out that the boys were telling the truth – the single is actually available to purchase on iTunes.
Not only great singers, these chaps are also brilliant writers (check out their leaked email thread here), physical comedians (Andrew’s drink in the opening scene was simply horrible), and puppeteers. My only very minor quibble of the night involves unsynchronised choreography that, if tightened, would really make this show unstoppable.
The penultimate sequence of the night involved Andrew giving John some suggestions on how to succeed with the ladies, informing him that “No One Says No to a Guy With a Terminal Illness” (lovingly adapted from Jason Robert Brown’s 13).
A Fine Bromance packs an amazing amount into a single hour, through a combination of strong writing skills, confident audience interaction, and impressive technical work by Ben McCullough.
This is only the beginning for the Bad Boys of Music Theatre, and I would strongly suggest that everyone tries to catch them before they hit the festival circuit (or wherever they’re aiming), because they’re well on the way to doing a Tim Minchin on us and disappearing overseas forever. And, if you’re free, why not consider going tomorrow night (Thursday, April 7) when the profits from the evening’s show will go to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, the longest serving youth mentoring program in Australia.