The Butterfly Club is one of Melbourne’s leading, full – time performance spaces. For almost twenty-five years, the city-based institution has staged more than one thousand new and exciting shows. Located in Carson Place, the club covers stand-up comedy, games, karaoke, improvisation, and of course, cabaret.
The Butterfly Club kick-started the careers of Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect, and more recently, showcased established stars like Amanda Harrison, Jemma Rix and Kurt Phelan.
Playing for a strictly-limited season, the venue is currently host to an hour-long presentation called The 27 Club. The title is derived directly from a term coined by popular culture, for famous musicians that have all died at the age of twenty – seven. In researching which influential and popular artists are included in this special category, I was both shocked and surprised to learn more than sixty performers made the list.
With these celebrity deaths recorded as far back as the late nineteenth century, it should be noted that many of the performers died under similar and sadly, tragic circumstances. Alcoholic poisoning, drug abuse, road trauma, murder and suicide were common links to lives cut short at their creative peak.
Having underlined these statistics, this is not a downbeat night out by any means.
Instead, The 27 Club takes five of the most well – known members, and fashions a sensitive, sharp and informative tribute around them. Fronted by a trio of local musical theatre professionals sharing a wealth of industry experience between them, the team have created a powerhouse act featuring the catalogue of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse.
Zach Anthony Curran, Keane Fletcher, and Andrew Kroenert bring the above – mentioned legends back to searing life, fusing an intense set list of iconic songs together with the artists’ poetry, journal extracts, anecdotes and interview snippets word for word.
Thanks to excellent chemistry, scripting and pacing, there is never a dull moment. Meanwhile, the group make maximum use of the auditorium, with the sixty minutes simply flying by.
On top of expert vocals, Curran, Fletcher and Kroenert use this platform as an opportunity to display equally impressive guitar and keyboard skills as well. Further, outstanding sound design shifts The 27 Club’s source material back and forth between unplugged coffee house intimacy to booming arena – sized fireworks.
Deliberate clothing choices highlight the mood with grunge authenticity.
Presenting a dozen pieces solo or in perfect three – part harmony, fans will recognise and appreciate tunes like ‘Mercedes Benz’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Valerie’. However, what makes this concept truly stand out, is how Curran, Fletcher and Kroenert transcend the experience and make these songs their own in the process.
Curran, Fletcher and Kroenert must also be congratulated for continuing the legacy of Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, Cobain and Winehouse. By keeping the flame alive, this is an inventive act with strong and commercial mass – appeal.
With plans to take The 27 Club on a national tour, this is a great chance to see, support and enjoy masterful showmanship in action. Don’t miss it.