A show about growing older and approaching that significant milestone of turning 40 had the potential to be just a comedy show – and that itself would have been an entertaining night of cabaret. When Amity Dry walked out onto the stage in a sparkling full length gown and singing into a hairbrush, the audience knew they were in for a fun night.
However, where Dry has truly excelled is in writing a perfectly balanced show that takes the audience on a journey of reflection and self-discovery. From stories of her childhood and teen years, to leaving home and falling in love, to her experience of reality television and the true reality of growing older, 39 Forever has something for more than just those born in 1978. Sitting near the back of the Loft at Chapel Off Chapel, it was evident how engaged the audience were in Dry’s story. There were nods of affirmation, friends turning and laughing to each other, elbow nudges from partners, and more than a few tears being wiped away.
39 Forever is a slick and well paced one hour show that explores the challenge of growing older in our current world, using songs from the 80s and 90s interwoven through Dry’s clever story-telling. The snippets of each song are just the right length to ensure they propel the story forward and connect with the audience. Accompanying Dry on piano is Jamie Burgess who also adds some vocals and light banter at various moments in the show.
Dry’s diction is perfect, and the sound is well balanced, ensuring the story telling is not lost through the musical components. In some songs Dry has cleverly changed the lyrics – ‘All By Myself’ will never be thought of the same way again!
The real standout numbers of this show, however, are the ones composed by Dry herself, showcasing not only her powerhouse vocals to rival any musical theatre diva, but her incredible talent as a composer and lyricist.
Amity Dry has a personality that sparkles as much as her gown, but it is the honesty and vulnerability in her story-telling that endears her the most to her audience.
39 Forever has enough tenderness to pull at your heartstrings and plenty of warmth and humour to ensure you leave smiling and feeling thoroughly entertained … and perhaps be a little inspired to confidently approach those big milestones in life.
39 Forever is now playing at Chapel Off Chapel until Sunday.