On entering the Loft at Q, I was immediately transported to some sophisticated piano bar in the heart of New York. The mood lighting and theatrical fog created a dramatic effect and a sense of mystery while the cabaret-style seating and gorgeous fairy lights served as the perfect backdrop for what was to come. Expectations were definitely high and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.
The Red Chair, under the superb direction of Aaron Tindell, is music theatre like no other. Four characters – an older man, his cynical long-time lover, a younger guy skeptical about love and a younger woman with a troubled past – all share their stories candidly and emotively through song.
The songs – everything from Edith Piaf to Boy George – form a musical montage of the many romantic and sometimes obsessive emotions one experiences when dealing with love. Every song transitions seamlessly to the next cultivating in a beautiful and colorful journey of music which tackle an array of things – unrequited love, lust, jealousy and even a nervous breakdown.
What makes the show truly unique is how the performance is presented. The red chair that is in the center of the room leads you to believe that that is where the “stage” is but there really isn’t a stage. Instead the entire space is the stage with the performers freely roaming the room and mingling with audience members, even sitting at other specially lit red chairs that are placed at selected tables.
This blurring of the lines between the audience and the performer provides a very intimate and immersive theatre experience. You find yourself having a more personal connection with the performers and because of the closeness in proximity, it does feel like you are a part of the performance as well.
I was blown away by the vocal prowess of each performer. Andrew Laing’s vocals had a wonderful charm and storytelling quality to it that made him so easy to listen to. Roz Turnbull effortlessly commanded your attention every time she sang. What I loved most about her performance was the way she fully embodied the song, delivering not only a fantastic vocal but one with loads of personality too.
Melissa Nordhaus impressed me the most with her incredible vocal range and I loved the honest and heartfelt way she interpreted the songs. My favorite of the four was Will Barling because of his silky tone and that beautiful vibrato. His rendition of Petrified from the stage musical Taboo sent chills up my spine; my favorite number of the night, hands down.
The Red Chair was just spectacular and truly a magical experience, one I will not soon forget. It is live music at its finest – a must for those who want to enjoy music theatre with a twist. Exquisite performances, extraordinary storytelling through song, and an excellent band who bring it all together – huge hats off to Robin Kelly for providing the musical heartbeat to the show.
The Whimsical Banana rates The Red Chair: 5/5 bananas!
Thank you to Passion PR!
This review is also featured on Keeping up with NZ.