“I bet you never thought you’d hear Pink Floyd and Dolly Parton together, did you?” No, I really, really didn’t. And I certainly didn’t think it would sound that good! With a small jazz ensemble: musical director Darryl Wallis on piano, Tim Bowen on double bass, and Steve Todd on drums, and new arrangements by Wallis, Mitchell Butel’s Killing Time is an exciting exploration of songs from a variety of sources.
While it is a show that linearly traces songs over the course of 24 hours of a day, Killing Time doesn’t follow a narrative plot; rather, through and between the songs, Butel allows us into stories about his life, whether related to a time of day, or time and growing older in general.
These stories are also accompanied by quotes and poems about time and aging, with Butel giving us another insight into his personality. Butel constantly engages with the audience: you can just tell how much fun he is having up there, taking the time to share his life with us.
Musical highlights of the show included Pete Mill’s “Way Ahead Of My Time”, Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning”, and West Side Story’s “Tonight” mixed with “Out Tonight” from Rent. A truly varied collection of songs written for very different voices, yet with Wallis’s jazz and blues based arrangements, Butel’s voice fits perfectly into each song.
Not only a splendid voice, but a charming actor, Butel brings a character and a bit of a journey to every song. Supported by wonderful lighting in the Space Theatre, Killing Time is a very polished production, but one which still feels completely natural, and a little bit delightfully under rehearsed: lyric flubs and all, Butel laughs and takes it in his stride.
For me, the true highlight of the show was the encore, where Butel sang with just the piano, unplugged. In a time where auto-tuning has become so acceptable, and in fact almost expected on musical recordings, there is something wonderful about knowing that the voice you are listening to is the true voice. Untouched, unaltered, and beautiful.
Killing Time left the audience with some brilliant music, an insight into a man we all enjoyed getting to know, and, perhaps most importantly, ensured none of us will ever be able to listen to the theme song to Play School in quite the same way again. A beautiful show.
2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Venue: Space Theatre
Dates: 19 June 2010 - 20 June 2010
Time: Sat 7.00pm & Sun 6.30pm
Tickets: Premium: $39.95, Adult: $30.95, Concession: $26.95
Duration: 1 Hour