I believe it was Victor Hugo who once said that “There are Fathers who do not love their children. There is no Grandfather who does not adore his Grandson.” I feel that this is apt in reflecting upon Songs for Jack, as it is precisely that love which made this show come to fruition, and Mr Hugo’s ties to musical theatre are just a happy coincidence.
Truth be told, I was supposed to see this show on opening night… Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way, and I was unable to attend. I ended up seeing Songs for Jack on its closing night. At first I thought that this was quite a shame, as the wonderful artists wouldn’t have the review to reflect upon, nor to use as a means of advertising their show. However, I need not have been quite so disappointed, as this review is not entirely without its worth, notwithstanding the fact that unfortunately this wonderful show has now come to the end of its season.
Let me begin by saying that Will Hannagan has a simply outstanding talent as a vocal artist. Some of the songs that he brings into this performance are absolute treasures, which simply must be done justice, or else one runs the risk of souring a show for anyone in attendance. Let me assure you that every song was performed with utter perfection, and were a delight to hear performed live by such a professional.
The touching personal reflections that Hannagan brings into the show are really what makes this show very special. Hannagan shared early during the performance, that many of the songs in the show were songs that he hoped he would one day be able to perform in a grand spectacle, with the songs as the focal point of the act, but that as he is now presenting them in cabaret, he has had to be a little tricky about the presentation, and add in a little bit of talking.
As much as I would love to see that “Grand Spectacle” that Hannagan mentioned, I think that this show is in some ways much better. The performance is dedicated to his grandparents, and the amazing life-long romance that they shared… but it is also about the life and lives that surrounded that romance, the songs that embodied that love, and the culture that revolved around those songs. In this way, Hannagan has made Songs for Jack more than just a show about one love story, but about many stories, and about many perspectives. I must admit, I was in tears for a better part of this show, whether from laughing too hard, or from being utterly moved by Jack and Eileen’s story, and Hannagan’s stunning vocal prowess.
Look out for the name Will Hannagan in the Melbourne music and theatre scene. He is an utterly delight to listen to, and an enthralling performer to observe… I trust that this show will be given the encore treatment sometime soon.
The Butterfly Club presents
Songs for Jack
by Will Hannagan
Directed by Will Hannagan
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Dates: 17 – 21 May 2017
Tickets: $25 – $32