When viewed individually Tyronne and Lesley In A Spot and Warmwaters each provide their own entertainment value, social commentary and unique characters. When put together however, the double bill creates a musical journey that covers comfort, confusion and circumstance through two very distinct musical cabaret acts in a single evening. With four very individual characters and two equally engaging shows, creator David Megarrity consistently plays on the audience’s childish sense of humour, never stopping at an uncomfortable reality or unsettling social comment for too long. The shows pair together to share two funny, thoughtful and endearing duos that both warm our hearts and make our stomachs ache with laughter.
Tyrone and Lesley In a Spot
Tyronne and Lesley are a lovable duo, with a set of original music presented with no more than a ukulele, double bass, their harmonious voices, and Nathan Sibthorpe’s multimedia on a simple projection screen. Considering Lesley (Samuel Vincent) is mute for the shows duration and Tyronne (David Megarrity) does all of the talking through an exaggerated overbite, the term ‘voice’ should probably be used lightly. The duo communicate nonetheless, with Tyronne guiding the audience through the show with comedy and consistency, and Lesley using his double bass and jazzy notes to communicate with Tyrone, enhance patter and poetry between songs, and add mood to speeches that could potentially lag if left unaccompanied.
The overall vibe of the show was appropriately warm and comforting in what was an otherwise rainy and dark Sunday evening at the Brisbane Powerhouse. The two men complimented each other’s stage presence, musicianship, and overall positive messages. Their set exuded optimism and light hearted conversation with song highlights including a gentle teddy bear themed lullaby, an ode to dog lovers, and an endearing exploration of finding one’s spot in the light when stuck in the dark.
From the moment the pair stepped on stage they informed us that: “There is no story, just songs”. The men invited us, however, to dispute this statement with an encouragement to make up our own minds. While the piece may not have possessed a focal plot or narrative overall, the pair did bring their audience on a journey with songs that ranged from sweet to hilarious and even educational. Sibthorpe’s projections helped us to discover the story within each song, with a visual accompaniment that complimented the music and opened up the more intricate narratives from minute to minute.
The two performers engaged with the design and multimedia in ways that became more creative and surprising as the show progressed. The two consistently addressed the show’s multimedia and lighting design with immaculate timing and clever construction. Their collaboration with the design darted between puppetry projection and lighting interjection. Sibthorpe’s projections were used not only as an accompaniment, but also a third character for the men to play with. The lights were not simply present to focus our gaze on the actors, but also used to reinforce Tyronne and Lesley’s overall discussion of their spot in the show, and more importantly, all of our spots in the world.
The comedy translated best when the duo discussed their decision to dabble in educational songs. Tyrone provided a beginner’s lesson on how to play the ukulele with one hand, and the pair presented a more rigid and deadpan physical demonstration on the moon in its many stages. The show is best experienced, however, when viewed through a lens of comfort rather than comedy, with the piece providing a gentle and lovable hour of amusing music and pleasant personalities.
I am excited to see where this charming pair goes next. To quote the charming characters themselves, their future is definitely a present that they haven’t opened yet.
An hour after Tyronne and Lesley leave the Visy Theatre stage, Lena and Luke Warmwater enter. An assortment of silky blue material covering instruments and stools replaces the previous productions’ simple use of a projector. Performer David Megarrity replaces his sleak tuxedo and overbite as Tyrone, and becomes Luke Warmater with a colourful costume and silver ponytail beneath a cap. Beside him is his new music partner Lena (Bridgt Boyle) who adorns a simple flowing dress and summery headscarf that finishes the duo off as a bohemian pirate-like pair. With an acoustic guitar, flute, and hands-free harmonica, the two create beautiful folk music and hilarious comedy together.
Playing on the highs and lows of their seemingly complicated relationship, the Warmwaters are just as captivating as Tyronne and Lesley, but far more naïve and ironic in their choices of phrase. While the partners may not realise their crude language and corny toilet-bowl humour, the audience follow every pun, experience every passive aggressive poke made, and laugh consistently at the couple’s expense.
The two performers make fun of their jarring and uncomfortable performance through committed deadpan deliveries and an acknowledgement to the fact that life is a rehearsal, so they don’t rehearse. While their clearly rehearsed, unrehearsed performance balances music and between-song banter, the pair thrive on their spontaneity and improvisation, particularly when using audience interaction, or “precipitation” as they call it, with clicks, stomps, laughter and call and response combining to keep everyone engaged between laughs.
Unlike Tyrone and Lesley, the Warmwaters explicitly proclaim to cover a variety of issues through their music. Some issues are political, others environmental, but all of their issues are always discussed in a hilarious and ironic manner. From French accents to countless innuendos, the pair balance perspectives from two genders, cover a variety of topics, and utilise a never ending supply of wordplay. The duo do all of this while still keeping their songs fresh and their personalities booming even when playing intricate musical solos.
Throughout their set the duo perform original music, and propose delightfully misguided tributes to music idols, always remembering to thank their audience before they have a chance to clap and cheer. By charging through a string of social and political topics and dragging their audience through the ups and downs of their complicated relationship, the pair keep their work relatable and engaging. Highlights include a passive aggressive competition of progressive instrument speed in Lena’s song ‘Pushing You Out’ and a transitional movement sequence where the performers embraced the use of their blue material across the entire width of the stage.
Overall this show was ironically relatable and the pair were hilariously misguided. The unrelenting focus, pace and comedic timing between the two performers was what truly made this production captivating from start to finish. One would only hope that the duo push through their hilarious creative differences and complicated relationship strains so that they can continue to brighten Brisbane’s stages, and move on to bigger and better things.
– Written by Rhumer Diball June 13 2016
TYRONE AND LESLEY IN A SPOT/WARMWATERS PRESENTED BY METRO ARTS AND BRISBANE POWERHOUSE AS A PART OF QLD CABARET FESTIVAL.
SUN 12 JUNE 2016