The QLD Conservatorium, Brisbane
“No matter what I try, I’m flying full speed ahead”
I was first sold on Jason Robert Brown after hearing his brilliant work The Last Five Years and could not believe the man himself would perform here. Hailed as the next Sondheim, this was an unmissable event, a fantastic opportunity that doesn’t come Brisbane’s way often. So the stage is set with singer Rachael Beck, a piano and Jason Robert Brown. Beck sings with heart but doesn’t quite have the strength in her voice for Cathy’s songs from The Last Five Years. Brown will admit himself that he is not a trained singer but does a passable job belting out those tunes. The real treat is in his piano playing. If you’ve ever tried to play a Jason Robert Brown song, you’ll know it’s really really hard. Listening to him play the instrumental to ‘Moving Too Fast’ was an energetic display of talent that the audience could not resist cheering before it was finished.
Most songs are given an introduction with a hilarious joke or trivia almost as clever as the lyrics themselves. Then there are previews of his new works. Brown is writing a musical version of the Nicholas Cage film Honeymoon in Vegas. Brown introduces a song saying that those familiar with his sombre work may think he is adapting the Nicholas Cage drama Leaving Las Vegas but no, he confirms he is adapting the fun film. The audience is then treated to a very tongue in cheek scene setting number ‘When You Say Vegas’ that does not disappoint. Also in the works is a musical adaptation of the book The Bridges of Madison County. Rachael Beck sings a small personal number that is quintessentially Jason Robert Brown. It is quite a thing to be able to say you’ve heard the latest works by Jason Robert Brown, heard him play and sing his songs and then got his autograph. He’s made this and other Brisbane musical fanatics very happy.