|Paul Martell and Jane Scali|
Reviewed by Frank McKone
Morning Melodies at The Q might cater for the elderly (at 76 I was among the younger members of today’s audience), but it wasn’t all mere melody on this occasion. I’m glad to say that we were certainly not treated as the stereotypical sentimental nincompoops as we might have been in times gone past.
It is true that Dean Martin and Perry Como had their parts to play, and yes, I could sing along with Irish Eyes are Smiling and even Oh Danny Boy, but certain political conservatives would surely have been horrified that comedian Paul Martell assumed that we were intelligent, up with the latest on same-sex marriage surveys and Trumpian matters, and therefore very likely to vote yes to progressive social policy. Tony, Corey, Eric and their old mate Howard would have been offended. This show kindly reminded us of the 1950s and 1960s, but didn’t try to take us back there.
So this old audience laughed, enjoyed Martell’s jokes and mature-age innuendos, as much as Jane Scali’s straight renditions of songs we used to know, and appreciated Martell’s mimicry of movie stars (and even one politician – Bob Hawke). It was light entertainment, but not mere fluff, which gave us a sense of relief from the woes of the world, laughing along for an hour or so with this nice, sensible, funny, married couple.
The show is cleverly put together and deserves all the praise I felt the audience give it. The only quibble (and I checked with others in case it was just my hearing aid that was the problem) was that the level and tone control on Jane’s microphone was not set to get the best effect from her voice. She seemed often to be too loud when close to the mic, and with too much lower frequency tone, so that often her words were hard to understand. If she took the mic farther away, her words were clearer, but the volume and impact dropped off. This was particularly noticeable compared with the clarity of Paul Martell’s mic. Since I hadn’t heard Jane sing on stage previously, I checked on YouTube with clips from a number of her performances – and her voice was clear as a bell.
I recognise, of course, that technical rehearsals and different equipment in venues make this kind of thing problematic for touring one-off performances, so the quibble remains no more than that.
The important take-home message is that everyone came out obviously pleased with a thoroughly enjoyable Morning Melody.