Festival Theatre Stage, Fri Jun 13
David Campbell and John Bucchino are the consummate musical partnership: the singer and the songwriter, the boy from Elizabeth and the man from New York. On the Festival Theatre Stage, the cosily-packed audience were ready for what they knew would be a treat. The somewhat unassuming man sitting at that grand piano wrote all of the beautiful tunes that were, vocally, brought to life by one of Australia’s favourite voices. Bucchino’s slightly round-shouldered posture as he caressed the ivories, along with his New York accent brings a comparison to mind between musical theatre performer Bryan Batt [USA] and Peanuts’ Schroeder! He’s cool but nerdy and I like it!
It didn’t matter if you knew none of the songs as each one was easy to understand, to find an emotional attachment to or to love that feeling that only a Broadway song can bring. Listening to Bucchino impart stories behind his songs and the people that inspired them, many of which are about relationships – failed ones – making him the “Taylor Swift of Broadway” Campbell declares.
Bucchino’s stories are honest and awkward, but very endearing; I love how these Broadway tunes tell so many stories; from maudlin to rage, from love to loss. In one of the few moments when Bucchino sings, we get to see his sarcastic happy heartbreak confessional which could be nothing short of cathartic for him.
The interactions between these two men are amusing and charming, distinct yet symbiotic; Bucchino wants to talk, Campbell wants to sing. Together, they do both wonderfully. It’s fascinating the way that that Campbell takes a moment to fall in to the character of the song, and performs it with the exact same intent and emotion that Bucchino felt when he wrote them. Truly captivating is the way that Campbell sings aloud Bucchino’s frightened nervous excited heart in Adonis is truly beautiful, the anger of the downtrodden husband in I Stayed and the pained heart of You Know Better Than I from DreamWorks’ Joseph: King Of Dreams. Campbell is the narrator and Bucchino, the soundtrack.
I wish I could name all the tricky musical things Bucchino does on the piano (as does he, he mentions after the show) but I can’t (we can’t) so I’ll just call it fantastical musical juggling magic! And as the night went on, it all became so much more mesmerising – Campbell is mesmerising! Together, Bucchino and Campbell are nothing short of emotionally-touching and musical genius!
by Catherine Blanch