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Review: Morning Melodies - Michael Cormick and Rachael Beck at Arts Centre Melbourne

By Taylor Kendal

Australia has been blessed to have such a rich culture embedded in the theatre world, and Rachael Beck and Michael Cormick have been a cornerstone in this culture. After starring alongside each other in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the two cemented a friendship that has lasted over twenty years since, and a chemistry together that some performers can only truly dream of.

With around 72 years of combined experience between them, it is fair to say that they have quite the knowledge when it comes to delivering a mesmerising performance, and with David Cameron accompanying on piano, is exactly what they have created with their current Morning Melodies experience; a retrospective of their careers so far.

Incredible talents in their own right, the pair have a natural charisma on stage, be it alone or performing together. This cabaret style performance had the pair performing hits from Broadway, interwoven with stories from their past, from Beck’s onstage antics with Todd McKenny in Singing in the Rain, to Cormick’s accounts of meeting Andrew Lloyd Webber and changing for auditions in a phone booth in London. These stories are paired with a natural humour, which unfortunately at times did not appear to be fully received by the older audience. However, the pair’s effortless ease to fall into sync with each other acts as if they were merely having a catch up over a cup of tea.

Their opening number of the performance, a duet of the titular song from Beauty and the Beast had the audience swooning within the opening bars of the performance, complete with a small waltz reminiscent of that fateful productions so many years ago; which, for a girl who quite literally wore out her copy of the Australian Cast recording of Beauty and the Beast, was a dream come true for this reviewer. The duo also showcase their range together with a stunning rendition of taking on the mantle of their respective childhood influences, with a performance of Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again.

Rachael Beck has performed in some of the most beloved roles in musical theatre, and has a talent for commanding the attention of the audience with every number. A masterful storyteller through song and stage presence, Beck captivates with every note, embodying the likes of Truly Scrumptious, Eva Peron and Fantine; three vastly different roles, yet are all delivered with such finesse and beauty that it truly is a sight to behold. Beck also talks about her work with The Lionhearted Theatre and Arts program which she runs with high schools to build (or in some cases create) a beneficial performing arts program for students.

Michael Cormick’s talent as a leading man has gained him acclaim all over the world, particularly in Australia and the UK. Having portrayed some of musical theatres beloved roles like Joe Gillis, The Pirate King, Daddy Warbucks and The Phantom of The Opera, Cormick is no stranger to captivating an audience under his spell. His stunning rendition of This is the Moment, from Jekyll & Hyde, a song and show that is renowned for its difficulty, is performed flawlessly, with such a gentle yet powerful skill. But the pinnacle of Cormick’s solo performance of the afternoon, was the breathtaking Music of the Night; a song that lives within the hearts of so many, delivered with such hypnotising precision in every note, action and facial expression that it was simply utter magic.

Witnessing Rachael Beck and Michael Cormick in their element together on stage is truly an experience for the ages. One can only hope that should the scheduling gods align, that there are many more in the future.

Photos Supplied by Taylor Kendal

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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