Review by Taylor Kendal
On a cold and dreary April morning in Melbourne, there is something wonderful in the air. A buzz around Melbourne’s Hamer Hall that has long since been absent during the global pandemic. Morning Melodies is back! And I for one am overjoyed. It certainly was an almost bittersweet sight Monday morning, seeing the audience once again enter the hallowed Hall and take their seats, preparing for an hour of musical entertainment to welcome us back to the seasonal staple. This season’s introduction was certainly a grand choice to kick us off.
Three of Australia’s brightest performing stars come together in a spectacular love story to song and (tap) dance, in Two Hits and a Ms; a show set to dazzle and intertwine familiar songs with elegant dance routines, brought to life by Christopher Horsey, Bobby Fox and Nicole Melloy.
With a stunning repertoire and immense list of credits between them, these three are no strangers to the world of dance. Christopher Horsey is an original cast member of troupes such as Hot Shoe Shuffle and Tap Dogs and was the Fred Astaire international tap dance champion at age twelve, choreographing and performing his way around the world. Bobby Fox, a 4 time Irish tap dancing champion, member of Riverdance and Australia’s original Frankie Valli in Jersey Boy, and Nicole Melloy started out as a ballerina and training in other styles of dance before gracing the stage in musical theatre from 42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. Such talent and ability, in singing, dance and captivating stage presence is certainly a gift on a Monday morning.
Backed by Craig Schneider and a stunning seven piece band, the trio bring to life some of the most beautiful and familiar songs of yesteryear and matched with spectacular dance routines that are both awe inspiring and so seemingly effortless, while leaving your own feet aching just by looking at them. Hits such as I Got Rhythm, Good Morning, Singing in the Rain (complete with the entire band in rain coats, and Sing, Sing, Sing (with a swing) are delivered with such style and finesse the audience cannot help but watch with a smile.
The star of the show is the choreography, and the love and dedication that the performers have to it and their craft. The passion and the sheer joy that they have on stage is infectious and can easily make even the most sceptical observer into a fan. The show is bookended with a captivating opening, with the trio using a wonderful effect of creating their own spotlights with a light at their feet, and the powerful finale that had every ounce of Big Band, Jazzy delight it is owed. Woven between numbers are some stunning vocals, storytelling (both with voice and with feet) and so many puns that it was bordering on criminal (in the best way of course). The performers were so in sync not only with each other, but with the band in such an effortless way; playing on each other and creating moments to highlight the band with wonderful interludes between costume changes and moments in song. The performance was just as much about the band as it was the song and dance at the forefront of the stage.
A wonderful opener to the 2022 season, Two Hits and a Ms, brings together music, dance and the feeling of sitting in a hallowed space and simply enjoying live entertainment at its finest. Morning Melodies is back with a vengeance!